Used by the ancient Greeks to reduce anxiety during childbirth, motherwort is primarily used as a tea or tincture for its potential medicinal properties.
Also called lion’s tail, motherwort is an upright, prickly bush with dark green leaves and furry purple or pink flowers
It’s native to Asia and Southeastern Europe but can now be found worldwide. In the United States, it’s considered an invasive species.
Unlike some other herbs in the mint family, it has an unpleasant smell and bitter flavor.
Motherwort has been used for thousands of years to treat various conditions, including heart disease, anxiety, and irregular menstruation.
Though many of its traditional uses have not been scientifically studied, research indicates that the herb has some potential health benefits.
Motherwort contains numerous plant-based compounds with antioxidant properties, including flavonoids, sterols, triterpenes, and tannins.
Antioxidants are compounds that protect your cells from damage caused by potentially harmful molecules known as free radicals.
Research shows that antioxidants may help protect against several conditions, including cancer, arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
May lower heart rate and blood pressure
One traditional use of motherwort is to help reduce rapid or irregular heart rate caused by stress or anxiety.
Motherwort extract has exhibited antiarrhythmic effects, suggesting that it could help lower elevated heart rate.
One 28-day study in 50 adults with high blood pressure and anxiety observed that supplementing with motherwort extract reduced heart rate, but the change was insignificant .However, the findings noted significant improvements in blood pressure levels. Still, the study was quite small, and similar results have not yet been replicated.
Despite limited research, some European countries have approved the use of motherwort to support heart health and help treat hyperthyroidism, stress, and anxiety.
Other potential benefits
May reduce postpartum blood loss. Early research suggests that treatment with motherwort and oxytocin may significantly reduce the risk of postpartum blood loss, compared with oxytocin alone.
May alleviate anxiety and depression. While limited in scope, early human studies show a reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression after taking motherwort or leonurine extracts daily for up to 4 weeks.
May decrease inflammation. Studies have found that the leonurine in motherwort has anti-inflammatory properties.