Motherwort, a plant belonging to the mint (Lamiaceae) family, is used for its many medicinal purposes. The herb particularly tends towards the healing of women issues– hence the name! However, that is not to imply that it cannot be a beneficial herb for men too.
Motherwort is known for its ability to treat heart conditions, including heart palpitations, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, and anxiety-induced heart symptoms. It is also effective for treating the flatulence, asthma, menopause symptoms, the absence of menstrual periods, painful menstrual periods, cancer, insomnia, as well as hyperthyroidism. When applied directly to the skin, motherwort is believed to treat shingles, wounds, and itching.
The Motherwort herb is effective for reducing inflammation. It also contains antimicrobial and antioxidant abilities. In addition, it is also helpful for stimulating uterine contractions.
The Health Benefits of Motherwort
Here’s a closer look at the several amazing health benefits of motherwort:
Regulates a Rapid Heartbeat
For so many years, Motherwort has been used to treat a rapid heartbeat. In fact, the herb was used it to treat heart palpitations, and rapid or irregular heartbeat necessitated by stress or anxiety. Some studies also suggest that hyperthyroidism can result in an irregular heartbeat, and fortunately, motherwort can be effective in the treatment of this heart-related health condition. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the consumption of motherwort steeped in boiling water – strained and cooled – can help in regulating rapid heartbeat.
Treats High Blood Pressure
Some studies have determined that motherwort can help people suffering from not just anxiety but high blood pressure. In fact, these studies suggest that motherwort can help treat high blood pressure as well as psychological health issues such as anxiety.
Improves Anxiety Symptoms
Regulates the Menstrual Cycle
Although more research is needed, some studies suggest that motherwort may have some positive effects on the uterus. The herb may actually be effective in regulating the menstrual cycle and relaxing the uterus after childbirth. In fact, in some parts of China, women drink syrups made from motherwort to hasten the recovery of the uterus after giving birth.
Increases Milk Supply in New Mothers
Motherwort is actually one of the many herbs that are believed to help increase lactation in new mothers. While this may be anecdotal with no controlled scientific studies to back up those claims, the herb is believed to increase milk supply.
Eases Labor Pains
Motherwort should not be used until labor but it has shown to ease early labor pains if they start prematurely. The herb can also help alleviate the anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and tension associated with labor. In fact, after childbirth, motherwort can help the uterus relax.
Motherwort may help reduce inflammation by slowing down the release of a host of pro-inflammatory compounds. Given this benefit, the study also concluded that motherwort may help control inflammatory diseases.
Possesses Cancer-Fighting Properties
Motherwort may contain cancer-fighting properties as it may help induce apoptosis, a type of programmed cell death necessary for preventing the proliferation of cancer cells. However, it should be noted that more research is needed before motherwort can be recommended as a treatment or prevention of cancer.
Side Effects and Precautions
While motherwort contains a number of health benefits, it may lead to certain side effects, such as low blood pressure, diarrhea, uterine contractions, uterine bleeding, drowsiness, irregular heart rhythm, and sedation. In fact, people who suffer from low blood pressure should avoid the use of motherwort. Also, due to the effects of motherwort on the uterus, pregnant women are advised not to take motherwort. Breastfeeding mothers also should not consume motherwort.
Here are some precautions to take:
- Motherwort, when applied to the skin, may worsen the skin’s sensitivity to the sun and increase the risk of sun damage too.
- Since there isn’t enough research on the effects of motherwort in humans, it is not clear whether the herb is safe to be used regularly for long periods of time. It is not also clear how it might interact with medication or even other supplements. In fact, motherwort is believed to have antiplatelet activity, which means it shouldn’t be used by people who suffer from bleeding disorders. People taking blood-thinners such as warfarin should avoid the use of motherwort too.
- Motherwort also affects heart rate and rhythm, so it should not be used in combination with other medications without talking with your doctor.
- The herb should also not be taken with sedative medications.
- Do not use motherwort as a replacement for conventional treatment for any condition as it may be harmful to your health.
- Remember that dietary supplements have not been tested for safety and are mostly unregulated.
- Also, like it was mentioned earlier, motherwort may not be a safe supplement for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and even children.
- People with medical conditions or who are already on medications should talk first with their doctor before using the herb.
The Bottom Line
Motherwort is believed to help with a range of health conditions, such as insomnia, anxiety, flatulence, menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and hyperthyroidism. Also, when applied to the skin, motherwort helps to promote a healthy skin. In addition, the herb may be effective for regulating menstrual periods and stimulating uterine blood flow.
Motherwort is available in dietary supplement form and is a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. The herb also contains leonurine, a compound believed to help promote the relaxation of blood vessel walls.
You can purchase motherwort in tea, tablet, tincture, or capsule form from drugstores, natural-foods stores, and stores that specialize in dietary supplements. You can also purchase motherwort supplements online.
Having said all these, it is important to keep in mind that there isn’t enough clinical research on the effects and safety of motherwort. Therefore, if you’re planning on using the herb to treat any health condition, check with your doctor first.