Med Plant Data Base


Moldo-german project 10.820.09.09GA
Evaluation of the pharmaceutic potential
of medicinal plants from natural habitats from Republic of Moldova


Leonurus cardiaca L.

KINGDOM: Plantae » Class: Magnoliopsida » Order: Lamiales » Family: Lamiaceae

Leonurus cardiaca L.


Leonurus cardiaca L.




Order: Lamiales

Family: Lamiaceae

Genus: Leonurus

Species:L. cardiaca

Plant description

L. cardiaca has a square stem
and opposite leaves. The leaves have serrated margins and are palmately lobed
with long petioles; basal leaves are wedge shaped with three points and while
the upper leaves are more latticed. Flowers appear in leaf axils on the upper
part of the plant and it blooms between June - August. The flowers are small,
pink to lilac in colour often with furry lower lips. The plant grows to about
60-100 cm in . It can be found along roadsides and in vacant fields and
other disturbed areas.

Diffusion area

Originally from Central Asia it is now found
worldwide, spread largely due to its use as a herbal remedy.


It grows near the fences and
hedges, on edges of forests and village streets, on vacant lots and dry

Therapeutic actions

Motherwort has a long history of
use as an herb in traditional medicine in Central Europe, Asia and North
America. Like many other plants, it has been used for a variety of ills, and
consumed. Midwives use it for a variety of purposes, including uterine tonic
and prevention of uterine infection in women, hence the name

Susun Weed recommends it for combating stress and promoting relaxation
during pregnancy, also claiming that, given during labor, it prevents
haemorrhage. 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

Motherwort is primarily an herb of the heart. Several species have sedative
effects, decreasing muscle spasms and temporarily lowering blood pressure.
Chinese studies found that extracts decrease clotting and the level of fat in
the blood and can slow heart palpatations and rapid heartbeat. Another of
motherworts uses is to improve fertility and reduce anxiety associated with
childbirth, postpartum depression, and menopause. If used in early labor it
will ease labor pains and calms the nerves after childbirth. Take motherwort
only once soon after giving birth as consistent use before the uterus has
clamped down may cause bleeding to continue. Use one to two times a day in
the weeks following birth for easing tension and supporting a woman through
the feelings that come with new mothering. Do not use during pregnancy.
Motherwort helps bring on a delayed or suppressed menstrual flow, especially
when someone is anxious and tense. Chinese women often use it combined with
dong quai as a menstrual regulator. Avoid using for menstrual cramps when
bleeding is heavy. It strengthens and relaxes the uterine muscles and eases
uterine cramping. It also reduces fevers, and is especially suggested for
illnesses associated with nervousness or delirium. Motherwort was formerly
used to treat rheumatism and lung problems, like bronchitis and asthma.
Motherwort may help an overactive thyroid but does not depress normal thyroid
function. Tincture the leaves and flowers as soon as you pick them. If you
prefer to dry them, lay the leaves and stalks onto screens. Motherwort tea
has a very bitter taste. Chinese medicine uses the seeds to aid in urination;
cool the body system; treat excessive menstrual flow, absence of

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,) 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

Yìmǔcǎo enters the Bladder, Heart and Liver meridians in
TCM theory. As a blood invigorator, it is currently used to regulate
menstruation involving blood stasis, for post partum abdominal pain, for Damp
heat skin conditions, and as a diuretic to reduce swelling and oedema.

Also like Antispasmodic;
Astringent; Birthing aid; Cardiac;
Diaphoretic; Emmenagogue; Homeopathy;
Nervine; Sedative; Stomachic;

Motherwort is especially valuable in the treatment of female weaknesses and
disorders, allaying nervous irritability, inducing quiet and passivity of the
whole nervous system. It is also seen as a remedy for heart palpitations, it
has a strengthening effect, especially on a weak heart. The antispasmodic and
sedative effects promote relaxation rather than drowsiness. The leaves are
antispasmodic, astringent, cardiac, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, nervine,
sedative, stomachic, tonic and uterine stimulant. They are taken internally
in the treatment of heart complaints (notably palpitations) and problems
associated with menstruation, childbirth and menopause, especially of nervous
origin. Although an infusion can be used, the taste is so bitter that the
plant is usually made into a conserve or syrup. An alcoholic extract is said
to possess superior action to valerian (Valeriana officinalis). The plant has
been found effective in the treatment of functional heart complaints due to
autonomic imbalance, and also as an anti-thyroid treatment, though it needs
to be taken for several months for these effects to be noticed. The whole
herb is harvested in August when in flower and can be dried for later use. It
should not be prescribed in the earlier stages of pregnancy or where periods
are heavy. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the
treatment of heart complaints, amenorrhoea, menopausal problems and

Biologically active substances

The herb contains the alkaloid
leonurine, which is a mild vasodilator and has a relaxing effect on smooth
muscles. For this reason, it has long been used as a cardiac tonic, nervine,
and an emmenagogue. Among other biochemical constituents, it also contains
bitter iridoid glycosides, diterpinoids, flavonoids (including rutin and
quercetin), tannins, volatile oils, and vitamin A.

Indigenous medicinal plants in databases

Albastrele Centaurea cyanus L.

Albumeala Gnaphalium

uliginosum L.

Alun Corylus avellana L.

Angelica Angelica arhangelica L.

Ardei Capsicum annuum L.

Arin Alnus incana Moanch.

Armurariu Silybum marianum


Aronie Aronia melanocarpa

(Michx.) Elliot

Centers, institutes, research labs of medicinal plants


1. ^ Kuhn, Merrily A.; Winston,
David; Marderosian, Ara Harold, Der (2000). Herbal therapy supplements: a
scientific traditional approach. Philadelphia: Lippincott. pp. 232. ISBN

Blanchan, Neltje (2005). Wild Flowers Worth Knowing. Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation.

Lust, John The Herb Book (1974) New York, New York: Bantam.

Moore, Michael Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West (1979) Santa Fe, New
Mexico: The Museum of New Mexico Press

Tierra, Michael The Way of Herbs (1980) New York, New York: Pocket

Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year (1986)
Woodstock, New York.

Genetic characteristics

2n = 18

Gathering place (figure should be increased)

Leonurus cardiaca L.

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