An important heart herb since Roman times, motherwort derives the ‘Leonurus’ part of it’s botanical name from a Greek word meaning ‘lion’s tail’, describing the shaggy shape of the leaves.

It’s common name also suggests medicinal application for, in Gerard’s words “them that are in hard travell with childe’. Early herbalists also recommended motherwort for ‘wykked sperytis’.

Known to protect the home and family.

Botanical Name: Leonurus cardiaca 

Common name: Motherwort

Family: Lamiaceae

Parts Used: Aerial Parts – Harvested in summer

Active Constituents: 

  • Alkaloids
  • Bitter glycosides
  • Flavonoids
  • Tannins
  • High in Ca, Mg and Fe

Qualities: Pungent, bitter, drying & cool (Ody)

“There is no better herb to take melancholy vapours from the heart, to strengthen it, and make a merry, cheerful, blithe soul” – Nicholas Culpeper, 1653


  • Cardiotonic
  • Nervine Tonic
  • Hypotensive
  • Antiarrhythmic
  • Antithyroid
  • Spasmolytic
  • Emmenagogue
  • Uterine Stimulant
  • Carminative
  • Mitochondrial protection (Buhner)
  • Balances connection between the heart and the kidneys


  • Specific: Anxiety with palpitations
  • Adjuvant therapy for hyperthyroidism
  • Nervous cardiac disorders eg palpitations
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Anxiety, neuralgia, chorea
  • Amenorrhea
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Ovarian pain
  • Calm PMS tension
  • Suppressed menstruation
  • Delayed labour
  • Sleep issues – especially if due to racing heart, palpitations when hit the pillow

Contraindications: Pregnancy and Lactation

Cautions: None known


1:2FE 2-3.5ml per day or 15-25ml per week

Can be used LT for mild thyroid hyperfunction


  • INFUSION: Use as tonic for menopausal Sx, anxiety and heart weaknesses. Also for period pains. Take after childbirth to reduce risk of postpartum bleeding
  • SYRUP: Infusion traditionally made into syrup to disguise flavour
  • DOUCHE: Use infusion or diluted tincture for vaginal infections and discharges

References & Links to Articles:


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