May 232012

It’s been quite some time since I’ve written a blog piece. Spring has kept me quite the busy bee! As I thought about what I wanted my next piece to be about I realized I have a lot (a lot) of posts about food. While I love food and will continue to post recipes galore, I wanted to scale back, choose something simple and yet elegant. Something powerful, practical and oh so very beautiful. So I decided on a simple single herb Materia Medica and to do it on a plant that has helped me in many personal ways as well as many others I’ve used her with: Motherwort. This is our relationship, our journey thus far. Enjoy.

Photo courtesy of 7Song

Motherwort-(Leonorus Cardiaca)- Lamiaceae 

Often pigeon holed as an herb for mothers, I prefer to think of her as a mother

Photo courtesy of 7Song

herb, a mothering herb. Her dissected leaves, covered with soft little hairs and her tiny yet striking pink flowers speak of gentle, loving mommey-ness. But one bite of her intensely bitter leaves or a touch of her sharp calyx, like a mother reacting to a child in danger, let’s you know she is no softy.

Heart Tonic and Nervine

Leonorus is a fantastic heart tonic, relaxing to not only smooth and skeletal muscle, but the cardiac muscle itself. As most bitters tend to be, she is a great mover of energy but especially so when ‘stuck energy’, specifically in the heart/chest region, accompany the symptom picture. She helps ease anxiety and tension by gently but powerfully relaxing and moving energy downwards. This downward shift in energy can be utilized for easing constipation, certain types of headaches and as a general way to clear tension in the body.

Mover of pain, Woman nourisher

Useful from menarche to menopause, motherwort is broadly acting and widely applicable. For women having painful periods with accompanying cramps, eased by cool or cold, will often find a cup of the strong infusion or a dropperful or two of the fresh plant tincture to soothe their pain and with time may find a gentle easing of their overall cycle pattern. The infused oil makes a great belly rub for uterine woes as well as a general pain reliever for overused muscles or for people who hold tension in their muscles.

As an ally for Women going through menopause, her cooling nature can often bring much needed relief to hot, anxious night sweats as well as heart palpitations and hot flashes. As mentioned earlier, I find Motherwort most helpful when anxiety and feelings of stagnant or stuck energy are accompanying the picture.

Yin balancer, Feminine essence

Photo courtesy of 7Song

While motherwort has been, and certainly still is, a wonderful ally for women of all ages, she can also be safely, and most importantly, effectively used by men. I have used her numerous times for anxiety in men, especially when the issues stem around the ‘heart’, be it the physical or emotional. When I had crushing pains, like a weight on my heart and chest, I found 20 drops of motherwort to unravel the tension and send the energy down and out of my body and this seems to be the case with a number of others. Bitter herbs are said to be cooling and to slow down metabolic processes and that’s exactly what she does. When your heart is racing, palpitating or you find yourself clutching your chest out of anxiety or fear, try motherwort.

When healthy we all carry with us masculine and feminine energies. In perpetual dance these energies balance our bodies and minds, yin and yang, soft and hard. Sometimes our energy gets out of balance, our feminine essence gets lost or suppressed. Here you will often find Motherwort excel at addressing these issues, raising our yinny feminine energy and most importantly, helping to balance it. When you need support but don’t know where to begin, try some motherwort. When you need a mother in a bottle, a stern protectrice, try some motherwort. When your inner woman, your feminine essence, has fallen on the dance floor, is being pushed down, beaten down or just can’t seem to support herself anymore, try a bit of motherwort. And when you want to experience a beautiful, abundant and bitterly mothering plant, try some motherwort.



  2 Responses to “Motherwort”

  1. Beautifully written and illustrated, Mario. Any negatives about motherwort if there are hypo-thyroid issues?

  2. Thank you Ellen!
    There doesn’t seem to be much in the literature (unlike with lemon balm) and it hasn’t come up yet in my practice. However, hypothyroidism is energetically considered a deficiency and a condition where you would typically want to warm up and stimulate a person. Leonorus is cooling, metabolically slowing and general used to cool off hot conditions, the opposite of hypothyroid. So while it might not directly influence thyroid hormones or factors in hypothyroid it is unlikely to be the right remedy, constitutionally and energetically speaking. That said, if I truly felt it indicated in a person with hypothyroid issues I might consider it in formula with other warming and stimulating constitutionally appropriate herbs.

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