Plant Profile: Motherwort


(Leonurus cardiaca)


Energetics: Cooling, stimulating 

Taste: aromatic & acrid bitter, spicy. 

Part used: Leaves, flowering tops. 

Systems affected: Pericardium, liver, Heart, kidneys, uterus. 

Key components: Iridoids, bitter glycosides including leonurin & leonuridine, bitter principle, alkaloids including leonuinine & stachydrene, flavonoids including rutin & quercitin, volatile oils including tannins, resin, organic acids, vitamin A. 

Preparations: infusion, tincture (from fresh or dried), formentation, Flower essence. 

Properties: relaxing nervine, invigorates blood, antispasmodic, hypotensive, vermifuge, emmenagogue, cardiovascular tonic, digestive bitter, diaphoretic, diuretic, uterine tonic. 


Women: Uterine stimulant. Stimulation of delayed or suppressed menstruation. tonifies the uterine membranes.  Indicated for a cold uterus. Blood congestion & painful menstruation (can use with calendula & cramp bark. 10 drops tincture as needed to help relax cervix during labor & 1 squirt (maybe 30 drops) for pains after labor. 

Anxiety: Specific for anxiety that causes a racing heart or palpitations as well as stress/anxiety held in the digestive tract. Calms the sympathetic nervous system and helps promote transition from sympathetic to parasympathetic. Excellent for those who move too quickly in thoughts, emotions or actions that are not well thought out. Remedy for nervous restlessness, wakefulness, disturbed sleep & anxiety. A cloak of protection that keeps the heart safe & strong. Created good boundaries for those who are caring for others to make sure we can still care for ourselves. 

Flower essence Specific for boundaries, make sure they aren’t overstepped. Facilitates development of inner strength while allowing soft, nurturing presentation.

Heart: Works to strengthen and normalize heart action. taking each day helps new blood vessels grow to the heart (“bypass in a bottle”). Helps to remove arteriosclerosis & dissolve blood clots. Dose of 10-20 drops several times per day can lower blood pressure, improve heart action & strengthen electrical activity in the heart. 

Fever reduction: Opens the skin (diaphoretic). Good for stubborn fevers and fevers that have left a person feeling drained. Drink 3 cups infusion each day to reduce fever and strengthen body. Mildly stimulates colon & kidneys & relaxes uterus. 

Dosing: Formentation: 4 Tbsp per pint steeped 4 hours, soak cotton cloth in infusion & apply as needed. Infusion: 1-2 tsp per cup steeped 8-10 minutes 1-3x per day. 

Growing: Perennial. Seeds germinate easily whether down in fall or early spring. Start seeds in spring after freezing them for several months or plant in ground in fall so the winter naturally stratifies (freezes) them. Zones 4-8. Typically flowers in the first year. Like most mints, often takes over the area in which it grows. Will self-sow abundantly if the seed is allowed to mature & spread. Can also be started by root division. 

Harvesting: Harvest at a joint after flowers have bloomed. Tincture fresh in alcohol & dry for later infusions.

Contraindications: Not for those taking prescription sedative or heart medications. Not to be taken in tincture form during pregnancy (except labor) or breastfeeding.