Motherwort. Leonurus cardiaca

Especially valuable for PMS, menstrual pain and delayed menstruation. Gentle sedative. Helps calm the entire nervous system. Strengthens the heart and often prescribed for palpitations.

Historically, the motherwort herb was used during childbirth to facilitate contractions as well as calm the mother during labor, giving it its common name of motherwort. A perennial herb, its medicinal uses include easing heart palpitations, menstrual disorders, menopausal discomfort, and as a mild sedative. All but the root of the plant is used for making tea, tinctures or decoctions. Always consult your physician or healer about use of herbal remedies.

Hardy in zones 4-8

Plant in spring, late summer, early fall.

Indoors. Start seeds 6-8 weeks before date of last frost.
Packet app. 25-30 seeds


The five-leaved motherwort herb is hardy, and when planted in seed or rooted, can withstand most soils. The herb will scatter additional seeds during its growing period and will flourish for several years without much care. The herb blossoms in late summer, its leaves turning hairy and its muted green leaves turning a paler greenish-yellow. The herb grows on a straight stalk with leaves shooting out perpendicular to the stalk, with small pinkish-red flowers at the base of each cluster of leaves.


The motherwort herb is also known as the lion’s tail or ear, throwwort and by its Latin name Leonurus cardica. In the past, folklore remedies in Europe used motherwort to calm the nervous system and cardiac disorders. The Chinese, who called the herb yi mu cao, used it to help calm and soothe nerves as a woman transitioned through life and for female reproductive disorders. Most commonly, motherwort is favored for its sedative qualities and mood lifting effects.

Medicinal Parts

All parts of the motherwort that grow above ground were, and are still commonly used in herbal remedies. The leaves, stalk and flowers are often dried in a clump and then crushed together, or you can separate the leaves and just use those in teas, brews or tinctures following recipes from cultural histories and uses.

Chemical Components

The entire herb is dried and cut or broken into pieces at the end of the growing season, usually August. The stalk, leaves and flowers were commonly used in remedies that took advantage of the alkaloids such as truicin, leonurine and stachydrine. Alkaloids give some plants their bitter flavor and are known to have therapeutic benefits, including their use as a sedative. Flavonoids, such as quercetin and tannins found in the plant, are also beneficial for their use as antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect your body from damage caused by free radicals. Damage caused by free radicals can cause not only skin damage, but also conditions like allergies, asthma and may contribute to some cancers. Such components found in the bitter-tasting leaves were also used by Native Americans in brews for women’s issues such as difficult or painful menstruation, cramps and accompanying anxiety.

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