Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Herb of the Week: Motherwort

By Molly Sams

As I have had the opportunity to learn about herbs, I have decided to begin a weekly update of herbs I have taken an interest in and what I have learned. Of course it will be somewhat beginner-y but hopefully it will help those who are also just starting out and maybe even be a nice refresher for those herbal authorities out there.

Motherwort is often used for problems surrounding pregnancy such as pain, post partum depression, and stress before and after labor. It has also been used for other conditions such as heart problems and thyroid disorders.

Motherwort or “mother’s herb,” named by the Greeks, has been used to ease PMS and pain during childbirth. Motherwort is incredibly bitter and often taken as a tincture or flavored with tea. Susan Weed suggests using motherwort 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.” Weed also suggests not taking motherwort during your pregnancy or the heavier days of your period since it promotes blood flow.

Motherwort is also used to help with thyroid issues. Since it can calm heart palpitations, anxiety, and induce appetite (because of its bitter taste) it has been used to regulate symptoms of thyroid disorders and bring balance to the body.

Those with heart problems such as high blood pressure also use motherwort to alleviate symptoms. “Several species have sedative effects, decreasing muscle spasms and temporarily lowering blood pressure,” Susan Weed. By taking a tincture or tea throughout the day, motherwort may help.

One of the most important lessons I have learned while studying herbalism is that every plant has a purpose. Most of the time, it has several. Motherwort, much like its namesake, offers many different ways to treat the body.


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