Ah, beautiful green leafed Motherwort~ with her tiny, lovely pink flowers which are both soft and prickly in their form. I love the way the leaves change their design as the plant grows taller in these summer days…transforming as they rise, yet always sharp in their stance. Allowing for good boundaries! Leonurus cardiaca is her botanical name- “Lion-hearted”, for those moments we can use such energy in our lives. We nibble her bitter leaves as we process her for medicine, grateful for her strength, heart-centered energy and reminder that we can be tender even as we stand in our own personal integrity and essence. The Latin name of this plant, Leonurus cardiac, means “Lion-hearted”- perfect for the times we need to call on our own lion and lioness hearts! The dark green leaves and tiny, soft pink flowers, with their spiky seedpods, are gathered fresh from the gardens on a sunny summer morning and immediately processed into a bitter, cooling extract.
Motherwort can also be read as “herb (plant) of the mother”, the suffix wort from the Old English wyrt meaning plant. Native to the southeastern part of Europe and Eurasia, Motherwort traveled to North America and became a favorite of bees and other pollinators. Motherwort is a marvelous woman’s herb, as it assists in strengthening the female reproductive system, helping with menstrual cramping, pre-menstrual tension, menopausal heat flashes, hormonal emotional upheaval, toning the uterus after birth and more. I have found this woman’s herb helpful from a young girls first menstrual cycle through the changes of time, in birthing, mothering and all through menopause and beyond!
Not only women feel the benefits of Motherwort. She is a powerful ally in times of change and when feeling unsettled, along with moments of overwhelm and anxiety. She settles, calms, and centers, reminding us of our own courage. In times of vulnerability, high stress, discord or simply needing to set and maintain healthy boundaries, think of this dark green wild beauty-Motherwort!
As for the heart- Motherwort offers support to our hearts, cooling and relaxing anxiety and tension, improving heart function, calming irregular or racing heart beat along with helping to protect the heart. Motherwort also protects and re-energizes the mitochondria; in Lyme disease it can help with the symptoms of fatigue that occurs during the day as well as the insomnia that arises at night.
Motherwort is gathered at the time of flowering- late June to early August here in the Northeast. When harvesting, use only the healthy dark leaves and flower stems on the top 1/3 of the plant. She will branch out once again after this first harvest. And bees will appreciate a longer flowering time too! Offer a gift of song, prayer, tobacco, shell…something meaningful to you. The reciprocity of giving and receiving when working with plants is vitally important, and reminds us that we are in relationship with these wise elders. Asking before taking (and then listening) is also a way of honoring and appreciating a plant and the wisdom it holds.
For an extract: Simply fill a jar with freshly chopped leaf and flower and cover with your favorite 100 proof vodka, place lid on jar, and set aside overnight. In the morning check your extract, making sure to add enough vodka to cover the herb. LABEL your jar with herb name and date. Shake daily, leaving in a dark, cool place. After 4 weeks, strain into a clean bottle. Label. Take a moment to note that you are preparing a wild plant medicine to use for yourself and others. This is your birthright. Spend time with Motherwort and with those who know her medicine and power. There is always more to learn! Store in a cool, dark place. Use within 5 years.
I use Motherwort flower essence with clients as well as myself for helping to provide healthy boundaries along with remembering and protecting one’s own personal power, upright chi, strong heart and accumulated wisdom.
A few examples:
** when it is difficult to say no, even when you know “No” is the right answer.
** times of high stress, when you simply cannot take on one more chore/ responsibility/ thing that “needs” doing.
** when your spirit is calling out for personal space to simply be, without answering to anyone else.
** when you feel your lioness wanting to roar!
** creating healthy relationships while maintaining sense of self.
Thank you Motherwort~ for reminding us to stand in the light and dark aspects of ourselves, staying true to our own destiny, trusting that we can mother ourselves with compassion, strength, clarity and truth.