Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) is used for menstrual and uterine conditions, as well as in heart and circulation treatments
Motherwort, as its name implies, is a woman’s herb. It has been used in Asia to prevent pregnancy and regulate menstrual cycles. It is used by midwives to help expell the afterbirth, to help get the uterus back into shape after childbirth, to prevent uterine infections and to ease symptoms of postpartum stress and depression. Traditional herbals suggest motherwort for “hysterical” conditions and “meloncholy”. As a relaxing nervine, motherwort helps to reduce anxiety and tension and bring one back to a place of calm centeredness. Motherwort is also a digestive bitter and as such encourages bile production, healthy digestion and reduces gas pains.
Bitter, spicy, slightly cold Meridians
Motherwort is primarily an herb of the heart. Several species have sedative effects, decreasing muscle spasms and temporarily lowering blood pressure. Chinese studies found that extracts decrease clotting and the level of fat in the blood and can slow heart palpitations and rapid heartbeat.
Another of motherwort’s uses is to improve fertility and reduce anxiety associated with childbirth, postpartum depression, and menopause. If used in early labor it will ease labor pains and calms the nerves after childbirth. Take motherwort only once soon after giving birth as consistent use before the uterus has clamped down may cause bleeding to continue. Use one to two times a day in the weeks following birth for easing tension and supporting a woman through the feelings that come with new mothering. In eastern China, women still drink a syrup made from Motherwort to promote the recovery of the uterus after childbirth; the herb has a strong bitter taste, so visitors to a recovering mother often bring along sugar as a gift. Do not use during pregnancy.
Motherwort helps bring on a delayed or suppressed menstrual flow, especially when someone is anxious and tense. Chinese women often use it combined with Dong Quai as a menstrual regulator. Avoid using for menstrual cramps when bleeding is heavy. It strengthens and relaxes the uterine muscles and eases uterine cramping. It also reduces fevers, and is especially suggested for illnesses associated with nervousness or delirium.
Motherwort was formerly used to treat rheumatism and lung problems, like bronchitis and asthma.
Motherwort may help an overactive thyroid but does not depress normal thyroid function.
Tincture the leaves and flowers as soon as you pick them. If you prefer to dry them, lay the leaves and stalks onto screens. Motherwort tea has a very bitter taste. Chinese medicine uses the seeds to aid in urination; cool the body system; treat excessive menstrual flow, absence of menstruation.
Kiva Rose writes that she has been especially loving Motherwort for treating women with adrenal fatigue and related heart palpitations and anxiety, works very well. It’s also amazing for treating that particular kind of anxiety that just gets stuck in your chest and manifests as a constant tightness, a knot in the throat and irregular heartbeat.
How to conserve?
Conserve of Motherwort: strip the flowers from the stems allowing 2 lbs of sugar to 1 lb of flowers. Beat them together well, stirring the sugar in gradually, then pot and tie down well. Syrup of Motherwort: Cut the flowering stems into small pieces and put them into an earthen pot and pour over them boiling water, allowing 1 gallon of water to every 3 pounds of the stems. Cover closely and leave for 12 hours, then squeeze the herbs very carefully, heat the liquid and add a fresh lot of herbs; infuse again, covering closely, and continue to do so until the infusion is strong enough. To every quart of the infusion add 4 pounds of loaf sugar and boil to a syrup and when cool bottle.
For a possible tranquilizing, uterine stimulating, blood pressure-lowering infusion, use 1-2 teaspoons of dried herb per cup of boiling water. Steep 10 minutes. Drink up to 2 cups a day, a tablespoon at a time. Because of the very bitter taste, add sugar, honey, and lemon or mix it into an herbal beverage tea to improve flavor. In a tincture, take ½ to 1 teaspoon up to twice a day. Do not give to children under age 2.
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