Don't leave much to go to seed, as it will take over a garden. You can read more about dividing perennials here. Some of these links may be affiliate in nature, meaning we earn small commissions if items are purchased. Motherwort flowers are hermaphrodite and are pollinated by bees. Historically, the herb has been associated with longevity. Motherwort was first used by the Greeks to soothe the anxiety of pregnant women. When I began my studies as an herbalist, I was immediately drawn to wanting to learn more about motherwort. Motherwort is a vigorous grower, and care must be taken to ensure that it doesn’t spread more than desired. See our TOS for more details. This medicinal herb has a reputation for reducing anxiety, feelings of restlessness, and stress. Motherwort blooms from mid to late summer and can be harvested anytime. It also spreads via an extensive root system, and roots should be divided each season to prevent a garden takeover! Uncredited photos: Shutterstock. The flower spike is also thought to bear resemblance to a lion’s tail. Once the herb has finished flowering, it quickly loses its vitality. Since the flowering stage is considered the best time to harvest the plant to make a tincture, I’m ready to go with my snippers and 100 proof vodka. To make any of these infusions, begin by preparing the herb. All the local townspeople got their daily drinking water from that spring and all of t… While it is helpful to keep this herb watered well while it is young, once established, it is hardy and drought tolerant. For centuries, this bitter-tasting herb has been used by mothers, and it was a very common medicine prescribed by midwives. A dehydrator set to low heat can also be used to dry your harvest more quickly. More commonly, this herb is made into a tincture or herbal glycerite, or infused in vinegar. Groves says motherwort pairs well with lemon balm, another herb indicated for hyperthyroidism, particularly in an herbal formula for treating Graves’ disease. (If harvesting motherwort yourself, you may wish to wear gloves as the leaves can be spiky.) Motherwort is a plant. The ideal time to harvest motherwort is in early to midsummer, just as the plant is beginning to flower. This herb is best consumed or tinctured while it’s fresh, but the flowers and leaves can also be dried for later use. Motherwort’s botanical name Leonurus cardiaca means “lionhearted.” This may be related to the plant’s reputation for bringing strength during times of emotional stress. Seal the bag and place it in the refrigerator for 10 days, checking regularly for moisture and spritzing lightly if the mix becomes dry. According to Daniel E. Moerman in his book “Native American Ethnobotany,” Native American tribes including the Delaware, Micmac, Mohegan, Shinnecock, and Oklahoma people used an infusion of motherwort as a uterine tonic for women, and it was used by the Cherokee and Iroquois people as a digestive and nervous system support. Preliminary research suggests that it can bind to TSH receptors, and prevent the conversion of thyroid hormone T4 to the active form T3, essentially slowing down thyroid function. The botanical name, Leonurus cardiaca also comes from the greek. In recent years, it has been studied as an herbal treatment for hyperthyroidism. It also has sent up flower stalks but the flower buds are still young. This use continued and spread and gave the herb its common name. The ideal time to harvest motherwort is in early to midsummer, just as the plant is beginning to flower. The herb increases the blood flow to the pelvic area. Siberian Motherwort is a legal substitute for marijuana. Gardener’s Path and Ask the Experts, LLC assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Motherwort also self sows easily. Step One: Gather plant material Our motherwort harvest. The stalks, flowers, and leaves of motherwort are typically harvested during full bloom in mid to late summer (Foster, 1993; Grieve, 1931). Harvest the aerial parts—leaves, flowers, and stems can be used. At this stage in the plant’s growth cycle, the plant has put out lots of leafy growth. Whether you are using fresh or dried motherwort, it should be chopped, crushed, or ground into small pieces. When to harvest motherwort Tip: To hide the bitter taste, you can dilute doses of tincture in tea or water before consuming. Menopause symptoms like hot flashes, anxiety and mood swings are also curable with this herb. The process of making herbal infused vinegar is very similar to what you would do to create a tincture or glycerite. Start cold stratified seeds in flats a few weeks before the last frost date in your area. Supports Female Reproductive Health. It was morning, after the dew had evaporated. Distinguishing Features. The Farmer's Garden wants to build community, one tomato at a time. Leonurus cardiaca Motherwort 300 seeds $3.50. Once I learned to recognize it, I realized it had been lurking around my garden all along! Considered a weed by some, you won’t find cultivated varieties available for purchase. Once the seeds are prepped, they can be sown directly into the garden. Growing your own vegetables, herbs, fruit, berries and flowers is very rewarding. Leon=lion, ouros=tail and kardiacarefers to the heart. Leaves and flowers in bowl. Once picked, you can simply boil the kettle and steep the fresh flower tops for 5 – 10 minutes. Reduce the chances of it getting away from you by cutting back to 3-5 inches after flowering, but before those seeds mature. Motherwort has also been used when the period is out of balance, either not coming regularly or coming too often. Our gardening blog provides helpful gardening advice to both novice and experienced gardeners. ABC Herbal Medicine This is a special course for the aspiring herbalist who would like to have me "by your side" teaching you how to identify, harvest, and buy 52 healing herbs. To prevent self seeding, cut foliage back to 3-5 inches after flowering and before the seeds have a chance to mature. We had 200 grams of motherwort so a 1:2 dilution would mean we need 400mls of everclear. Motherwort Uses. Motherwort, Leonorus cardiaca, is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae) and has their characteristic square stems and opposite leaves though, unlike most other mints, the leaves are deeply toothed and cut into three pointed segments. It Relieves Menstrual Cramps. This hardy perennial can grow in many different conditions, but for best results, look for a spot with well draining soil, and amend beds or containers with compost before planting. You can also choose to sow seeds directly in the garden in late fall. High quantities can cause nausea and taking motherwort may have an adverse interaction with other medications. The parts that grow above the ground are used to make medicine. Here are 6 of the major benefits of motherwort. However, you might want to allow for another 6-12 inches between motherwort and other plants so that it doesn’t crowd its neighbors. In 17th century Europe it was used for heart palpitations, difficult labor, and promoting menstruation. This way, there is no need to cold stratify your seeds first, as the cold winter weather will take care of this process for you in most growing zones. On the lower portions, I remove the leaves … Cut and collect the top third of the stems, including the leaves, flowers, and buds. Temporarily out of stock Once the herb has finished flowering, it quickly loses its vitality. To make a motherwort glycerite, fill a jar about half full with dried herb or two-thirds full with fresh motherwort. Step Three: Weigh in grams (For this we had 200 grams) Step Four: Measure alcohol in mls. Lucky for me, motherwort is happy to grow most anywhere. The plant produces clusters of pink to purple flowers that rise along prickly sepals, blooming from midsummer through early fall. Place a lid on the jar, preferably a nonreactive plastic lid, as vinegar will corrode metal. It is also a common weed along roadsides and in neglected gardens. Plants can be put in by either hand or by transplanter. It is a natural weed alternative and has been used for hundreds of years ceremonially. The name shows how It has obviously been used to help with women’s problems, perhaps most notably for pain in the womb from menstrual disorders. Motherwort is an herb that has been used for thousands of years by those looking to reap its potential health benefits, particularly those related to heart health and anxiety. One unique feature of motherwort is that it grows well in any type of light. Here is more about what we do. A great bee forage plant, include motherwort in areas where you want to. Pour enough alcohol, such as vodka, over the fresh herb to fill the jar, leaving 1/4 inch headroom at the top. This is a great option if you prefer to avoid alcohol, and it has the added benefit of a sweeter taste. GARDENER'S PATH® IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF ASK THE EXPERTS LLC. The lower leaves have five cleft lobes with coarse teeth, and leaves with three lobes grow higher on the stem. After you plant the motherwort in your garden, water the plants every 2-3 days until they grow larger. The final product should look very dark and have a bitter taste. Tell us your stories in the comments below! To cold stratify seeds, soak for 12-24 hours and then put them in a plastic bag filled with sand and peat. Motherwort herb growing will occur and steadily increase with seed broadcasting. The uppermost leaves are oblong with one pair of coarse teeth. Step Two: Remove leaves and flowers. Definitely a must have if you are looking for a gift for your pollinators. To avoid unwanted spread, try growing it in containers or raised beds. Motherwort grows strong and tall and she could use a bit of space as she will extend additional shoots up throughout the season. Strong and robust, calming and supportive, it is certainly a plant worth knowing how to grow and use. The glycerite will keep for one to two years. Do not use motherwort during pregnancy. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. To dry, hang bundles of stems in a dark, airy location, or lay them on a screen in a dark, dry room. Strictly Medicinal Seeds is a good source for both the plants and the seeds. It should keep for several years in your pantry if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark location. Space at 12-15 inches in the row with row spacing at 240-30 inches. The flower stalks can be a bit prickly. It is harvested when it is in full flower and often tinctured while fresh. Here in Zone 7b, we often have a harvest in … Body into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self-Care. It is a member of the Lamiaceae family, and similar to many of its minty relatives, it is a vigorous grower that can sometimes be considered invasive. Strain out the herb. The flowers grow in whorls that alternate up the stem with the leaves. Motherwort is an upright prickly bush that can grow tall and wide. But you can also harvest the large, soft leaves in the pre-flowering stage. For now, feel free to continue reading. According to Maria Noel Groves in her book “Body into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self-Care,” available on Amazon, it is looked upon as a remedy for those who are feeling overworked, on edge, or underappreciated. If harvesting motherwort yourself, consider using gloves – it can be quite spiky! Motherwort Medicine. But I had never grown motherwort before, and truthfully, I didn’t have any idea what it looked like, how to harvest it, or how to use it at home. The plant’s botanical name, Leonurus cardiac, means “lion hearted” and is thought to relate to either the flower spike’s resemblance to a lion’s tail or the plant's traditional use as a cardiac tonic.Motherwort’s common and botanical names combine to provide wonderful clues to its healing properties. Motherwort has long been used medicinally in many different traditions. I worked a few years at a Chinese restaurant and one of my favorite customers gave me a plant for my garden. She holds a bachelor of science degree in environmental science from Tufts University, and has traveled and worked in many roles in conservation and environmental advocacy, including creating and managing programs based around resource conservation, organic gardening, food security, and building leadership skills. This tends to happen during prolonged periods of drought. If you can’t prepare this product at home, then you can purchase the motherwort tincture from the healthy food stores. Once the herb has finished flowering, it quickly loses its vitality. Remove divided roots from the garden to compost, or pot up and give them to friends. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu. If powdery mildew develops, remove infected parts of the plant and destroy them. The pinky flowers appear in whorls around the stem and the calyxes are very prickly so beware when harvesting! Pour the liquid mixture over the herb, filling the jar. It is sometimes used to relieve asthma, bronchitis, and other lung problems, usually mixed with mullein and other lung herbs. Motherwort heals menstruation as well as menopause. Read more about combating powdery mildew here, How to Harvest and Use Stinging Nettle Root, Growing Borage as a Cover Crop and for Green Manure, How to Identify, Prevent, and Treat Collar and Crown Rot in Fruit Trees, Tips for Growing Hardy Chicago Fig Trees (Bensonhurst Purple), Organic Gardening 101: A Practical How To Article, 11 of the Best Birdbaths: Your Guide to Water Features for Your Feathered Friends, 13 of the Best Tall China Asters for the Late Summer Garden, How to Identify, Prevent, and Control Cedar Apple Rust, The Taste of Summer: How to Plant and Grow Watermelons. Stay tuned for the first newsletter in the morning, straight to your inbox. Harvest the leaves and the entire flower stalk with clippers when the flowers are in full bloom, anywhere from late June into August, being sure to leave enough flower … In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, American practitioners of Eclectic medicine used it to treat nervous conditions and to improve female reproductive health. Motherwort is easy to grow from seed or transplants, or by division. Read more about combating powdery mildew here. She is also a fanatical gardener, and enjoys spending as much time covered in dirt as possible! In rare instances, spider mites can damage the leaves of the plant. This herb has many great medicinal values and is truly undervalued in the world of plants. You can reduce instances of this disease by pruning overcrowded areas to increase air circulation, and avoid overwatering. It has a history of being used to reduce stress during childbirth, postpartum depression, and menopause symptoms, as well as helping to regulate menstrual cycles and reduce symptoms of PMS. How to take the motherwort tincture As its name implies, this truly is a motherly herb. A dearth of well-designed human studies documenting its safe and effective use means we still lack sufficient scientific evidence to support these claims. Ready to learn how to grow your own crop at home, for visual interest, to attract pollinators, and to make your own herbal medicine? Cover with a tight lid and set aside in a dark cupboard for 4-6 weeks, shaking daily to agitate the mixture. Cut and collect the top third of the stems, including the leaves, flowers, and buds. Motherwort is useful for headache, insomnia, and vertigo. It is also utilized as a nervous system support, specifically to reduce anxiety, irritability, and panic attacks, especially when stress is associated with heart palpitations. Flowers. You may also be able to purchase seeds or plants from local nurseries or farms that specialize in medicinal herbs. There isn't enough reliable information to know if motherwort is safe to use when breast-feeding. Let the jar sit in the pantry for a month, shaking daily. Believed to have been brought to North America in the 19th century by colonists, and has now naturalized widely throughout the continent. When to harvest motherwort. It should stay fresh for one to two years. Because motherwort is so bitter, most herbalists prefer to use it as a tincture rather than a tea. Broadcast seeds in late spring and cover with a very thin 1/8-inch layer of soil. Leonurus cardiaca or motherwort is usually harvested at the end of June. You will notice that the leaves suddenly seem to look thin and brown, and you will have to wait until next season to harvest more. Though motherwort is a hardy perennial that is rarely harmed by pests or disease, there are still a couple of problems to watch out for. I called it the opium den for bees because they were crazy about it! This will show you how to harvest Motherwort and put up a tincture. Herbal vinegar can be used in cooking, and it has the additional advantageous properties of the vinegar itself, which can be useful for aiding digestion and remedying other issues. The Farmer's Garden is an online place to learn how to garden. Hang in small bundles or spread out on a screen in a warm, dry place. Motherwort also may correct heart palpitations that sometimes accompany thyroid disease and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Just add 2 tablespoons of a mild biodegradable liquid soap to a gallon of water, and spray off the undersides of the leaves to remove the mites. If you are excited about growing motherwort, check out these other easy to grow medicinal herbs next: © Ask the Experts, LLC. 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