top of page

Plant Family:



Habitat & Cultivation: 

According to Wojtyniak et al., Leonurus is native to central Europe and Scandinavia, but it is also found in the area spanning temperate Russia to central Asia. It is commonly found in rural areas throughout the lowlands and foothills, as well as in East Asia to the Himalayas and eastern Siberia, northern Africa and North America.“It has been introduced to North America and has become established locally in the wild” (2012).


Parts Used/Collection: 

Motherwort blooms in mid-June to mid-July and the flowering bud (aerial parts) are used medicinally.  The optimal time to harvest motherwort is when the plant first starts to flower and present buds.


Herbal Actions: 

  • Cardiotonic

  • Nervine

    • Tonic

    • Anxiolytic

    • Mild hypnotic

  • Emmenagogue

  • Diuretic

  • Bitter

  • Uterine Tonic

  • hypotensive



  • Amenorrhea

  • Benign breast disorder

  • Anxiety, stress, irritability

  • Dysmenorrhea

  • Dysfunctional labor / labor augmentation

  • Endometriosis

  • Heart palpitations

  • Hypertension

  • Insomnia

  • Improve let-down reflex / increase milk supply (Romm, 2010).

  • Lack of appetite (great for increasing food intake during labor)



Helpful for those experiencing the opposite of the qualities listed above, those with too much warm, dry, rough, light, mobile.  In ayurveda, this may be seen as pitta or vata. Kapha may be aggravated by milk thistle, depending on the situation. This is one of the more grounding liver herbs (we will go over liver herbs next quarter), which can be something you’re looking for.


Plant Constituents: 

Alkaloids, Flavinoids, Glycosides, Iridoids & Terpenoids, Tannins, Volatile Oils, Vit. A & B


System Affinities:

  • Cardiovascular

  • Hepatic

  • Musculoskeletal

  • Nervous Systerm



The energetic qualities of motherwort would include relaxing, warming, astringent. 
If someone is having too much anxiety having some motherwort would help, however If the person is too relaxed, and wants something uplifting, motherwort will aggravating and not helpful. 

Motherwort is a cooling herb that resounds well with the Pitta and Kapha constitutions. It is pungent and bitter, which may have a strong effect on the Kapha individual (Frawley & Lad, 2006). This antispasmodic, anxiolytic, nervine may be useful for treating the highly anxious, overworked and overtired client and their uterus. Because this herb is cooling, it may be especially useful for the overly Pitta constitutions and may aggravate more Vata constitutions. 



According to Mills & Bone (2005), Leonurus cardiaca is a safety category B3 in pregnancy and category C during lactation, which is compatible with breastfeeding. In pregnancy, Mills and Bone (2005), states, “no increase in frequency of malformations or other harmful effects on the fetus from limited use in women”. However, category B3 does include “evidence of increased fetal damage in animal studies exists, although the relevance to humans is unknown (Mills & Bone, 2005, p. 510). Additionally, Ricco & Zollinger (2018) list motherwort as safety class 2b, with the potential to interfere with other cardiac treatments.



Motherwort is prepared as an infusion or a tincture using aerial parts. 
Tincture: 1 to 4 ml(1:5 in 40%) TID
Infusion: 1 -2 tsp dried herb infused into 1 cup of water TID.

Personal Experience:





American Botanical Council. (2000). Fenugreek seed. Accessed online at


Mills, S. & Bone, K. (2005). The essential guide to herbal safety. London, England: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone


Riccio, L. & Zollinger, R. (2018). Prolonged prodromal labor. Week 7 PowerPoint. Botanical Medicine for Midwifery Care 4.


Wojtyniak, K., Szymański, M., & Matławska, I. (2012, October 08). Leonurus cardiaca L. (Motherwort): A Review of its Phytochemistry and Pharmacology. Retrieved from


Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)

bottom of page