Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)
$8.15 – $17.10
Native to central Asia, central Europe, and Scandinavia through to temperate Russia, motherwort is now naturalized in much of Europe and North America. It is a perennial herb, growing to about five feet producing toothed, palm-shaped leaves and double-lipped, pink flowers that grow in clusters. The plant thrives in woodlands, open areas, and along roadsides, as well as in gardens. It is harvested when in flower during the summer.
The species name, cardiaca, indicates that it has long been used as a heart remedy, while the genus name, Leonurus, means “lion’s tail”, derived from the shaggy shape of the leaves.
In 1652, Culpeper stated that there was “no better herb to drive away melancholy vapours from the heart, to strengthen it and make the mind cheerful.”
The Italian physician and herbalist Pierandrea Matteoli held it “useful for palpitations and a pounding heart, spasms, and paralysis.” He also indicated, in 1548, that it “thins thick and viscid humours, stimulates urine and menstrual bleeding, and purges stone from the kidneys.”
- gentle sedative
- strengthens heart function
- uterine stimulant
- alkaloids (including L-stachydrine)
- an iridoid (leonuride)
- flavonoids (including rutin, quercitrin, isoquercitrin, hyperoside, genkwanin)
- caffeic acid
- vitamin A