I’ve always had a particular fondness for Leonurus cardiaca, the botanical name for the otherwise christened Motherwort. It means “lion heart.”
Motherwort is a perennial herb that comes back strong and faithful every year. According to the Doctrine of Signatures, the way a plant grows — its habits and characteristics — give valuable clues about the plant’s medicinal benefits. I find the Doctrine of Signatures right on point about this herb.
The blossoms of Motherwort are little pink furry fluffs clustered along the aerial stems. They look soft, sweet and tender, but they have a prickly, spiky edge. The sharply pointed leaves of motherwort are very soft and almost furry to touch. But if you grab onto the blossoming stem without caution you’re reminded that, like lion’s teeth, this plant means business.
Motherwort seems to have an affinity for hollow organs like the heart, prostate and the uterus. It’s a wonderful cardiac tonic for arrhythmias, congestive heart failure and to help regulate the blood pressure. It is also used for congested lungs, inflamed prostate and as an emmenagogue to help regulate the menstrual cycle. Motherwort is also a nervine, useful for soothing the savage beast of anxiety, insomnia and nervousness. According to the old herbalists like Culpepper and Martha Grieve, Motherwort is especially useful in ‘female weakness, allaying nervous irritability and inducing quiet and passivity of the whole nervous system.’
While I don’t view women as all a-twitter (except on the internet), I have seen this amazing herb help calm and reduce anxiety during childbirth and help bring focus during the postpartum period. It has, in a sense, grounded women in their courage of heart when they need it. This herb is outwardly soft, but at the core is a powerful warrior that calmly helps strengthen emotional and physical ailments of the heart.
Leonurus cardiaca. Doesn’t that just say it all?