Latin Name: Leonurus cardiac

Family: Lamiaceae

Genus: Leonurus

Common Names: motherwort, hrow-wort, lion's ear, and lion's tail

Origin: Originally from Central Asia and southeastern Europe

Distribution Area: it is now found worldwide

Botanical Information: The height of an adult plant is from 30 to 200 cm. The root is stalky. The stem is erect, sometimes branched. Leaves are petiolate. The lower leaves are palmately lobed or palmatisected, and the upper leaves are whole. They are the largest ones, up to 15 cm in length; closer to the top the leaves gradually decrease. Flowers are small. Inflorescences are spiked, located at the ends of stems and branches. Cups are naked or hairy. There are four stamens. Flowering time is throughout the summer.


The stems and leaves of the motherwort contain:

  • carbohydrates
  • alkaloids (0.035-0.4%)
  • essential oil
  • tannins (up to 2%)
  • bitter principle
  • flavonoids (rutin, 7-glucoside quercetin, quinqueloside, cosmosin, hyperoside)
  • saponins
  • glycosides
  • paracum and ascorbic (23.6-65.7 mg%) acids
  • beta-carotene
  • minerals

The flowers also contain the alkaloid stachidrine (up to 0.4%).

The seeds of the motherwort are rich in fatty oils (up to 30%).

Preparations of motherwort have such effects as:

  • diuretic
  • astringent
  • anticonvulsant
  • sedative
  • cardiotonic
  • antispasmodic
  • anticonvulsant
  • calming effect on the central nervous and cardiovascular systems
  • anti-inflammatory
  • antibacterial

According to the nature of the action, motherwort preparations are close to valerian preparations. They are used for

  • insomnia
  • hysteria
  • neuroses
  • neuralgia
  • high blood pressure
  • angina
  • vegetovascular dystonia
  • atherosclerosis
  • epilepsy
  • paralysis
  • graves' disease
  • anemia
  • diseases of the gastrointestinal tract

In folk medicine, motherwort is used as a diuretic, as well is consumed for headache, cough, catarrh of lungs, rheumatism, asthma, diseases of the nervous system and digestive tract, for normalization of cardiac activity and regulation of the menstrual cycle.


In folk medicine, motherwort is known for a long time and is used in the form of infusions, tinctures and different types of tea. In traditional medicine, the motherwort is used in the form of crushed leaves, water or alcohol tincture, as well as a tablet extract.

Motherwort can be used in the form of tea to normalize the nervous system. For treating wounds and burns, motherwort is applied externally, because it has a strong anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effect.

Use an infusion of motherwort herb with nervous excitability, in the early stages of hypertension, with cardiovascular neuroses: pour 15 g of dry herb to with a glass of boiling water and infuse for 1-2 hours. Take 1 tbsp. up to four times a day before meals.

When having diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, motherwort infusion is taken in the same dosages, or herb juice is taken 40 drops 2-3 times a day. The positive effect is observed after 3-4 weeks of treatment.

In case of violations of the menstrual cycle, with fibroids of the uterus, motherwort infusion is consumed for one glass 3 times a day.

Motherwort is often used in herb collections: hawthorn flowers, mistletoe, motherwort herb, cudweeds with hypertensive disease of the I-II degree.

Having diseases of the thyroid gland mix 1 tbsp. of crushed motherwort herb, 1 tbsp. of peppermint leaves, 1 tbsp. of green walnut, 1 tbsp. of rhizome of valerian and 2 tablespoons of hawthorn fruits. Take 1 tbsp. of collection, pour it with 1 cup of boiling water and infuse for half an hour, then strain. Take half of a glass 2 times daily before meals for a month, then make a break for 10 days, and again repeat the course of treatment.

Motherwort tincture can be prepared according to the following recipe:

Pour 20 g of crushed herb leaves with 100 ml of 70% alcohol. Infuse for 7-10 days and apply 30 drops 3-4 times during the day.

In medicine, Leonurus Cardiaca is used most often, but Siberian motherwort (Leonurus Sibiricus) also has found its application. In Chinese medicine, the Siberian motherwort has been widely used since ancient times. It was used with endometritis and uterine bleeding as a hemostatic. It was also used as a stimulant, improving blood circulation and hypotensive (blood pressure-lowering) remedy. This excellent sedative helps with neuroses and accelerated heart rate, myocardiopathy, dyspnea, in the early stages of hypertension.

As a result of using motherwort tinctures, the quality of sleep improves, the process of falling asleep speeds up, psychomotor excitability decreases. It should be noted a positive impact on the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for the normal operation of internal organs.


Major Interaction with Sedative medications (CNS depressants):

Motherwort as well as sedative medications can cause tiredness and somnolence. Concurrent using of the motherwort and sedative medications such as clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others can be the reason of a strong feeling of sleepiness. Do not use this combination.


When people, suffering from serious diseases of the central nervous system, consume motherwort, sometimes there can appear signs of excessive inhibition of the activity of nerve centers.

Motherwort can cause an allergic reaction and have individual contraindications for use.

Preparations based on motherwort can stimulate a contraction of the muscles of the uterus. Thereby they can not be taken during pregnancy and by women after recent abortion. Motherwort can cause bleeding.

For those who suffer from arterial hypotension, bradycardia, stomach ulcers and erosive gastritis, motherwort is contraindicated.

Taking motherwort is not recommended to everyone, whose work is associated with increased concentration of attention, because it causes drowsiness.

When having thrombosis and thrombophlebitis, the treatment must be carried out only under the supervision of a doctor. If the recommended doses are exceeded, pain in the whole body, vomiting, a stool with blood and thirst may be observed.

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”

Frank Lloyd Wright

*This article is for informational purposes only. We suggest consulting with a physician before using these or any other herbal supplements.