Table of Contents > Herbs & Supplements > Motherwort (Leonurus artemisia, Leonurus cardiaca, Leonurus heterophyllus, Leonurus japonicus, Leonurus sibiricus, Leonurus spp.) Print

Motherwort (Leonurus artemisia, Leonurus cardiaca, Leonurus heterophyllus, Leonurus japonicus, Leonurus sibiricus, Leonurus spp.)

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Also listed as: Leonurus artemisia, Leonurus cardiaca, Leonurus heterophyllus, Leonurus japonicus, Leonurus sibiricus, Leonurus spp.
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • Agripalma, agripaume (French), alkaloids, apigenin glucosides, caffeic acid, caffeic acid 4-rutinoside, calcium oxalate, carotenoids, chanshukang granules, Chinese motherwort, coumarins, diterpenes, epicatechin, ferulic acid, flavones, flavonoids, flavonols, genkwanin, herba Leonuri, hydrosols, hyperoside, i-mu-ts'ao (Chinese), iridoides, iridoids, isoquercetrin, Japanese motherwort, kaempferol glucosides, Lamiaceaee (family), leocardin, leonurine, Leonurus, Leonurus artemisia, Leonurus heterophyllus Sweet, Leonurus japonicus Houtt., Leonurus L., Leonurus sibiricus L., lion's ear, lion's tail, LjAMP1, LjAMP2, monosaccharides, monoterpenes, mother wort, mother's wort, polyphenolcarboxylic acids, polyphenols, polysaccharides, procyanidin B2, quercetin, quercetrin, quercitin, quinqueloside, Roman motherwort, rutin, sesquiterpenes, stachydrine, sterols, tannins, throw-wort, triterpenes, vitamin A, volatile oils, wormwood-like motherwort herb, yi mu cao.

Background
  • Motherwort (Leonurus species) is a plant that is native to Asia but grows all around the world. The leaves look like the tail of a lion, giving motherwort the nicknames "lion's tail" and "lion's ear."
  • Motherwort has a long history of use in Chinese medicine. Motherwort has been used most widely for women's health, including childbirth, afterbirth care, irregular menstrual cycles, and premenstrual anxiety, as well as to treat heart disorders.
  • Motherwort has been studied for use in a variety of conditions, including prostate disorders, arthritis, kidney disease, and stomach problems. However, there is little information on the effects of motherwort alone, and more high-quality trials are needed before conclusions can be made.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


Preliminary research compared the effects of motherwort and melatonin to treat anxiety in young adults. Further research is required in this field.

C


A mixture containing motherwort may benefit children with asthma, compared to other treatments. More research is needed in this area.

C


A mixture containing motherwort used in combination with other medicine has been given to patients with cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease). More research is needed in this area.

C


An herbal mixture containing motherwort has been given to people with type 2 diabetes. However, results are unclear, and more research is needed.

C


A mixture containing motherwort has been used to treat women with edema, or swelling due to fluid buildup. There was some evidence of benefit, but more research is needed before conclusions can be made.

C


In preliminary research, men with enlarged prostates experienced improvement. Further research is needed before conclusions can be made.

C


Use of the motherwort-containing herbal formulation Bushenhuoxuezhuyuntang was associated with increased endometrial thickness compared with control therapy in infertile women. Additional research is needed in this area.

C


A combination product containing motherwort has been studied for treating gout. The results showed that it may be effective, but more research is needed before conclusions can be made.

C


A traditional Chinese medicine containing motherwort has been shown to benefit people with chronic heart failure. More research is needed in this area.

C


Preliminary research found that motherwort treatment given to mothers after a Cesarean section resulted in lower blood loss during surgery, but more blood loss after giving birth, compared to other treatments. Another study looked at the use of a mixture containing motherwort in hemorrhage caused by diabetes. Motherwort has also been studied as part of a treatment plan for bleeding after drug-induced abortion. More high-quality trials are needed.

C


A mixture containing motherwort has been used with other medicine to treat stomach disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, with evidence of benefit. Further studies are needed in this area.

C


Herbal mixtures containing motherwort have been shown to benefit people with kidney disease. More high-quality studies are needed before conclusions can be made.

C


A study compared the effectiveness of combining traditional Chinese and Western medicine to treat to treat liver scarring. The mixture contained motherwort and showed some evidence of benefit, but more research is needed.

C


A motherwort-containing mixture was used to treat systemic lupus erythematosus, an autoimmune disease. There was evidence of improvement compared to standard therapy. More studies are needed in this area.

C


Preliminary research looked at the effectiveness of a motherwort combination therapy for symptoms of menopause. However, no evidence of benefit was found, and more research is needed before conclusions can be made.

C


A motherwort-containing mixture has been used to treat menstrual disorders, with some evidence of benefit. More research is needed.

C


An herbal mixture containing motherwort has been used to treat painful menstrual periods. Further research is needed in this area.

C


Preliminary research looked at combining Western and traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of pelvic inflammatory disease. A motherwort-containing herbal mixture showed some evidence of benefit. More studies are needed in this area.

C


One study looked at the effect of a motherwort-containing herbal treatment on polycystic ovarian syndrome. Compared to the control therapy, it resulted in significant improvement. Further research is needed in this area.

C


A combination herbal product containing motherwort was studied for its effect on symptoms linked to abstaining from alcohol in alcohol-dependent men, and it showed evidence of benefit. Further research is needed.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Acne, amenorrhea (lack of menstrual period), antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antispasmodic (prevents muscle spasms), antiviral, astringent (tighten tissue), blood circulation, blood thinner, blood vessel dilation, brain tumors (glioma), breast disease (mammary hyperplasia), breast milk stimulant, calming, cancer, cardiotonic (heart health), cerebral ischemia (insufficient blood flow to brain), childbirth, congestive heart failure, cramping (abdominal, pelvic, menstrual), diaphoretic (promotes sweating), diuretic (promotes urination), fatty liver, flatulence (gassiness), food uses, gastric acid reduction (reduces stomach acid), headache, heart conditions, heart disease, heart palpitations, hematopoiesis (stimulation of blood cell production), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hormonal effects, hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone), hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone), immune system regulation, improving blood flow, increased strength, insomnia (sleep difficulty), irregular heartbeat, irritability, itching, kidney inflammation, menstrual flow stimulant, miscarriage, mood, mood swings, muscle relaxant, pain relief, postpartum care, postpartum depression, preeclampsia (high blood pressure in pregnancy), pregnancy support (veterinary), shingles, stress, tonic (nerve), tonic (stomach), type 2 diabetes, uterine stimulant (promotes childbirth), uterine tonic (promotes uterus health), vertigo (dizziness), vision improvement.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • Motherwort has been taken by mouth three times daily in the form of a tincture.
  • Motherwort has been taken by mouth daily in herb form.
  • To treat or prevent excessive bleeding after Cesarean delivery, a dose of 40 milligrams of motherwort has been injected into the uterus, followed by an injection of 20 milligrams of motherwort into the muscle every 12 hours three times after surgery. A dose of 20 milligrams of motherwort has been injected into the uterus, together with a 10-unit uterine oxytocin injection, during childbirth, followed by six doses of 20 milligrams of motherwort injected into the muscle and six 10-unit intramuscular oxytocin injections, given once every 12 hours.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for motherwort in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in people with known allergy or sensitivity to motherwort (Leonurus spp.), its parts, or other members of the Lamiaceae family. Allergic reaction, skin inflammation, and sensitivity to light have been reported.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Motherwort is considered safe in healthy people with no conflicting symptoms or conditions. However, there is a lack of safety data from studies using motherwort alone.
  • Motherwort may cause diarrhea, dry mouth, a general feeling of discomfort, hepatitis, mild stomach discomfort, nausea, and pain on the right side of the stomach.
  • Drowsiness or sedation may occur. Motherwort taken in combination with benzodiazepines may result in coma.
  • Motherwort may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people with low blood pressure or in those taking drugs or herbs and supplements that lower blood pressure.
  • Motherwort may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in people with bleeding disorders or those taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
  • Motherwort may act as a central nervous system depressant. Use cautiously in people undergoing anesthesia for surgery. Motherwort use should be discontinued at least 14 days before surgery.
  • Use cautiously in women with breast cancer or other hormone-dependent cancers.
  • Use cautiously in women of childbearing age.
  • Use cautiously in people who have heart disorders or who are taking medications for heart disorders.
  • Use cautiously in people who have kidney disorders. Motherwort may cause kidney damage.
  • Avoid in pregnant and breastfeeding women, due to a lack of safety data. Motherwort may stimulate uterine contractions and cause uterine damage or miscarriage.
  • Avoid in people with known allergy or sensitivity to motherwort (Leonurus spp.), its parts, or other members of the Lamiaceae family. Allergic reaction, skin inflammation, and sensitivity to light have been reported.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Avoid using motherwort in pregnant and breastfeeding women, due to a lack of safety data. Motherwort may stimulate uterine contraction and cause miscarriage.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Motherwort may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking drugs that lower blood pressure.
  • Motherwort may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
  • Motherwort may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some drugs. Examples include benzodiazepines such as lorazepam (Ativan®) or diazepam (Valium®), barbiturates such as phenobarbital, narcotics such as codeine, some antidepressants, and alcohol. Caution is advised while driving or operating machinery.
  • Motherwort may also interact with agents that affect blood vessel width, agents that affect the heart, agents that affect the immune system, agents that treat blood disorders, agents that treat stomach disorders, antianxiety agents, antibiotics, anticancer agents, antifungals, anti-inflammatories, antivirals, benzodiazepines, bone marrow suppressants, cholesterol-lowering agents, depressants and other agents that affect the nervous system, diuretics, hormonal agents, and fertility agents.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Motherwort may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.
  • Motherwort may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking herbs or supplements that lower blood pressure.
  • Motherwort may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some herbs or supplements.
  • Motherwort may also interact with antibacterials, anticancer herbs and supplements, antifungals, anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, antivirals, cholesterol-lowering herbs and supplements, diuretics, fertility-promoting herbs and supplements, herbs and supplements that affect the heart, herbs and supplements that affect blood vessel width, herbs and supplements that affect the nervous system, herbs and supplements that affect the immune system, herbs and supplements that treat blood disorders, herbs and supplements that treat stomach disorders, and hormonal herbs and supplements.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Bernatoniene J, Kucinskaite A, Masteikova R, et al. The comparison of anti-oxidative kinetics in vitro of the fluid extract from maidenhair tree, motherwort and hawthorn. Acta Pol.Pharm. 2009;66(4):415-421.
  2. Chang CF and Li CZ. [Experimental studies on the mechanism of anti-platelet aggregation action of motherwort]. Zhong.Xi.Yi.Jie.He.Za Zhi. 1986;6(1):39-40, 5.
  3. Chen Y. The application of giant typhonium (Typhonium giganteum) in the treatment of brain glioma. Chinese Journal of Information on Traditional Chinese Medicine 2007;14(1):81.
  4. Duan X, Song F, Yang G, et al. Blood rheological changes in dairy cows with ovarian disturbances before and after treatment. Chinese Journal of Veterinary Science and Technology 1995;25(9):25-27.
  5. Fokina GI, Frolova TV, Roikhel VM, et al. [Experimental phytotherapy of tick-borne encephalitis]. Vopr.Virusol. 1991;36(1):18-21.
  6. Hu S. A contribution to our knowledge of Leonurus L., i-mu-ts'ao, the Chinese motherwort. Am.J.Chin Med. 1976;4(3):219-237.
  7. Liu C, Ma L, Li W, et al. The relationship between the level of sex hormone and the aetiological types in young female patients with acne. Chinese Journal of Information on Traditional Chinese Medicine 2012;10(11):82-84.
  8. Li M and Zhang S. The effects of Traditional Chinese Medicine on antibody levels in women with recurrent spontaneous abortion (RSA). Chinese Journal of Information on Traditional Chinese Medicine 2005;12(7):59-60.
  9. Li X, Yang X, Li D, et al. Enhancing disease resistance in transgenic tomato over-expressing antimicrobial proteins, LjAMP1 and LjAMP2 from motherwort seeds. Acta Phytophylacica Sinica 2012;34(4):353-358.
  10. Masteikova R, Muselik J, Bernatoniene J, et al. [Antioxidant activity of tinctures prepared from hawthorn fruits and motherwort herb]. Ceska.Slov.Farm. 2008;57(1):35-38.
  11. Shi L, Shen M, Peng Y, et al. The protective effects of Huoxueyangyin Granules on rat myocardial ischemia induced by isoprenaline. Chinese Journal of Information on Traditional Chinese Medicine 2012;13(4):27-28.
  12. Song J, Sun C, Gu Y, et al. The application of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the treatment of bradyarrhythmias. Chinese Journal of Information on Traditional Chinese Medicine 2006;13(1):77-78.
  13. Tachjian A, Maria V, and Jahangir A. Use of herbal products and potential interactions in patients with cardiovascular diseases. J.Am.Coll.Cardiol. 2-9-2010;55(6):515-525.
  14. Yang X, Xiao Y, Wang X, et al. Expression of a novel small antimicrobial protein from the seeds of motherwort (Leonurus japonicus) confers disease resistance in tobacco. Appl.Environ.Microbiol. 2007;73(3):939-946.
  15. Yarnell E and Abascal K. Botanicals for regulating heart rhythms. Alternative & Complementary Therapies (England) 2003;9:125-129.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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