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Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) is an herbaceous perennial plant that belongs to the mint family. This herb is native to Eurasia, but it can be found cultivated all around the world as an herbal remedy. Motherwort is most commonly used to treat heart diseases and women’s disorders. In the wild, they can be found easily in woodlands, meadows, riverbanks, fields, and even along roadsides.
Edibility and culinary use
Unlike other herbs in the mint family, motherwort doesn’t taste or smell particularly good. In fact, it actually tastes bitter. Despite this, motherwort leaves and flowers are still widely consumed for its health benefits. They’re typically brewed to make tea. Motherwort tea is typically flavored with honey, sugar, ginger, or lemon to make it more palatable. The flowers may also be used to flavor soups. These flowers complement lentil soup and split pea soup nicely. Lastly, beer enthusiasts may use the flowers to flavor their homemade craft beer.
For centuries, motherwort has been used to treat irregular heart beat, high blood pressure, and atherosclerosis. Consuming this herb also has a calming effect that’s good for relieving stress and anxiety. Additionally, this herb is incredibly good for maintaining female reproductive health. Consuming this plant can balance the hormones responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle and menopausal symptoms. It can also speed up recovery after childbirth and treat postpartum depression.
Motherwort also possesses anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and analgesic properties. Above all, it can boost appetite, relieve headaches, improve thyroid health, relieve symptoms of insomnia, boost kidney functions, treat excess flatulence, reduce water retention, and help breathing problems.
Aside from being a popular herbal medicine, motherwort is also a great ornamental plant. Its pink, purple, or blue flowers are a lovely addition to a garden. These tall, spiky flowers are very attractive to bees. So, growing motherwort in your garden can help other plants thrive. Additionally, this perennial herb is easy to grow.
Motherwort thrives best in moist, rich soil. But, this plant is very forgiving, it can grow nicely in almost every type of soil and all sorts of light condition. Just make sure to water it frequently to keep the soil moist. But beware, as a self-sowing plant, it may take over your entire garden if you don’t control its growth. Cutting its flowers as well as mowing the plant regularly can help restrict its growth.
Make sure to clear out any weeds and loosen up the soil before sowing motherwort seeds. Sow the seeds indoors in early spring and cover them with ¼” of soil. They will germinate in 7 to 14 days. Transfer them outside in early summer once the seedlings are around 4” to 6” in size. Give 1’ space between each plant and water them every 2 or 3 days until they’re mature enough to withstand drier environments.
Overconsumption of motherwort may cause diarrhea and stomach irritation. People with sensitive skin should avoid touching this plant since skin contact may result in rashes and increased sensitivity to sunlight. This plant promotes blood-thinning which can increase the risk of bleeding. So, avoid consumption at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Despite having been used to help pregnant women for centuries, pregnant women actually should avoid consuming motherwort. This plant can stimulate the uterus and cause uterine bleeding as well as miscarriage.
Despite its unpleasant flavor, motherwort has remained a popular herbal remedy for thousands of years. With its numerous health benefits, it’s not hard to see why. Motherwort is effective in curing many ailments and maintaining your overall health. It even gives more valuable contributions beyond its healing properties. Its unique plant structure and lovely flowers are also a beautiful and useful addition to any garden.
Writen by Cornelia Tjandra
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