Cut and collect the top third of the stems, including the leaves, flowers, and buds. 17th centaury herbalist the famous Culpepper wrote, "There is no better herb to take melancholy vapors from the heart... and make a merry, cheerful soul." The ideal time to harvest motherwort is in early to midsummer, just as the plant is beginning to flower. At this stage in the plant’s growth cycle, the plant has put out lots of leafy growth. Blissed Zone 408,726 views. COPYRIGHT © 2020 ASK THE EXPERTS LLC. Sometimes, white powdery fungus can develop on the plant foliage, hindering plant growth and vigor. While it is helpful to keep this herb watered well while it is young, once established, it is hardy and drought tolerant. Strain and store in an airtight container in a cool dark location. What gives the therapeutic properties to Motherwort? The plant comes in many names including Common motherwort, throw-wort, lion’s ear and lion’s tail. To make any of these infusions, begin by preparing the herb. Comments. This medicinal herb has a reputation for reducing anxiety, feelings of restlessness, and stress. Motherwort benefits include help with anxiety, high blood pressure, menopausal symptoms and may even be effective in preventing cancer Motherwort may be consumed standalone, or mixed with tea. To use, harvest the aboveground parts when the plant is in full bloom, which should be anytime between late June and August. PLANT. It is also a common weed along roadsides and in neglected gardens. They can be sown directly to the garden area. Motherwort is very forgiving, growing well in all light conditions, and most soils. The glycerite will keep for one to two years. Motherwort is also an interesting herb for the ornamental landscape. Considered a weed by some, you won’t find cultivated varieties available for purchase. It is a member of the Lamiaceae family, and similar to many of its minty relatives, it is a vigorous grower that can sometimes be considered invasive. It also has sent up flower stalks but the flower buds are still young. Growing and Using Motherwort - Duration: 10:43. Herbalist Tammi Hartung reminds us that the very name motherwort is indicative of the healing nature of this herb. Motherwort is easy to grow from seed or transplants, or by division. Motherwort is a perennial plant that is best known as an herb that helps the heart and women’s disorders. Let this sit for 4 to 6 weeks in a dark cupboard, shaking daily to agitate the mixture. Motherwort tincture is an herbal medicine that is made by dissolving extracts from the motherwort plant in alcohol. They should take about a week to sprout, and strong seedlings can be thinned to 2-3 feet apart. Gardener’s Path and Ask the Experts, LLC assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Classification . Once your motherwort has dried fully, which should take no more than a few hours, remove the leaves and flowers from the stems, and store them in a tightly sealed glass jar in a dark pantry. The dried plant is then made into a tincture, or stored and used as a tea. But I had never grown motherwort before, and truthfully, I didn’t have any idea what it looked like, how to harvest it, or how to use it at home. Tincture: The dried aboveground parts of this plant can be made into a tincture and the essential oils can be extracted. Motherwort is categorically a mint that has a very bitter taste. Motherwort also self sows easily. The plant produces clusters of pink to purple flowers that rise along prickly sepals, blooming from midsummer through early fall. To prevent self seeding, cut foliage back to 3-5 inches after flowering and before the seeds have a chance to mature. But you can also harvest the large, soft leaves in the pre-flowering stage. It is also used for the absence of menstrual periods, intestinal gas (flatulence), and over-active thyroid (hyperthyroidism). Lucky for me, motherwort is happy to grow most anywhere. Reduce the chances of it getting away from you by cutting back to 3-5 inches after flowering, but before those seeds mature. Motherwort is one of those plants that I had heard of in passing but truthfully didn’t know much about…as soon as I encountered her, I fell head over heels! It should keep for several years in your pantry if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark location. This tends to happen during prolonged periods of drought. You will notice that the leaves suddenly seem to look thin and brown, and you will have to wait until next season to harvest more. A way around this is to create an alcohol tincture and combine that in equal parts to glycerin. Some people apply motherwort directly to the skin for itching and shingles. If you are lucky enough to find a stand, harvest this lovely herb for a wide range of medicinal benefits. A spiky, weedy, clumping perennial herb that can reach up to five feet tall, motherwort is often found growing wild, especially in wet areas such as floodplains and riverbanks, or along streams. It seemed to be calling my name. The process of making herbal infused vinegar is very similar to what you would do to create a tincture or glycerite. Fill a jar halfway with dried herb or three-fourths full with fresh. Other common names include throw-wort, lion’s Motherwort Uses & Dosage Leonurus Cardiaca is used in different forms: Tea – 3 cups daily with 1 teaspoon per cup. Tell us your stories in the comments below! In 17th century Europe it was used for heart palpitations, difficult labor, and promoting menstruation. Motherwort Uses. 11:10 . Motherwort’s use in pregnancy is specific; since it is an emmenagogue, it puts the pregnancy in danger of termination. Seal the bag and place it in the refrigerator for 10 days, checking regularly for moisture and spritzing lightly if the mix becomes dry. Like alcohol, glycerin is a useful medium that may be used to extract and preserve the active chemical compounds of herbs. Motherwort Uses as Heart Medicine. Strain out the solids, and keep in a cool, dark, dry spot. It has many properties that are beneficial. Also saying it is “held to be of much use for the trembling of the heart,” he claims this is where the name cardiaca derives from. Motherwort Medicinal uses include helping the heart and women’s disorders. Harvest the aerial parts—leaves, flowers, and stems can be used. Just add 2 tablespoons of a mild biodegradable liquid soap to a gallon of water, and spray off the undersides of the leaves to remove the mites. Groves says motherwort pairs well with lemon balm, another herb indicated for hyperthyroidism, particularly in an herbal formula for treating Graves’ disease. Attempts to control rampant motherwort plants may include improving soil drainage and mowing close to the ground each time the shoots erupt from the soil. This is a great option if you prefer to avoid alcohol, and it has the added benefit of a sweeter taste. You can plant it wherever you have room, whether your chosen location is in full sun or bathed in shade. The genus of motherwort’s botanical name of Leonurus cardiaca, is descriptive of its ragged edged leaves, which resemble the tip of a lion’s tail. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. When I began my studies as an herbalist, I was immediately drawn to wanting to learn more about motherwort. Once I learned to recognize it, I realized it had been lurking around my garden all along! Uses of Motherwort. This way, there is no need to cold stratify your seeds first, as the cold winter weather will take care of this process for you in most growing zones. Some of these links may be affiliate in nature, meaning we earn small commissions if items are purchased. It also spreads via an extensive root system, and roots should be divided each season to prevent a garden takeover! Motherwort is a perennial herb that grows well in zones 4-8. In a separate jar, mix three parts food grade vegetable glycerin with one part water and shake to combine. A great bee forage plant, include motherwort in areas where you want to. Once the seeds are prepped, they can be sown directly into the garden. The flower spike is also thought to bear resemblance to a lion’s tail. Since motherwort grows quickly and spreads via rhizomes, established plants can easily be dug up, divided, and relocated in new areas of the garden. Motherwort inherits its most used common name from the application of use as a plant for pregnancy, birth, motherhood and menopause. Don’t forget your gloves and pruning shears! Amy Jeanroy is an herbalist and professional gardener with several years of experience. Place a lid on the jar, preferably a nonreactive plastic lid, as vinegar will corrode metal. Do not use in pregnancy as it causes uterine contractions. Therefore, theplant is now wild in many regions, although its population isconsidered e… The resulting product is sold as herbal medicine or as a dietary supplement and is available as a loose-leaf tea, as a tincture (concentrated liquid), capsule, tablets, or by injection. The dried parts are also used to make herbal tea. Remove divided roots from the garden to compost, or pot up and give them to friends. Read more about combating powdery mildew here, How to Harvest and Use Stinging Nettle Root, Growing Borage as a Cover Crop and for Green Manure, How to Choose the Right Furniture for Your Small Outdoor Space, How to Control Gray Mold (Botrytis Rot) on Strawberries, How to Keep Kale from Wilting in the Garden, How to Winterize Astilbe Plants: 5 Easy Steps. Motherwort has the ability to act as a galactagogue, meaning it promotes a mother's milk flow. According to Daniel E. Moerman in his book “Native American Ethnobotany,” Native American tribes including the Delaware, Micmac, Mohegan, Shinnecock, and Oklahoma people used an infusion of motherwort as a uterine tonic for women, and it was used by the Cherokee and Iroquois people as a digestive and nervous system support. 30 medicinal plants the Native Americans used on a daily basis - Duration: 11:10. Since motherwort grows quickly and spreads via rhizomes, established plants can easily be dug up, divided, and relocated in new areas of the garden. Strain out the herb. It is also adaptable to most soil types, though moist, rich soil with a slightly alkaline pH of 7.7 is ideal. Divide in spring or fall during dormancy. You may also be able to purchase seeds or plants from local nurseries or farms that specialize in medicinal herbs. A glycerite tincture is very similar to an alcohol-based tincture, except food grade vegetable glycerine is used to make it instead of vodka. Motherwort has been used for centuries to treat conditions related to childbirth. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series. It is a herb in the mint family. DRIED. Remove the pot from the heat, and cover it. Let the jar sit in the pantry for a month, shaking daily. GARDENER'S PATH® IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF ASK THE EXPERTS LLC. The entire herb is harvested after flowering and dried. If you do choose to drink motherwort tea, I recommend combining it with other more pleasant herbs like lemon balm or peppermint, to mask the flavor. This herb is best consumed or tinctured while it’s fresh, but the flowers and leaves can also be dried for later use. Let’s see them. Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) – Illustration. Dosage: Motherwort herb tincture: 2-4 mL three times a day Preliminary research suggests that it can bind to TSH receptors, and prevent the conversion of thyroid hormone T4 to the active form T3, essentially slowing down thyroid function. If powdery mildew develops, remove infected parts of the plant and destroy them. Tip: To hide the bitter taste, you can dilute doses of tincture in tea or water before consuming. Body into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self-Care. Add the motherwort, and allow the water to come back to a boil. Motherwort is found throughout Europe, North America, and Asia, and while some consider it to be an obnoxious weed, others have come to appreciate the many benefits that motherwort offers. To avoid unwanted spread, try growing it in containers or raised beds. The leaf structure is very unique, and the purple/blueish flower is a cool, soothing addition to the garden. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. A way around this is to create an alcohol tincture and combine that in equal parts to glycerin. The final product should look very dark and have a bitter taste. Motherwort has long been used in herbal medicine and as an ornamental plant, and it attracts bees and other pollinators to the garden. Motherwort blooms from mid to late summer and can be harvested anytime. Though motherwort is a hardy perennial that is rarely harmed by pests or disease, there are still a couple of problems to watch out for. If harvesting motherwort yourself, consider using gloves – it can be quite spiky! Cover it up with soil until the hole is filled in and water well. Why not sow the seeds in late fall, allowing the natural winter to stratify them for you? Fresh motherwort can be used as a flavoring for beer, and to make teas. See our TOS for more details. If starting from seed or transplants, it is necessary to cold stratify seeds for a few weeks prior to planting. All parts of this plant, from the stem to the stalk, and leaves to the flowers are used for making herbal powders, extracts, tinctures, and capsules. In ancient China, it was thought to promote longevity. You can treat leaves with a solution of soapy water to get rid of the mites. Motherwort can be brewed as a tea for medicinal purposes, but its intense bitterness makes this a less than pleasant option. The Latin name is derived from the Greek: leon for lion and ouros for tail. Do you have experience growing or using motherwort? Motherwort is a vigorous grower, and care must be taken to ensure that it doesn’t spread more than desired. The motherwort originallycame from Siberia and spread from there to the Western, Northern, andWestern Asian regions. Once the herb has finished flowering, it quickly loses its vitality.  Tea: The dried leaves are also commonly brewed into a tea. In Europe, the motherwort was often cultivatedin peasant and monastery gardens as a medicinal plant. Common Motherwort plants; Common Motherwort emerging in spring; Common Motherwort in late fall; Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County.