Parts Used: Dried leaf & flowering tops
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) is an erect perennial, 60-120cm high, with prominent coarsely-toothed 5-7-lobed leaves. This herb has medicinal properties like diaphoretic, antispasmodic, tonic, nervine, and emmenagogue. Motherwort is especially valuable in the treatment of female weaknesses and disorders, allaying nervous irritability, inducing quiet and passivity of the whole nervous system. It is also seen as a remedy for heart palpitations, it has a strengthening effect, especially on a weak heart. The antispasmodic and sedative effects promote relaxation rather than drowsiness. Traditionally, it was commonly used to treat menstrual disorders, vaginitis, heart tonic, and has sedative and antiepileptic properties. It was also used to promote menstrual bleeding and to aid in childbirth, as well as to ease hot flashes during menopause.
Motherwort is best known for its use in conditions affecting women. It contains chemicals that affect the uterus in several ways, including the promotion of menstrual blood flow. Due to antispasmodic effects, Motherwort may also help to restore uterine muscle tone after the birth of a baby. It may also have relaxing effects on the nervous system, making it potentially useful for relieving both the physical symptoms (such as bloating and cramps) and the emotional symptoms (such as irritability) of premenstrual syndrome and menopause. Leaves are antispasmodic, astringent, cardiac, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, nervine, sedative, stomachic, tonic and uterine stimulant. They are taken internally in the treatment of heart complaints (notably palpitations) and problems associated with menstruation, childbirth and menopause, especially of nervous origin. The herb has been found effective in the treatment of functional heart complaints due to autonomic imbalance, and also as an anti-thyroid treatment, though it needs to be taken for several months for these effects to be noticed. Motherwort is an excellent heart tonic, and research has shown that it is able to calm palpitations, tachycardia and irregular heartbeats. The alkaloid leonurine produces central nervous depressant and hypotensive effects in animals, and stachydrine may also be involved. The glycosides have a short-term ability to lower blood pressure. It is valuable in the stimulation of suppressed or delayed menstruation, and to ease dysmenorrhoea, especially where there is anxiety or tension involved.
Purple Sage Botanicals. http://www.purplesage.org.uk/profiles/motherwort.htm
Drug Digest. http://www.drugdigest.org/DD/DVH/HerbsWho/0,3923,4127%7CMotherwort,00.html
Plants for a Future. http://www.ibiblio.org/pfaf/cgi-bin/arr_html?Leonurus+cardiaca&CAN=COMIND