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Everyone Ought to Have a Little Mother[wort] Around the House

By Susun Weed

"Everyone ought to have a little mother around the house," grandmother Edith would frequently say. The mother she meant is motherwort, a 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. It continued as motherwort 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.

Use motherwort regularly during your menopausal years.

Lessen the severity, frequency and duration of hot flashes. Motherwort regulates and tones the functioning of the thyroid, blood vessels, liver, heart and uterus. For best results, use five to 25 drops of tincture daily for three 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 to 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 to 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 to 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 toning 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, and relieve uterine pain. Motherwort tincture is my favorite remedy for women with uncomplicated menstrual cramps. I find five to 10 drops usually eases cramps in five to 10 minutes. Repeat every 10 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 to 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, edema. Small, frequent doses of motherwort will reduce bloating in a few hours. For chronic care, use a dropperful/1 ml a day for three to six 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 (five to 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.

Dosage Use motherwort as a tincture of the fresh flowering plant, 15 to 25 drops, one to six times a day. Use the vinegar of the fresh plant, one to two tablespoons/15-30 ml, as desired.

Cautions 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.”

© Susun Weed. Excerpted from NEW Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way by Susun Weed. For permission to reprint this article, .

Susun Weed has been living the simple life for more than 30 years as an herbalist, goat keeper, author, homesteader and feminist. See Susun's complete Wise Women Herbal Series books. Visit and



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