Motherwort (Yi Mu Cao)

Botanical Name: Western: Leonurus cardiac. Eastern: Leonurus artemisia.

Motherwort is the plant best known for treating female disorders, hence its name “motherwort.” Its Chinese name, yi mu cao, translates as “benefits the mother herb.” Motherwort treats conditions from pregnancy, menses, to menopause. It is also famous for calming nerves and giving strength to the heart. It is an effective and gentle heart tonic herb.

Below is an overview of motherwort, combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of motherwort.

Take FULL advantage of the healing powers of this herb!

Motherwort (Yi Mu Cao)

What are the benefits of Motherwort? How can it be used? Get Eastern and Western perspectives about how and why Motherwort (Yi Mu Cao) works. Get recipes, gardening tips, insights, and much, much more.


Western Name: Motherwort

Also Known As: Throw-wort, Lions ear, Lion’s tail, Heartwort

Organs/Systems: Uterus, Cardiovascular System, Reproductive System

Key Actions: Uterine Tonic, Cardio Tonic, Nervine, Emmenagogue, Sedative, Diuretic, Diaphoretic, Antispasmodic, Astringent, Anti-inflammatory

Medicinal Uses: Lowers blood pressure, emotionally broken heart, female reproductive issues especially perimenopausal, depression, anxiety, menstrual cramping, earache, insomnia, contractions in childbirth, balances hormones, palpitations, chest pain.


Pin Yin: Yi Mu Cao (The seed is Chong Wei Zi.)

Also Known As: N/A

Meridians: Heart, Liver, Bladder

Key Actions: Invigorates Blood, Regulates Menses, Reduces Masses caused by Blood Stasis, Promotes Urination,Reduces Swelling, Cools the Liver and Brightens the Eyes

Medicinal Uses: Cramps, abdominal masses, infertility, postpartum abdominal pain, acute systemic edema (especially if accompanied by blood in the urine), lowers blood pressure, hypertension, chest pain, palpitations, nervous disorders, longevity, expels the afterbirth, stress, insomnia, anxiety.

Basic Habitat/Botany:

Motherwort is an herbaceous perennial. Similar to other plants in the mint family, it has square stems with short hairs. It has opposite leaves with serrated margins and the flowers appear in leaf acils on the upper part of the plant and have three lobed bracts.The leaf structure is very unique, and the purple/blueish flowers are lovely. Motherwort blooms in July/August and grows up to four or five feet tall. It has very little scent.
Motherwort is native to Eurasia and is now naturalized throughout Southern Canada and the Northeastern United States. Often considered a weed, it likes to grow near streams and rivers.

Parts Most Frequently Used: Fresh or Dried Leaves (aerial parts), Flowers, Stems, Seeds

Flavors/Temps: Acrid, Very Bitter, Slightly Cold

Caution: Motherwort is generally considered safe when taken internally in proper recommended doses. Some people may experience diarrhea, upset stomach, or uterine bleeding. Caution during pregnancy, as it lowers blood pressure and can stimulate the flow of blood.

Key Constituents: Leonurine, Alkaloids, Flavonoids, Tannins, Volatile oils, and Vitamin A.

History/Folklore: Motherwort’s name derives from the herbs strength in treating many female issues. Historically it has been used in China to prevent pregnancy. The Ancient Greeks gave it to woman to reduce anxiety. The herb’s common name Lion’s Ear comes from the leaf’s lion tail shape, as well as the plant’s ability to treat the heart. There is an old tale of a town whose waters flowed through banks of motherwort which caused the residents to lived to be 130 years old.

The 17th century English herbalist, Nicholas Culpepper, used the herb for treating depression. The herb was also often used in Europe to help treat cattle from a variety of diseases.

Unlike other herbs in the mint family, motherwort is a bitter herb without the fragrance and flavor of many mint family plants. The taste is often softened by the use of honey, lemon, or other herbs to help balance the herb’s strong bitter flavor.

Motherwort contains heart-healthy flavonoids and glycosides. It helps improve circulation and regulate the heartbeat. It is especially useful for those who are anxious and carry a lot of tension in their body. As a heart tonic it is used to treat palpitations, mild heart irregularity, hypertension, and to strengthen the heart.

It is an herb that is useful for treating the emotional body in times of grief or sorrow. The plant’s common name, Lion’s heart, hints at this function. The herb is known for lending strength to those who are experiencing intense vulnerability and stress related symptoms.

The compound, leonurine, found in motherwort, is known to help relax blood vessel walls helping to lower blood pressure and improve heart rate. This same compound also promotes uterine contractions that can both encourage childbirth and promote menstruation.

In China, motherwort is considered the premier herb for strengthening the heart and promoting longevity. It is recognized for its blood moving and cleansing ability. This includes the ability to reduce masses in the blood that can cause unwanted clotting and heart attacks or strokes. It is also often used for treating a wide range of female disorders caused by hormonal shifts or blood stagnation.

Motherwort seeds can also be used medicinally. They are slightly sweet and cold. They are generally used to break up blood clotting or masses and are considered more astringing and tonifying than the fresh or dried herb.

Motherwort has a long history as a guard against dark spells or repelling negative energies and bad luck. In occult worlds the herb is said to have powers that work through energies to help heal and exorcise evil energies or entities. It is valued as a highly protective herb and is associated with immortality and spiritual healing.

Another member of the mint family, L. leonurus, is a different species, native to South Africa. It is also sometimes called lion’s tail, and is not to be confused with motherwort (Leonurus cardiac or Leonurus artemisia). This African relative is sometimes also called wild dagga, and is used for among other healing properties, its mild psychoactive compounds that have a similar, but milder, effect as cannabis.

Motherwort flowers have been added to beers to add flavoring.

Want Motherwort (Yi Mu Cao)?

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Member of Mint Family

Member of the Mint Family

Motherwort is a member of the mint family, so it has the square stem of the other mint family plants.

Lower Lipid Levels

TCM research has shown motherwort assists in lowering blood lipid levels, aiding a healthy cardio system.
Fun fact!

Strength of Will

Motherwort is given to people to strengthen their will and sense of purpose.

Take FULL advantage of the healing powers of this herb!

What are the benefits of Motherwort (Yi Mu Cao)? How can it be used? Get Eastern and Western perspectives about how and why Motherwort works. Get recipes, gardening tips, insights, and much, much more.

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ATENCIÓN: Todo el material proporcionado en este sitio web es sólo con fines informativos o educativos. No es sustituto del consejo de su profesional de la salud o médico. Esté sano. Sea feliz. Siéntase completo. Sea libre.

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