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4 Benefits of Motherwort Tincture for Women of All Ages

beautiful mint family flower offers motherwort benefits
by Corinna Wood

Open up a wise woman medicine chest and chances are, you'll find motherwort tincture.

Motherwort is a calmative that benefits the heart, the circulatory system and supports various women's health concerns over menstruating, menopausal, and post-menopausal years.

She's a fast-acting herbal ally that’s easy to identify in the wild or to cultivate in your garden. 

And making your own potent motherwort tincture is super simple—you'll be amazed how quick and easy it is. Medicine making the wise woman way.

I'm excited for you to get to know this superstar herb—one of my favorites for women’s health.

Table of contents

What is motherwort used for?

infographic motherwort benefits uses tinctureKnown as a calmative and nervine, motherwort has long been a beloved herb for soothing anxiety.

Specific motherwort uses include supporting the heart and alleviating common issues during menstruation and menopause. 

Leonurine, the active compound in motherwort, is easily extracted into water and alcohol, so motherwort extracts well as a tincture.

That's fortunate, as I gotta say—given the highly bitter taste of motherwort—I certainly prefer to take motherwort tincture over tea.

Botanically, motherwort is known as Leonurus cardiaca which translates to lion-hearted!

As her botanical name suggests, motherwort benefits the heart. 

And not just the physical heart. Think of motherwort as a holistic medicine for centering—when you need the courage of the lion to do what needs to be done. 

As Susun Weed says, motherwort gives you a little “mom’s shoulder to lean on!”

Such it is with motherwort—or Leonurus cardiaca (actually, I like to just call her mom for short). 

Despite her name, motherwort isn't just—or even primarily—for mothers (see contraindications). Motherwort benefits women at all ages and stages. Let’s take a quick look at these benefits.

4 Motherwort benefits for all ages & stages

Motherwort is highly indicated for these four common health concerns for women during menstruating, menopausal and post-menopausal years:

1. Menstrual cramps

Many a day I was working at my herbal business and found myself clutching my belly or back with the ache of menstrual cramps.

With just a few droppers full of motherwort tincture, within half an hour I was breathing deeply, centered and focused back at the tasks at hand.

2. Hot flashes

Now that I’m in menopause, I know what my elders meant about needing to peel off the layers!

Taking motherwort tincture at the onset of hot flashes helps to ease and cool the intensity. Or take motherwort tincture before bed—and if you wake up during the night—to reduce night sweats.

3. Hormonal-related mood swings

Yup, this little bit of mom-to-lean-on is a lovely ally for those hormonal-related mood swings. Especially the ones in the rage direction, if you know what I mean?

Taken in the moment, she helps you calm and center. Now, this is not squelching your connection with your feelings. Just supporting you in moving forward from a clearer place.

4. Heart tonic

Motherwort is classified as a cardiotonic and nervine. She calms a racing heart. By slowing heart rate and reducing blood pressure, motherwort benefits the physical heart. Support motherwort’s benefits to the heart by pairing her with hawthorn.

Having a mild sedative effect, motherwort benefits the emotional heart as well. During moments of anxiety when the heart rate increases, motherwort soothes the nervous system and relieves the tensions that can accompany stress.  

Speaking of hot flashes and mood swings, you may be interested in my theory about how those hot flashes—and mood swings—help us come home to ourselves and our power.
See more in my article on how menopausal mood swings became my ally.

Motherwort contraindications

Motherwort supports the uterus by increasing blood flow and activating the uterine muscles, which is part of the medicinal action and motherwort’s benefit for menstrual distress.

However, because of the increased blood flow to the uterus, motherwort is contraindicated for menopausal women with extremely heavy bleeding, also known as flooding. (Not sure whether you have flooding? That would be like soaking through several pads an hour!)

Motherwort’s stimulation of the uterus and uterine contractions also makes her incompatible during pregnancy—especially early pregnancy when the risk of miscarriage tends to be higher. Midwives do appreciate motherwort's support for uterine contractions during labor.

Motherwort is also contraindicated for most people with hypothyroidism, and those taking heart medications.

Can I take motherwort daily?

making motherwort tincture in a glass jarA fast-acting tonic and calmative, motherwort is generally used in acute situations—to calm the nerves and slow the heart rate during moments of increased anxiety, or to address menstruation/menopausal concerns.

Taking 20-30 drops of motherwort tincture usually takes the edge and intensity off cramps, hot flashes and hormonal mood swings within a half hour.

You can also experiment with taking motherwort preventatively—in your menstrual years, it will be most effective taken in the last two weeks of your cycle, from ovulation to menstruation.

In general, my preferred strategy for all three of these hormonal-related issues, is to bring in vitex as a long-term ally. 

Vitex works through the pituitary gland, which in turn controls the ovarian hormones. So it’s slow-acting, and also a powerful hormonal regulator.

I like to use both—vitex on a daily basis, and motherwort for acute situations.

For more on vitex, see my article on wise women healing naturally with herbs. 

Harvesting motherwort

Easy to grow in a garden, motherwort often finds her way into the paths and new beds. 

It's not unusual for one motherwort in my garden to grow so verdantly that it makes dozens of baby plants the very next year—so sweet with their jagged-edge leaves, and beautifully delicate pink flowers ringed round the stalk.

Yes, she's in the mint family—relax, though, she’s not like peppermint. Motherwort spreads by seed, not by creeping roots.

Note that unlike most other mints, motherwort is not aromatic.

Like most mints, the optimum window for peak potency is in the early flowering stage. Where I live in the Blue Ridge mountains, that's usually in May.

Harvest the top third of the plant including the buds and flowers and connecting leaves and stems.

How to identify motherwort

    • Square stem (like all plants in the mint family!)
    • Opposite leaves—meaning the leaves alternate sides of the stem
    • Light purple double lipped flower
    • Maple-shaped leaves

As you know, it's essential to positively identify any plants you're harvesting for food or medicine. First things first: Grab my free guide on 3 Poisonous Plants to Watch Out For (pdf) so you can stay safe on your herbal adventures.

Making motherwort tincture

I consider motherwort tincture a staple in wise woman herbal medicine. I don't like to leave home without a bottle of mom tucked into my first aid bag.

Ready to make your own? It's easy!

To make your own potent motherwort tincture from fresh motherwort plants, just follow these 3 simple steps:

  1. Stuff a jar full of fresh plant material and pour 100 proof vodka to the top
  2. Cap it and let it sit for 6 weeks
  3. Strain out the plant material and the tincture will be almost black

Motherwort, a fierce mama herb for you to lean on

Motherwort is the fierce mama herb you can lean on. You definitely want to include her on your medicine shelf.

Let’s recap these key motherwort benefits and uses for the next time the need arises for her calmative properties . . . 

Motherwort supports women in relieving menstrual cramps, reducing hot flashes, and lessening hormonal mood swings.

Plus she regulates blood pressure and calms a rapid heartbeat

To engage motherwort’s benefits energetically as well, you might pair your dose of tincture with visualization...

Breathe slowly and deeply as you picture her lavender double-lipped flowers glorious in the sunshine, her roots traveling through the earth and entwining with your own.

Imagine the earth’s support beneath you and the lionhearted mother’s support behind you. 

And while you're connecting with the plants, just remember . . . wild plants make wild women!


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