Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca), belongs to the mint family of plants. Leon-lion, ouros-tail and cardiaca refers to the heart. Has a quite bitter taste. It is usually found in the wild, near areas of water-like streams or rivers. Includes the alkaloid leonurine, which is a mild vasodilator and has a relaxing activity on smooth muscles. Motherwort was first used by the Ancient Greeks to soothe the anxiety of pregnant women.Traditional Chinese Medicine proposes motherwort to promote longevity and treat menstrual problems.
Motherwort is usually given to stimulate menstruation when it is amenorrhea or irregular and dysmenorrhea. A general nervous system relaxant with mild emmenagogic effects makes suitable for women experiencing painful scanty menstrual flow aggravated by stress. Animal-based study conducted in China suggests that motherwort alkaloids can calm the central nervous system and stimulate the uterus to contract. Researches show motherwort effectiveness in lowering symptoms of menopause. In one study, a formula containing motherwort, burdock, licorice, wild yam and dong quai decreased menopause symptoms.
This plant has been referred to as a cardiotonic. Motherwort is used for heart disorders including heart failure, fast heartbeat, irregular heartbeat, and heart symptoms due to anxiety. Stachydine and leonurine (important components), may decrease blood pressure and soothe the central nervous system. Inhibits blood platelet aggregation, reduces blood lipid levels, reduces high blood pressure and calms arrhythmias. Has been shown to be hypotensive, sedative, and antispasmodic. “New York University Langone Medical Center” notes that Leonurus cardiaca can be used to treat rapid heartbeats due to anxiety or stress. In a trial of 105 participants, 94 percent of them demonstrated an improvement in blood viscosity and reduction in fibrinogen content. Russian researchers released a study, reported in the journal “Phytotherapy Research” that demonstrated significantly reduced blood pressure after 14 days of taking 300 mg twice a day. The German Commission E (an official government agency similar to the FDA), has approved motherwort for irregular heart rhythms caused by anxiety.
Motherwort Side Effects
Adverse effects include stomach irritation, diarrhea and uterine bleeding. May produce allergic reactions to those susceptible to dermatitis. This herb can stimulate the uterus and might cause a miscarriage. Also, motherwort along with sedative drugs might cause too much sleepiness.