by Susun S Weed
"Everyone ought to have a little Mother around the house," grandmother Edith would frequently say. The Mother she meant is motherwort, a locally common weed and a treasured ally to women stressed by menopausal problems.
Grandmother Edith's love affair with motherwort began when her hot flashes knocked her out in the supermarket, continued as it mended her husband's heart, and grew and grew as her five daughters found relief from PMS and menstrual cramps, constipation and the crazies with the help of the little Mother, motherwort.
Motherwort - Leonurus cardiaca - also called: Herzgespan, Agripaume cardiaque, Yi Mu Cao
Use motherwort regularly during your menopausal years to:
- Lessen the severity, frequency, and duration of hot flashes
Motherwort regulates and tonifies the functioning of the thyroid, blood vessels, liver, heart, and uterus. For best results use 5-25 drops of tincture daily for 3 months. But don't neglect to try a dropperful (in a splash of water) even after a flash has begun.
- Relieve faintness with flashes
Motherwort is traditionally used to relieve shortness of breath and congestion in the respiratory passages. She invigorates the circulation and increases oxygen in the blood. Use 15-25 drops of tincture as soon as you feel faint or dizzy.
- Ease stressed nerves, relieve anxiety
Motherwort calms, supports, and strengthens you the way the smell of your mother did when you were very young. Used regularly, motherwort feeds your nerves and your good common sense, relaxing and unclenching any held tension. Motherwort is not sedating, but calming, leaving you ready for action, not flying off the handle or bouncing off the walls. Ask motherwort to be your ally in tough times, in shaky times, in enraging times, in scary times, in depressed times, in grief-filled times. Try 10-20 drops as soon as you feel your nerves starting to fray or just before a stressful event. Repeat every five minutes if needed.
- Relieve insomnia and sleep disturbances
Use motherwort's high-calcium calming effect when you are awakened by night sweats and have difficulty getting back to sleep. Keep a glass of water and a bottle of motherwort tincture by your bed and take 10-15 drops and a swallow of water as soon as you wake, even if it's three times an hour. Motherwort eliminates the nightmares some women experience with their menopausal Change.
- Strengthen the heart, reduce palpitations and tachycardia
Motherwort calms a rapidly beating heart with readily usable minerals, trace elements, and an alkaloid exceptionally tonifying to the heart (and uterus). The German herbal doctor, Weiss, uses motherwort tincture for those with functional heart complaints. The botanical name translates as "lion-hearted." A dropperful/1 ml motherwort tincture acts quickly to ease palpitations and tachycardia. Regular use lowers hypertension, and sets you up to be a hale-hearted crone.
- Eliminate menstrual cramps
- Relieve uterine pain
Motherwort tincture is my favorite remedy for women with uncomplicated menstrual cramps. I find 5-10 drops usually eases cramps in five to ten minutes. Repeat every ten minutes as needed. Motherwort encourages strong (but not crampy) uterine contractions, which strengthen the uterine muscle. So the more you take motherwort to ease your cramps, the more toned your uterus becomes, and the less likely cramps are in the future.
- Restore thickness and elasticity to vaginal walls
Motherwort brings blood to the pelvis and thickens all tissues there (bladder, uterus, vagina). Noticeable results occur within a month of taking 10-15 drops daily.
- Lift depression
A dose of motherwort first thing in the morning is far kinder to your system than coffee and helps you ease into the day with a renewed sense of life.
- Reduce water retention, oedema
Small, frequent doses of motherwort will reduce bloat in a few hours. For chronic care, use a dropperful/1 ml a day for 3-6 weeks.
- Relieve constipation and extend life
There is a Japanese saying about the heirs of those who take motherwort: they are grumpy because they must wait so long for their inheritance. But does it really work? A small dose (5-10 drops as needed) does ease gas pain, encourage regular elimination, and improve digestion. That alone would make anyone want to live longer.
Bitter with minerals and alkaloids, motherwort is unwelcome in salads and nasty as an infusion, so it is used as a tincture, vinegar, or syrup. In Oriental herbalism, Yi Mu Cao is cooling, pungent, bitter.
Tincture of fresh flowering plant, 15-25 drops, 1-6 times a day.
Vinegar of fresh plant, 1-2 tablespoons/15-30 ml, as desired.
Motherwort can aggravate a tendency toward flooding. Do not use daily if you bleed heavily or are easily habituated to substances that make you feel really good. Motherwort is so soothing, so calming, that you may begin to lose some of your own standing and lean too heavily on your Mom.
Excerpt from Chapter 2 of "NEW Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way" by Susun S. Weed. This section on Motherwort appears as one of seven herbal allies for women in the midst of menopause (pp.113-115). The other six include: black cohosh, chaste tree, liferoot, sage, ginseng, and Dang Gui.
Ms. Weed's five herbal medicine books focus on women's health topics including menopause, childbearing, and breast health. Browse the publishing site www.wisewomanbookshop.com for books, DVDs, audio downloads and gifts. Visit her site www.susunweed.com for information on her workshops, apprenticeships, correspondence courses and more! Go to: www.wisewomanmentor.com for Susun's free herbal ezine and also mentorship offerings for those who want to go deeper.
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