Motherwort

Leonurus cardiaca L.
Synonym: Cardiaca vulgaris Moench.

Other common names: Throwwort, cowthwort, lion's-tail, lion's-ear.
Habitat and range: Motherwort, naturalized from Europe and a native also of Asia, is found about dwellings and in waste places, its range in this country extending from Nova Scotia to North Carolina, Minnesota, and Nebraska.

Description. The rather stout, erect, 4-angled stem of this perennial herb attains a height of from 2 to 5 feet, is sparingly hairy, and has upright branches. The rough, dark-green leaves are borne on long stems, the lower ones rounded, about 2 to 4 inches wide and three to five lobed, the lobes pointed, toothed, or variously cut, the upper narrower ones three cleft with lance-shaped lobes. Motherwort flowers in summer, the pale-purple or pinkish lip-shaped blossoms produced in the axils of the leaves being arranged in dense circles around the stem; the upper lip is densely covered with white, woolly hairs on the outside and the lower lip is three lobed and mottled. Motherwort belongs to the mint family (Menthaceae).

Collection, prices, and uses: The leaves and flowering tops are collected during the flowering season. They have an aromatic odor and a very bitter taste. At present they bring about 3 to 5 cents a pound.
Motherwort has stimulant, slightly tonic properties and is used also to promote perspiration.


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