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Sunday, February 12, 2012
MOTHERWORT - HERB OF ANCIENT USAGE: HEALTH BENEFITS AND USES OF MOTHERWORT
Motherwort is a native of mainland
Europe, but has become naturalized in the British Isles, as it was commonly grown in gardens for its medicinal properties. It is the only one of the Leonarus genus which grows wild now in the . When not in flower it can be mistaken for mugwort. UK
It is a member of the Labiatae or Lamiaceae family of plants and as such is a relative of mint, marjoram, basil and Holy basil, oregano, savory, thyme, lavender, lemon balm, bugle and hyssop among many others. It flowers between July and September and is best harvested and dried for later use in August.
Motherwort has been used in the past to flavour lentil and dried pea soups and a tisane may also be made from its flowering tops. However as Culpeper mentions, it tastes bitter and is best used in a conserve with honey or sugar to sweeten it.
borage, which tastes much better, it was used to gladden the heart and spirits, and was useful as a nervine and cardiac tonic. It was thought that it could keep evil spirits away, perhaps meaning that a person would not be overcome by melancholy.
Culpeper writing in the 17th century has this to say of its medicinal properties: -
It can be used as a diaphoretic to promote sweating, and in recovery from fevers. The tisane or infusion can help in cases of neuralgia and it was generally regarded as an excellent general tonic. However it is not much used these days.