Motherwart brings out the lion in you to get through the hard times and do the work that needs to be done, be it pushing a baby through the pelvis, facing fears or calming down. The leaves are used in herbal medicine as an extract or infusion, harvested during the flowering period.
The stems are squarish with short hairs and is often a purple hue. Pink to purple flowers grow on the stem in the upper part of the plant, and bloom from July to August. It grows to about 24 to 40 inches (60 to 100 cm).
Photo by @krnel
Motherwort is also known as Agripalma, Agripaume, Agripaume Cardiaque, Cardiaire, Cardiaque, Cheneuse, Chinese Motherwort, Creneuse, Herba Leonuri, Herbe aux Tonneliers, Hjärtstilla, Leonuri Cardiacae Herba, Leonurus, Leonurus artemisia, Leonurus cardiaca, Leonurus cardica, Leonurus japonicus, Leonurus heterophyllus, Leonurus sibiricus, Lion's Ear, Lion's Tail, Mother's Wort, Oreille de Lion, Patte de Sorcier, Pustyrnik Obyknovennyj, Queue de Lion, Qinghao, Qiancengta, Sanjiaohuma, Stachys artemisia, Throw-Wort, Tianzhima, Tougucao, Yema, Yi Mu Cao, Yimuhao.
Photo by @krnel
- grows all over North America, Europe and Asia
- lion and mother symbolism to get you through tough situations
- pink to purple flowers
- treats anxiety and heart conditions
This herb has been cultivated for thousands of years since ancient times. The name motherwort comes from the history of use that is symbolic to a mother that consoles such as for easing tension and anxiety of a child.
The scientific name Leonurus comes from the Greek lion's tail (leon - lion and ouros - tail). And Cardiaca is a reference to the heart organ which is related in how the herb is used as a medicine.
Where is it found?
Originating in Europe and Aisa, it's been introduced into North America by European colonialists and has propagated to nearly all 4 corners of the land, being found from Western to Eastern Canada except for Newfoundland it seems, and from Wester to Eastern United States except for California and Florida. The northern parts of Canada and Alaska also seem to lack it, according to being unreported there.
Motherwort likes partial sun and well drained soil. It can naturally be found beside the road, in fields, waste grounds, dumps and other disturbed areas. It's considered invasive and attracts bubble bees who use it for foraging.
What's it used for?
Uses are mainly for heart related issues, like heart failure, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and heart symptoms due to anxiety which means it can calm you down and alleviate fear. In women it's used for menstrual periods to relieve pain and menopause symptoms. It has been shown to reduce blood loss after a C-section by being injected into the uterus.
It can also help with intestinal gas (flatulence), cancer, sleep problems, asthma, and over-active thyroid (hyperthyroidism) and alcoholism. Some people use it on their skin for wounds, itches and shingles.
Are there any risks?
Motherwort is considered safe when taken orally. Some side effects might be diarrhea, stomach irritation and uterine bleeding. Skin contact can cause rashes and sensitivity to the sun. Pregnant women and women breast feeding should avoid it, as it can stimulate the uterus that might cause a miscarriage. But it's not known if there are issues when breastfeeding.
Motherwort might cause sleepiness and drowsiness, so sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness if taken with motherwort. Some of these pharmaceuticals are clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), and zolpidem (Ambien).
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