Filed under: Herbal. Tagged as: Herbal.
Action: Sedative, antispasmodic, cardiac tonic, hypotensive, emmenagogue.
Systems Affected: Nerves, heart, circulation, uterus.
Preparation and Dosage (thrice daily): Dried flowering plant, dose 2-5 grams by infusion.
There are several species of Leonurus throughout the world, all with similar cardiotonic, sedative and emmenagogue properties. The Asian species L. artemisia is an important herb in Chinese medicine and the European species L. cardiaca has been in use since the time of the ancient Greeks.
The plant is a strongly smelling erect perennial growing to 1.5 meters in height. The generic name Leonurus refers to the tall leafy stem which the ancients thought resembled a lion’s tail; the specific name cardiaca refers to the herb’s action on the heart. Its common name refers to its use as a female tonic.
Motherwort is useful for treating female disorders, including menopausal problems and particularly suppressed or irregular menstruation, for which it is often combined with other herbs such as Cramp Bark and Marigold.
It is a good tonic for the heart, and may be combined with Hawthorn berries for a very effective heart tonic useful in weakness of the heart, palpitations and neuralgia. It is specific for heart problems associated with anxiety.
Culpeper wrote: ‘There is no better herb to drive melancholy vapours from the heart, to strengthen it and make the mind cheerful, blithe and merry . . . therefore the Latins call it cardiaca.’
As a sedative and antispasmodic, Motherwort is useful for treating conditions such as anxiety, hysteria, insomnia, cramps and convulsions. It allays nervous irritability, inducing quiet and relaxation of the whole nervous system. In fevers attended by nervousness and delirium it is very useful. It is also used in treating flatulence, shortness of breath and congestion of the respiratory passages.
Cautionary Notes: The fresh plant may cause contact dermatitis in some susceptible individuals.