Motherwort, Leonurus cardiaca

Motherwort, also known as Lion’s Heart is a beautiful, strong and vibrant plant that as its name indicates, is used often in troubles of the heart & reproductive system; it is also a sedative nervine and is a strong bitter digestive tonic. 


Botanical name : Leonurus cardiaca

Common Name: Motherwort 

Family: Lamiaceae (mint family)

Parts used: leaves

Grows in moist soil in partially shady areas, avoid dry soil. In the first year a basal rosette grows second year tall stalk with showy flowers

Zones 3-8

Planet: Motherwort is associated with Venus, which is fitting because of this planets strong affinity for the female reproductive system, love and beauty. 

Taste and Energetics

The taste of Motherwort is extremely bitter( maybe the most bitter I have tasted)  which indicates a cooling downward moving energy. Although the taste is bitter the smell is quite sweet and aromatic.

It can also be a bit acrid, which shows as a sharp sensation in the back of the throat. Acrid in taste always indicates an anti- spasmodic/ relaxant action. 

Because of the bitterness(tannins) and acrid taste it also tends to be a bit astringent. 

Actions & Affinities

Motherwort & the Heart a Love Story

Motherwort has a strong affinity for the heart, both physically and emotionally. In fact Motherwort's actions beautifully support  the connection of the physical and emotional heart. In many ways Motherwort represents the Mother, it supports but calms. It's fierce but feels as though it is wrapping you in a warm embrace.


It is often used when there is a rapid heartbeat or a pounding heart that comes with anxiety, nervousness or even in times of hormonal shifts. It can be used in any or all nervous conditions that affect the heart.

I see it as an effective heart restorative because of its effects on the heart as a whole.

It has a mild effect as a  vasodilator to help a balanced distribution of blood throughout the vascular system. 

Overview of effects on heart Physically

  • Increases circulation
  • Reduces cholesterol 
  • Prevents platelet aggregation 
  • Relaxes vascular tension
  • Strengthens and tones 
  • Immunomodulating effects on infection of

 the heart such as staphylococcus aureus 

  • Reduces inflammation and oxidation

Overview of the effects on the heart emotionally

  • Brings Courage
  • Aids the vulnerable
  • aids in the fear of the unknown
  • brings about openness, relaxation in order to be receptive to a state of harmony
  • Reduces nervousness and anxiety

Motherwort and the Woman 

Motherwort is an effective emmenagogue. It will bring on menses quickly. This is because of its bitter and relaxant properties it helps stimulate blood flow and open things up to drain down and out when there is stagnation. This makes it helpful in conditions such as amenorrhea that often comes with prolonged use of birth control. It really helps bring a consistent rhythm to the cycle, and it’s rhythm to the moon. 

It also has antispasmodic effects that can help with cramping or ‘PMS’ 

**Dosage is important here depending on the status of menstruation, it can bring on excess bleeding in the beginning.  5-25 drops

Because of its antispasmodic properties and its downward moving energy it makes this herb a handy ally for helping in delayed labor and delayed afterbirth, as well as helping to reduce excess postpartum bleeding. 

Often herbalists will reach for motherwort during menopause to support symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety and heart palpitations. Because of its cooling nature it can cool hot flashes.  It also aids the liver in metabolizing excess hormones which can be high during the changes that take place in the body during this time.

In Chinese medicine it is used to invigorate blood which removes masses such as cysts & fibroids.

Motherwort as a Digestive Aid: 

Because this herb is one of the most bitter herbs you will taste, it is used to Support the digestive system. If someone were to struggle with fat digestion thus having a slow moving stagnant liver/gallbladder this herb could have an affinity to helping cool that heat and increase digestion.

It is especially indicated for people who have weak digestion due to anxiety, stress, or tension. Tension headaches can sometimes be caused by stagnation in the liver so here motherwort may be helpful as well.

Nervine: You probably understand this about Motherwort by now but it is a relaxant, sedative herb that can aid in anxiety, stress, tension or fear of the unknown. Specifically this herb can help when stress presents itself in the heart or gut. 

Hyperthyroidism: Motherwort is often used to help in the treatment of symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism such as heart palpitations & increased heat that can lead to increased sensitivity, rapid digestion and inflammation.


Not to be used during pregnancy. During labor must be used by someone who understands the dosage.


Tincture is the most common way to take Motherwort as most people cannot tolerate it as a tea. The dosage varies anywhere from 5-40 drops per day, depending on the situation at hand. (1:3) 

Fomentation: can be made as a strong decoction and laid over the womb to help with cramps or spasms. 

Ointment: can be made into an ointment to aid in vaginal dryness associated with menopause.

According to the James Duke Database this plant includes but not limited to;, iridoids (strong bitter flavor), diterpenes, triterpenes,(aromatic properties) phenolic acids (antioxidant), flavonoids (cooling sedative), and tannins, no cardiac glycosides.  

Heart Formula: 

2 parts Motherwort

2 Parts Hawthorn Berry, Leaves and Flowers

1 Part Linden

Amenorrhea Formula: 

2 Parts Motherwort 

2 Parts Black Cohosh 

1 Part Chaste Tree

-Sajah Popham

Anxiety/Sleep Formula 

Equal Parts 



Passion Flower

Triple Goddess Tincture

Equal Parts: 

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)

Cronewort (aka Mugwort)(Artemisia Vulgaris)

Maidenwort (aka Chickweed) (Stellaria media)

Maiden in the Spring Mother in the Summer Crone in the fall to aid in dissolving cysts.

-Susun Weed