I trust each of you have kept warm during the cold spell. Today, I want to talk about a wonderful herb called Motherwort.
HEALING HERB: MOTHERWORT
Motherwort is a perennnial plant in the mint family. It is originally from Central Asia and southeastern Europe, but now it is now found worldwide, mainly spread due to its use as an herbal remedy. Motherwort’s natural habitat is beside roadsides, vacant fields, waste ground, and other disturbed areas. It prefers well drained soil and a partly shady location, and is hardy in the US.
Motherwort has a long history of use as a herb in traditional medicine in Central Europe, Asia and North America. Like many other plants, it has been used for a variety of ills, but it’s predominant use seems to have been for female problems. Motherwort has been used for centuries to treat conditions related to childbirth. The name was given, because it relaxes the womb and helps in delivery, and has been used as a uterine tonic before and after childbirth. It contains the alkaloid leonurine, which encourages uterine contractions. Motherwort is a galactagogue, meaning it promotes a mother's milk flow. It is also an emmenagogue, or an agent that promotes menstrual flow, and has been used for centuries to regulate the menstrual cycle and to treat menopausal and menstrual complaints.
Ancient Greeks and Romans used motherwort for physical and emotional problems of the heart, such as, palpitations and depression. In ancient China, motherwort was reputed to promote longevity. The 17th century English herbalist, Nicholas Culpeper, wrote, “There is no better herb to take melancholy vapors from the heart . . . and make a merry, cheerful soul.” He also stated, "It is of much use in trembling of the heart [palpitations], and fainting, and swoonings."
There have been studies in China that show motherwort does indeed relax heart cells. Other studies suggest that it helps prevent the internal blood clots that trigger heart attack. Russian researchers suggest that the herb contains chemicals that reduce blood pressure. The alkaloid leonurine, which is a mild vasodilator, has a relaxing effect on smooth muscles. For this reason, it has long been used as a cardiac tonic, nervine, and an emmenagogue.
German studies have shown that motherwort has mild sedative action comparable to valerian, making it potentially effective against insomnia or anxiety. As a mild relaxing agent, motherwort is often used by herbalists to treat such menopausal complaints as nervousness, insomnia, heart palpitations, and rapid heart rate. The herb may help heart conditions aggravated by nervousness. Because of its ability to improve mental outlook and reduce the effects of stress, some herbalists feel motherwort tea can help minimize the risk of postpartum depression.
At Herbs4You, you can purchase motherwort as a bulk herb.
For Your Health
Amy Willis, Your Local Herbalist