The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!


Scientific Names


  • Leonurus cardiaca L.
  • Labiatae
  • Mint family

Common Names

  • Lion’s ear
  • Lion’s tail
  • Roman motherwort
  • Throw-wort

Back to Top

Parts Usually Used

Flowering tops, leaves
Back to Top

Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Motherwort is a softly hairy perennial plant 3-5 feet high; the rootstock produces several erect, branched, square, hollow, grooved stems, often tinged with red-violet. The opposite, downy leaves are 3 to 7 lobed and sharply incised. Axillary whorls of bristly, two-lipped, red-purple, pink or white flowers appear from June to September.

Unlike most plants in the mint family, motherwort has leaves that are strongly cleft or divided, not simple. The tiny pinkish flowers with furry upper lips are in whorls, in leaf axils makes a long leafy flower spike.
Back to Top

Where Found

Found mainly in the northern part of the United States and all over Europe, in waste places, vineyards, and along fences and paths. Native to Europe and the Far East, naturalized in other countries.
Back to Top

Medicinal Properties

Antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, calmative, cardiac, emmenagogue, hepatic, laxative, nervine, stomachic, tonic, uterine stimulant
Back to Top

Biochemical Information

Bitter principle, bitter glycosides, leonurin, alkaloids (including stachydrine), tannin, essential oil, resin, organic acids, volatile oil, vitamin A
Back to Top

Legends, Myths and Stories

Orientals ascribe to motherwort the power of prolonged life. According to Chinese legend, an emperor who at age seven assumed the throne was alarmed by predictions that he would not live to double that age. After an extensive search for a remedy to prolong life, he chose a brew made from motherwort. Drinking this every day, he lived past age 70. Another legend tells of a youth banished for a minor crime to a valley where the only water supply was in contact with a large amount of motherwort plants. Because he drank this water daily, the youth lived three centuries.

This herb probably derived its name from the fact that it has been used medicinally to prevent miscarriage.
Back to Top


Motherwort is most commonly used for nervous heart problems, heart flutters, cardiac edema, and for stomach gas and cramps. It has also been given for menopausal problems, shortness of breath, goiter, cramps and delayed or stopped menses, PMS, menopause, and congestion of respiratory passages. It has been of benefit too in cases of neuritis, neuralgia, and rheumatism. Said to be a sedative, Hypotensive, used for insomnia, sciatica, spasms, kills worms, fainting, convulsions, chest colds, fevers, aids in childbirth, and stomach aches. In general, it can be used like fragrant valerian.
Back to Top

Formulas or Dosages

Infusion: steep 1 tsp. tops or leaves in 1/2 cup water. Take 1 cup a day, unsweetened, a mouthful at a time.

Decoction: boil 1 tsp. tops or leaves in 1 pint water until 1 cup liquid remains. Take 1/3 cup morning, noon, evening.

Cold extract: soak 2 tsp. tops or leaves in 1 cup cold water for 8-10 hours. Take 1 cup a day.

Tincture: take 9-15 drops in water, 3 or more times a day as needed.
Back to Top

Nutrient Content

Vitamin A
Back to Top


Contact with the plant may cause dermatitis in susceptible individuals.

Do not use during pregnancy, it is a uterine stimulant. It may be used during labor and delivery. Seek professional supervision if pregnant or a heart condition is present.
Back to Top


Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

Buy It! Culpeper’s Complete Herbal & English Physician: Updated With 117 Modern Herbs, by Nicholas Culpeper, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1990, (reprint of 1814)

Buy It! The Herbalist Almanac, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1988, fifth printing, 1994

Buy It! Earl Mindell’s Herb Bible, by Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D., Simon & Schuster/Fireside, Rockefeller Center 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020

Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Herbal Gardening, compiled by The Robison York State Herb Garden, Cornell Plantations, Matthaei Botanical Gardens of the University of Michigan, University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley., Pantheon Books, Knopf Publishing Group, New York, 1994, first edition

Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! Secrets of the Chinese Herbalists, by Richard Lucas, Parker Publishing Company, Inc., West Nyack, NY, 1987.

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

Buy It! An Instant Guide to Medicinal Plants, by Pamela Forey and Ruth Lindsay, Crescent Books (January 27, 1992).

Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

Buy It! The Magic of Herbs in Daily Living, by Richard Lucas, Parker Publishing Co. (1988).

Back to Top