In contrast to some of the herbs often discussed in our blogs, motherwort might not immediately ring a bell to most. Even fewer may be aware that motherwort, often considered a matriarchal herb, harbors a variety of medicinal properties and benefits, which have a documented usage spanning many eras. In this post, we take a look at the rich backstory of the motherwort plant, explaining what it does, how to use it, and highlighting some of its benefits and side-effects for new mothers.
A perennial member of the mint family, with its deep green foliage and soft, pink blooms, motherwort herb is native to southeastern Europe and parts of Asia. Traditionally, its use and cultivation go back all the way back to ancient times, and across a variety of cultures. Its Latin name, leonurus cardiac (literally “lion-hearted one”) refers to the heart, as one of the motherwort’s traditional uses has been to treat heart-related conditions – certain old texts even suggest that there is no better herb for strengthening and gladdening the heart.
In the 19th century, documents show that motherwort was introduced to North America, where it was adapted for remedial purposes by indigenous populations such as Cherokee, Delaware, Oklahoma, Micmac, Mohegan, and Shinnecock, who utilized motherwort for anxiety, as a nerve tonic, and for a variety of alimental ranging from the gynecological to the gastrointestinal.
Modern motherwort uses are undoubtedly informed by its history as an herb with rich medicinal potential. Occasionally called a cardiotonic, some of its main uses relate to the reproductive system and the heart, where many people feel and hold a great deal of tension and anxiety. Motherwort also provides nervine support, and because it alleviates these nervous feelings, herbalists use the plant to release the feelings from the physical body as well.
For example, nervousness resulting in delayed menstruation can be prevented with motherwort, thus inducing a relaxed, and easy menstrual cycle. Additionally, it is considered useful for dealing with the stress that can overwhelm a new mother and can act as an emotional decongestant in those moments, helping the mother enjoy her new role.
How to Use It
Experiencing motherwort’s benefits will depend on the way you use it. Common methods of implementing it include tinctures, teas, and vaginal steaming.
Since motherwort is considered an emmenagogue, it should not be used as a supplement by women who are currently pregnant. It should also be avoided by women who have experienced or are currently experiencing some form of a uterine bleeding condition, as the herb can worsen the ailment. Additionally, those planning to undergo surgery should avoid taking motherwort for at least two weeks prior to the operation. Less maternity-specific side-effects can include drowsiness, low blood pressure, diarrhea, and increased sensitivity to sun exposure.
Motherwort at Birth Song Botanicals
If you think motherwort’s benefits may be right for you, then consider contacting us at Birth Song Botanicals, especially if you are looking for a motherwort-infused herbal blend to help support you during your postpartum and to relieve afterbirth cramps and blues. With that in mind, be sure to check out our product, Nurtured Mother for Afterbirth Cramp Relief & Postpartum Blues Support. We offer a wide variety of products and information, all focused on prioritizing your family’s well-being. Call 479-283-7308 or visit us online and order today!