Today I am preparing plant medicine dream pillows for the medicine women joining us in circle tomorrow. I have included herbs from around the world and Australia. I was particularly drawn to the plant medicine of Motherwort for our work tomorrow with the Magdalenes and to birth ourselves again with our Ancestral Medicine lines intact.
History: the early Greeks gave motherwort to pregnant women suffering from anxiety. This use continued and gave the herb the name mother wort, or “mother’s herb.” Its other prominent action is on the heart, giving it the species name cardiaca or the Greek kardiaca, or heart. Leonurus comes from the Greek leon for “lion” and ouros for “tail”, as the plant was thought to resemble the tail of a lion. There is an old tale about a town whose water source is a stream flowing through banks of motherwort. Many of the townspeople lived to be 130 years old and recall one who reportedly lived to 300 years. In ancient China, motherwort was reputed to promote longevity. In Europe, motherwort first became known as a treatment for cattle diseases. Colonists introduced motherwort into North America and the 19 th century Eclectics recommended it as a menstruation promoter and aid to expelling the afterbirth. They did not consider it a heart remedy at all. The Cherokees used the herb as a sedative for nervous afflictions. In the Victorian Language of Flowers it symbolizes concealed love.
Medicinal: Motherwort is primarily an herb of the heart. Several species have sedative effects, decreasing muscle spasms and temporarily lowering blood pressure. Chinese studies found that extracts decrease clotting and the level of fat in the blood and can slow heart palpatations and rapid heartbeat. Another of motherwort’s uses is to improve fertility and reduce anxiety associated with childbirth, postpartum depression, and menopause. If used in early labor it will ease labor pains and calms the nerves after childbirth. Take motherwort only once soon after giving birth as consistent use before the uterus has clamped down may cause bleeding to continue. Use one to two times a day in the weeks following birth for easing tension and supporting a woman through the feelings that come with new mothering. Do not use during pregnancy. Motherwort helps bring on a delayed or suppressed menstrual flow, especially when someone is anxious and tense. Chinese women often use it combined with dong quai as a menstrual regulator. Avoid using for menstrual cramps when bleeding is heavy. It strengthens and relaxes the uterine muscles and eases uterine cramping. It also reduces fevers, and is especially suggested for illnesses associated with nervousness or delirium. Motherwort was formerly used to treat rheumatism and lung problems, like bronchitis and asthma. Motherwort may help an overactive thyroid but does not depress normal thyroid function. Tincture the leaves and flowers as soon as you pick them. If you prefer to dry them, lay the leaves and stalks onto screens. Motherwort tea has a very bitter taste. Chinese medicine uses the seeds to aid in urination; cool the body system; treat excessive menstrual flow, absence of menstruation.