Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Daily Dose: motherwort

Ah, Motherwort (also known more formally as Leonurus cardiaca). Her latin name invokes images of the calmly regal -- and protective -- lioness, she with a strong and capable heart. Motherwort helps us with these qualities, being a potent nervine that will take you down a good notch or two when you are feeling jittery, anguished and rattled. (Like when you are getting caught up in the craziness of the holiday season, maybe?) I have benefited from it greatly when I was bordering on a stress attack, or was depressed and hot-tempered as we Aries can sometimes be. A full dropperful (or two, I admit it!) and almost instantly I felt a soothing calm flow through my body.

This herb carries a lot of heart energy for me and for others, as it so efficiently calms the heart and the nerves overall. It is the perfect herb for the holidays, and if I wasn't crazy busy I would have shared this with you sooner (er, sorry). I trust the holidays were wonderful even if you didn't have this trusty herb by your side. But once you know of it, you will be sure to carry it close next Christmas. Or for any other time you need to center and calm yourself, for that matter.

Motherwort is a diaphoretic, emmenagogue, has nervine and tonic properties and is antispasmodic. It is wonderful for those with PMS, menstural cramps and such. IT is great for a good many other things, but I'll save all that for the detailed post on it.

It has a very potent, pungent and bitter taste-- certainly not a flavor one associates with tea. My preference is to take it in tincture form; mind, this does not make it more palpable, just sends it down the throat a bit faster. And of course the medicine takes effect rapidly as well, being absorbed readily through the tissues of the mouth.

Wrap-up: if you are full of tension, anguish, feeling close to a panic attack, can't focus from the stress of it all, Motherwort is for you. She will rapidly bring you to your center, and soothe the beast within. There are cautions from some old time herbalists that it can be psychologically addicting (see Susun Weed), however I have not seen this so far. One dropperful, up to 4x a day is recommended as needed.
Contra-indications: not to be used while pregnant (save for under the care of an experienced herbalist at the final stages of pregnancy), as it can promote bleeding; do not use if you have regular spotting or heavy bleeding monthly. If you have hyperthyroid, consider using a different herb.

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