Herb Spotlight - Motherwort

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)

Family: Lamiaceae

Part Used: Aerial Parts

Flavor/Aroma: Bitter

Energetics: Cooling



Motherwort may have gotten its name from its ability to relieve emotional tension and promote an overall grounding sensation- just like that of a mother's loving embrace. It is also known to not only protect the energetic heart center, but to also increase the physical cardiovascular health, as well as having many other useful health benefits.  


Motherwort grows as a perennial herb, with leaf covered, square shaped stems that can reach heights of 5 to 10 feet tall. The leaves are deeply lobed and textured, and its flowers are either purple in color, or whitish tones, with numerous, erect hairs that sit upon the blooms.

Cultivation and Harvesting:

Motherwort is native to areas of Europe, such as Russia and Scandanavian countries. It is thought to be native to some northern regions of the United States. Motherwort is best harvested just as the flowers begin to express, and should be used fresh if possible when making medicines.2  

Southern Oregon Cultivation:

Motherwort grows fairly easy in the Rogue Valley with careful attention to not overwater or overshade the plant. It is best harvested when in full bloom during the early summer months into the early fall season, but will continue to reproduce under the right conditions. Motherwort can be found in the wild in stands along woodlands and beside riverbanks. It generally grows well in a variety of conditions in the wild.

History and Folklore:

Motherwort has been used to support female reproductive help for centuries, to support dysmenorrhea, and as a uterine tonic for a variety of conditions. In ancient Greece and Rome, the leaves were brewed into a tea to relieve a broken heart and treat physical ailments of the muscle as well. It was also used in Chinese medicine to promote longevity and relieve depression.1 

The shape of the Motherwort leaves have a fanciful resemblance to a lion’s tail, giving way to its latin name of Leonurus, which literally translates to lion’s tail in Greek.

Modern Applications:

Motherwort has been indicated to support those with painful cramping associated with menstruation, systemic muscle tension, menstrual related headaches, mood swings and irritability, and false labor pains. It may also be helpful with decreasing hot flashes, relieving anxiety and depression, to protect the heart by lowering blood pressure and promoting healthy circulation; and to mitigate unwanted symptoms from stress such as heart palpitations and sweats.2,3

Uses and Preparations:

Dried Herb Tea Preparation: 

1 Tablespoon per cup of water.

Using a reusable tea bag or tea ball, immerse the loose dried herbs into boiling water and allow to steep for 5-10 minutes, preferably covered, in order to release the maximum amount of herbal goodness. Some herbal tea can carry a strong flavor. We recommend organic honey as a sweetener which preserves the beneficial herbal compounds. 


1-2 mL up to 4 times per day.

Some herbal tinctures can have a strong flavor on their own. Adding your tincture to a glass of 6-8oz of water is one easy way to help, should you wish to dilute the flavor.  

Recommended Usage:

It is important to remember that some bodies may react differently than others when using herbal products. Our recommended usage amounts are designed to be an average dosage only. If you have specific concerns about the usage amount or interaction with other medication, please consult with your doctor or health care practitioner prior to using our products.


Avoid during pregnancy. We recommend consulting with your practitioner if you are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant, or if you are using any other medications.


  1. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://cms.herbalgram.org/expandedE/Motherwortherb.html 
  2. Motherwort. (n.d). www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/kings/leonurus.html 
  3. Matlawaska, I., Szymanski, M., Wojtyniak, K. (August 27, 2013). Leonurus cardiaca L. (motherwort): a review of its phytochemistry and pharmacology. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23042598  

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.