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Motherwort Notes

Motherwort has long been noted as an herb to treat both the heart and the female reproductive system. Its botanical name, cardiaca, stems from the Latin word for heart. Its common name, motherwort, means herb (wort) for the mother. In ancient days, Motherwort traits were described in such quaint language as 'dispelling melancholy vapors from the heart,' and for 'calming the trembling of the heart.' Seventeenth-century herbalist Nicholas Culpepper wrote of Motherwort, 'It took the name Motherwort because it settles mothers' wombs and is a wonderful help to women in their sore travail (delivery)... it also provoketh women's courses (menstruation).' In ancient China it was used to promote longevity due to its heart-strengthening abilities, and in Greece and Rome it was honored as a remedy for both physical and emotional problems associated with the heart.

Scientific studies conducted in China, Europe, and the United States confirm the traditional uses of Motherwort. Concentrations of leonurine and stachydrine, chemical constituents that promote uterine contractions, have been found in Motherwort, substantiating its traditional use for promoting delayed menstruation and hastening childbirth. Glycosides, also found in Motherwort, have the effect of lowering blood pressure, which directly reduces stress on the heart muscle. (A Chinese legend has it that a sage who drank Motherwort tea every day lived to be 300 years old.) Motherwort has amphoteric qualities that allow it to change and adapt to the situation. As well as being a stimulant to the system, it also has sedative qualities, making it both a uterine stimulant and a sedative.

from "Herbal Healing for Women" , Rosemary Gladstar, Fireside Press, 1993

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