Herb: Chinese Motherwort


Latin name: Leonurus sibiricus


Synonyms: Leonurus manshuricus


Family: Labiatae



Medicinal use of Chinese Motherwort:

Chinese motherwort is unusual amongst Chinese herbs in that it is often prescribed for use on its own and not in a mixture with other plants. The whole plant is antibacterial, antispasmodic, astringent, cardiac, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypnotic, nervine, oxytocic, stomachic, tonic, uterine stimulant. The seeds have a similar action to the plant, but are a less effective diuretic and depurative. The plant is used in the treatment of painful and excessive menstruation, post-partum bleeding, oedema, kidney complaints, kidney stones, eczema and abscesses. A tincture is used in the treatment of rheumatic fever. The plant stimulates uterine contractions and should not therefore be used when in the earlier stages of pregnancy. The plant is harvested when in flower but before the seeds have set, and is dried for later use. The plant contains about 0.05% of an alkaloid called leonurine. This has a curare-like effect on the motor-endings of the nervous system, acting in small doses as a stimulant to the respiratory system but in large doses causing respiratory paralysis.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Annual/Biennial


Height:
100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

Flovering:
July to
September


Scent:
Scented
Annual/Biennial

Habitat of the herb:

Stony and steppe slopes, pine forests and occasionally as a weed of cultivated land. By the sea shore and along the margins of marshes and pools.

Edible parts of Chinese Motherwort:

Young shoots - cooked. A sweetish flavour. Root - cooked with other foods. This probably means that it is used as a flavouring.

Other uses of the herb:

Yields an essential oil. No more details are given.

Propagation of Chinese Motherwort:

Seed - sow late spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.

Cultivation of the herb:

Stony and steppe slopes, pine forests and occasionally as a weed of cultivated land. By the sea shore and along the margins of marshes and pools.

Known hazards of Leonurus sibiricus:

See the notes under medicinal uses.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.