Common Name: Motherwort

Botanical Name: Leonurus cardiaca

Family: Mint Family

Habitat: Ranges throughout Central and Eastern United States.  Found in waste places, roadsides, disturbed areas, along paths, often found around farmyards.

Where found in Minnesota: Found throughout Minnesota.  Species of this plant have been naturalized here from Europe.  There is also an eastern Asian species used in Chinese medicine called Leonurus heterophyllus.  It is unclear whether Leonurus sp. first came from Asia, cultivated in Europe and then brought to the United States.

Part Used: Aerial parts.  (Leaves, flowers, and seeds.)

Collection Time: Collect at time of flowering, between June and September.

Preparations: Use internally as a tea infusion, fresh plant tincture, or as an external compress over the uterine area to relieve menstrual cramps.

Energetics – Tissue States: constriction, atrophy.  Taste: bitter, acrid; aromatic.  Temperature: cool.

Actions: Uterine stimulant, cardiac tonic, carminative, mild emmenogogue, nervine/relaxant (especially anxiety/stress with heart palpitations).

Historical Uses: Has been an important herb since Roman times.  Motherwort has a long history of use for women with reproductive issues and people with hypertension.

Uses in Chinese Medicine: The Chinese Motherwort is known as Yi Mu Cao (L. heterophyllus), and is mainly used for women’s reproductive issues, while also being used for people with hypertension and to help some types of eczema and sores.  The seeds are called Chong Wei Zi and are used in combination with other remedies for eye problems such as conjunctivitis.  The seeds are also used for menstrual irregularities and as a circulatory stimulant.

Flower Essence Usage: Used for unresolved shock to the emotional heart; to help reconnect to the “heart’s life force”.

Folk Uses: In Romanian folk medicine it is used to aid heart conditions, goiter, and epilepsy.  In Russian folk medicine it is used for amenorrhea, dysmenorrheal, insomnia, nervousness, high blood pressure and tuberculosis.

Use in Gender Specific or Age Related Ways: Mainly used for women’s reproductive issues, throughout all stages of reproductive life, from menarche and into menopause.  Motherwort could be used by any gender for eczema and sores, some eye problems, anxiety affecting the heart, insomnia, and as a heart tonic.

*CAUTION*: Since Motherwort is a uterine stimulant avoid in pregnancy.  It may be used in labor.


Tree Frog Farm:  Flower and Tree Essences in Partnership with Nature.  Motherwort Flower Essence (product description).  Copyright © 2006-2009 Tree Frog Farm.  Lummi Island, WA.

Wood, Matthew.  The Earthwise Herbal:  A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants.  Berkeley, CA:  North Atlantic Books.  2008.  Print.

Ody, Penelope.  The Complete Medicinal Herbal.  New York, NY:  Dorling Kindersley, Inc.  1993.  Print.

Hutchens, Alma R.  Indian Herbalogy of North America:  The Definitive Guide to Native Medicinal Plants and Their Uses.  Boston, Massachusetts:  Shambhala Publications, Inc.  1973.  Print.

Moyle, John B. and Evelyn W. Moyle.  Northland Wildflowers:  The Comprehensive Guide to the Minnesota Region.  Revised Edition.  Minneapolis, MN:  University of Minnesota Press.  2001.  Print.

Niering, William A. and Nancy C. Olmstead.  The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers:  Eastern Region.  Second Printing.  New York:  Chanticleer Press, Inc.  1979.  Print.

Winston, David and Steven Maimes.  Adaptogens:  Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief.  Rochester, Vermont:  Healing Arts Press.  2007.  Print.


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