Motherwort is a tall, skunky smelling perennial herb native to central Asia. It grows about 2-3 feet (approx. .75-1 meters) and has spiked, maple-shaped leaves. This herb is now naturalized throughout Europe and America, and can be found as a weed along roadsides and in wooded areas.
Motherwort has been traditionally used as a heart tonic and is still used by modern herbalists to ease slight palpitations and strengthen the heartbeat.
This herb acts as a gentle sedative and antispasmodic, and is especially effective in treating premenstrual stress and tension.
In addition to easing premenstrual tension, this herb stimulates the uterus and can be used as an emmanogogue for late periods, and as a remedy for painful periods. It should not, however, be used if heavy bleeding is a concern.
Due to the oxytocic nature of this plant, it should NEVER be used during pregnancy. Hemorrhage due to miscarriage can result from its use during pregnancy, and therefore, should not be used as an herbal abortifacient.
For irregular menstrual cycle, tea made from the leaves can be taken 2-3 times a day for the three days preceding expected onset of menstruation.
The active chemicals in this herb include alkaloids (esp. L-stachydine), an iridoid (leonurine), flavonoids, caffeic acid, and tannins.