Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) has distinct quadrangular, grooved, hollow stem. Motherwort has small flowers, dark green leaves, triangluar brown fruit, and an unpleasant smell. It originated in central Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, and central Asia; it can now be found in the United States. Motherwort is a member of the Lamiaceae family. The whole above ground part of the motherwort plant can be used medicinally. Motherwort constituents include leonurine, stachydrine, and ursolic acid. The plant acts as a sedative as well as demonstrating antiviral, cardiac-inhibitory, and antispasmodic effects. It also stimulates uterine tone and blood flow. Motherwort is a traditional Chinese medicine for nervous heart complaints and the thyroid.
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Cautions Orally, use of motherwort in amounts greater than 3 grams can cause diarrhea, stomach irrititation, and uterine bleeding.