Motherwort. Motherwort herb

Motherwort. Motherwort herb

Motherwort. Motherwort herb

Specification & Spread

Motherwort herb — herba leonuri
Cardiac motherwort (common motherwort) — Leonurus cardiaca L.
Quinquelobate motherwort — Leonurus quinquelobatus Gilib. ( = L. villosus Desf. ex Spreng.)
Labiate family – Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Other names: lion’s-ear, Leonurus.

It is a quite large perennial herbaceous plants with 30 to 150 cm tall, with a tetrahedral, pubescent, branched stem (Fig. 8.2).
The crosswise leaves are opposite, petiolate, dark green, gradually decreasing towards the top of the stem; the lower ones are ovoid or almost round in shape, digitipartite or palmatisected on 5-7 large-toothed segments, the upper (in the inflorescence) – three-lobed or solid. The flowers are small, gathered in false whorls, located in the axils of the upper leaves and forming spike-shaped thyrsus at the ends of the stems or branches.
The corolla is double-lipped, with a three-lobed lower lip, pink in color, up to 1.2 cm long.
The calyx is tubular-bell-shaped, with 5 awl-shaped teeth, of which 2 lower ones are bent outwards. The fruit – cenobium, remaining in the cup and consisting of four nut shares.

It blooms from June to autumn.
The stem of cardiac motherwort outside the inflorescence is pubescent only along the ribs and the calyx is almost naked, and at motherwort a five-lobed stem is densely and softly pubescent along the entire length and the hairy calyx.

Spreading. Both species are found almost throughout the entire European part of the country (much less frequently in the north). Quinquelobate motherwort also grows in the south of Western Siberia.

Habitat. On vacant lots (hence the name of the plant), in ravines, along roads, in yards. Sometimes it forms thickets on the site of the former buildings. Motherwort is cultivated as a perennial crop in many specialized farms of medicinal plants. The possible culture is in the garden plots.


Motherwort herb contains:

  • flavonoid glycosides – rutin, quinqulosis, cosinein, quercitrin, hyperoside, quercimemerin,
  • tannins (up to 2.5%),
  • iridoids (augol, augoside and haliridoside),
  • bitter glycosides with steroid skeleton and
  • nitrogen bases (choline, stachydrin).

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

Harvesting. The herb is harvested in the phase of budding and the beginning of flowering, before the flowering of the lower floral verticils begins (in June – August). Cut the upper parts of shoots up to 40 cm long and with a stem thickness of not more than 0.5 cm with knives, sickles or pruners.

Security measures. You can not pull out plants with roots. Compliance with the rules of harvesting allows the use of thickets 3-5 years in a row, after which it is necessary to give them a «rest» for 1-2 years.

Drying. It is dried in barns, in attics or under sheds, spread out in a thin layer up to 10 cm and stir occasionally. The heat drying is carried out at temperatures up to 50-60 ºС.
Storage. It is stored in a dry, cool, darkened, ventilated area. In pharmacies – in boxes, in warehouses – in bales.

Whole raw materials

Hand-picked herb: the tops of stems are up to 40 cm long with flowers and leaves.
The stem is tetrahedral, hollow, up to 0.5 cm thick.
The leaves are opposite, the lower three-five-lobed or separate, in the inflorescences are three-lobed or lanceolate, serrated or entire, with a wedge-shaped base, up to 14 cm long, up to 10 cm wide.

The inflorescences are spicose, cut; the flowers and buds are gathered in whorls of 10-18 (20) in the axils of the leaves.
The calyx is tubular-bell-shaped with five awl-pointed teeth, conical and prickly. The corolla is up to 0.12 cm long, two-lipped, longer than the calyx, the upper lip is entire, the lower lip is three-lobed; there are 4stamens; the ovary is upper.
The stems, leaves, cups of flowers are pubescent with hairs.
The colour of the stems is greyish green, the leaves are dark green, the sepals are green, the rims are dirty pink or pinkish purple.
The smell is weak. The taste is bitter.

Herb mechanized harvesting: the pieces of stems, leaves and inflorescences. The stem is often longitudinally split, up to 20 cm long, up to 0.5 cm thick. The morphological features of the raw material, colour, smell and taste are similar to those of hand-picked herb.

Milled raw materials

The pieces of stems, leaves and inflorescences passing through a sieve with holes of 7 mm diameter.
The colour is greyish green. The smell is weak. The taste is bitter.


The pieces of stems, stalks and flowers passing through a sieve with 2 mm holes.
The colour is from greyish-green to brownish-green with numerous whitish, yellowish-white, greyish-white, pink-violet splashes.
The smell is weak. The taste is bitter.

Distinctive features of various types of motherwort

Glaucous motherwort -Leonurus glaucescens (Bunge) is a plant about 100 cm high, grey-blue from short pressed hairs. The inflorescence is long, the lower whorls are spaced, the calyx is narrowly conical, the corolla is light pink, the entire lower lip. It grows throughout Russia.

Tartarian motherwort – Leonurus tataricus L. is a plant 50-100 cm high. It is pubescent only in the upper part of the stem with long hairs. The calyx is wide. The corolla is pinkish-purple with a solid lower lip. It grows in Western and Eastern Siberia.

Siberian motherwort — Leonurus sibiricus L. is a plant 30-60 cm tall. It is pubescent with long hairs. The calyx is correct and bell-shaped. The corolla is pink with helmet upper lip. It grows in Western and Eastern Siberia. All three species differ from medicinal species of motherwort by a deeper dissection of the stem leaves into narrow lobes.

Black hoarhound – Ballota nigra L., growing in the same places as motherwort, is also not allowed to stocking. Its stems are short-pubescent, the hairs are directed downwards. The leaves are whole, round-ovate or ovate-lanceolate, petioles are short, the corollas are dirty pink.

Properties and application

The pharmacological properties of motherwort

Motherwort preparations have:

  • sedative properties
  • lower blood pressure
  • slow down the heart rate.

It has a beneficial effect on:

  • carbohydrate and fat metabolism,
  • normalize the indicators of protein metabolism.

Application of motherwort

Motherwort herb is an old traditional remedy. Motherwort was studied at the Department of Pharmacology of the Tomsk Medical Institute, prof. N.V. Vershinin.
The preparations on the nature of the action are similar to valerian preparations.

Motherwort preparations are used as a sedative when:

  • increased nervous excitability,
  • cardiovascular neurosis,
  • hypertension,
  • coronary heart disease,
  • thyrotoxicosis,
  • insomnia,
  • vascular dystonia,
  • neurosis.

It is also assigned when:

  • neuroses of the gastrointestinal tract,
  • flatulence,
  • spastic pains.

It is not to be used in case of individual intolerance, pregnancy and lactation, it is not recommended to use its single drugs in the case of bradycardia and in case of hypotension (low blood pressure).