The preference is partial sun and moist fertile soil. If the soil becomes too dry, the lower leaves have a tendency to fall off and the entire plant may wilt or die. Plants are attractive while young, but become ragged in appearance with age. Range & Habitat
L. cardiaca has a squarish stem which is clad in short hairs and is often purplish, especially near the nodes. The opposite leaves have serrated margins and are palmately lobed with long petioles; basal leaves are wedge shaped with three points while the upper leaves have five. They are slightly hairy above and greyish beneath. Flowers appear in leaf axils on the upper part of the plant and have three-lobed bracts. The calyx of each flower is bell-shaped and has five lobes. The corolla is irregular, 8 to 12 mm (0.3 to 0.5 in) long, fused, long-tubed with two lips. The upper lip is convex and covered with white hairs and the lower lip is three-lobed and downward-curving and spotted with red. The flowers are pink to lilac in colour often with furry lower lips. There are four stamens, two short and two longer, and the fruit is a four-chambered schizocarp. The plant grows to about 60 to 100 cm (24 to 39 in) in height and blooms during July and August.
Motherwort is probably native to the southeastern part of Europe and central Asia where it has been cultivated since ancient times. Its natural habitat is beside roadsides, in vacant fields, waste ground, rubbish dumps and other disturbed areas. This plant prefers well drained soil and a partly shady location. It is hardy in USDA climate zones 4–8.
Motherwort has a long history of use as a herb in traditional medicine in Central Europe, Asia and North America. Like many other plants, it has been used for a variety of ills. Midwives use it for a variety of purposes, including uterine tonic and prevention of uterine infection in women, hence the name Motherwort.
Susun Weed recommends it for combating stress and promoting relaxation during pregnancy, also claiming that, given during labor, it prevents hemorrhage. Michael Tierra, on the other hand, contraindicates it for internal use during pregnancy, claiming that it has the tendency to cause bleeding and may induce miscarriage. It was historically used in China to prevent pregnancy and to regulate menstruation. Motherwort is also used to ease stomach gas and cramping, menopausal problems, and insomnia, although Susun Weed warns it may be habit forming if used regularly to combat sleeplessness. According to Tierra, the traditional Chinese medicine energy and flavors are bitter, spicy, and slightly cold, and the systems affected are the pericardium and liver. The fresh or dried leaves, which are called yìmǔcǎo (益母草), are used and the recommended dosage is the standard infusion of one ounce herb to one pint boiling water, 2–6 mL of 1 in 5 tincture or 2–4 mL of 1:1 fluid extract, either in 25% ethanol, three times daily.
^Kuhn, Merrily A.; Winston, David; Marderosian, Ara Harold, Der (2000). Herbal therapy supplements: a scientific traditional approach. Philadelphia: Lippincott. p. 232. ISBN978-0-7817-2643-6.
^Kuchta, K; Volk, R. B.; Rauwald, H. W. (2013). "Stachydrine in Leonurus cardiaca, Leonurus japonicus, Leonotis leonurus: Detection and quantification by instrumental HPTLC and 1H-qNMR analyses". Die Pharmazie 68 (7): 534–40. PMID23923634.edit
Motherwort is one of many introduced members of the Mint family with small tubular flowers. It has foliage with a somewhat distinctive appearance and flowers that are exceptionally hairy. Motherwort belongs to large group of plants in the Mint family that produce non-terminal whorls of flowers above the opposite leaves; other groups in this large family produce terminal racemes and spikes, or non-terminal flowers that aren't whorled. The petioles of the Motherwort are longer than the flowers, and its leaves have wedged-shaped bottoms and 3-5 cleft lobes with pointed tips. Other species in the Mint family have petioles that are shorter than the flowers, or their leaves have rounded bottoms and unlobed margins. The other Leonurus sp. in Illinois, Leonurus sibericus (Siberian Motherwort), is a biennial plant with less hairy flowers (hairs less than 1 mm.) and leaves that are more deeply cleft into narrow lobes.
This introduced perennial plant is 2-5' tall and sparingly branched below the inflorescence. The stems are 4-angled, heavily ridged, and slightly pubescent. The opposite leaves are variable in size and shape, although they all have long petioles that are slightly pubescent. The lower leaves often have 5 cleft lobes and several coarse teeth; they are up up to 4" long and 3" across. The middle leaves have 3 cleft lobes and a few coarse teeth; they are up to 3" long and 1½" across. The upper leaves are often oblong-ovate with a pair of coarse teeth; they are up to 2" long and ¾" across. These leaves are nearly hairless and have conspicuous veins along the upper surface. The base of each leaf is more or less wedge-shaped. The stems of Motherwort are normally erect, although older plants toward the end of the growing season have a tendency to sprawl. Whorls of sessile flowers occur above the axils of the opposite leaves on the middle to upper stems. Each tubular flower is 2-lipped and about 1/3" long. The corolla is white or light pink and quite hairy on the upper side; these fuzzy white hairs exceed 1 mm. in length. The upper lip is undivided, while the lower lip has a central lobe and 2 smaller side lobes. There are usually purple dots on the lower lip and near the throat of the corolla. The tubular green calyx has 5 lanceolate teeth; it is slightly pubescent. These teeth are sharp-pointed and persistent. The blooming period occurs during the summer and lasts about 2 months. While the flowers are not noticeably fragrant, the foliage has a slightly rank odor. Each flower is replaced by 4 nutlets that are 3-sided and reddish brown or brown. The root system consists of shallow fibrous roots and rhizomes. This plant spreads by reseeding itself and vegetatively by means of the rhizomes; it often forms colonies.
The flowers are pollinated by bumblebees and other long-tongued bees, including Little Carpenter bees and Anthophorine bees; these insects are attracted by nectar primarily. Syrphid flies and Halictid bees are attracted to the pollen of the flowers, but they are less effective pollinators. Occasionally the foliage is attacked by Tetranychus urticae (Two-Spotted Spider Mite), which is polyphagous. Mammalian herbivores avoid the foliage as a food source because it is bitter-tasting and probably slightly toxic. It is possible that the seeds are transported by mammals because the spine-like teeth of the calyx can cling to fur (or clothing). Photographic Location