Introduction of Yi Mu Cao:Motherwort Herb or Herba Leonuri.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Motherwort Herb, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its herbal classic book defined botanical source one plant species, ①.Leonurus japonicus Houtt., and other two usable plant species, ②.Leonurus sibiricus L., ③.Leonurus cardiaca L., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of these three plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of these three plant species, the features of the herb Motherwort Herb, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Herba Leonuri(Motherwort Herb).

Herba Leonuri:herb photo Pin Yin Name: Yì Mǔ Cǎo.
 English Name: Motherwort Herb.
 Latin Name: Herba Leonuri.
 Property and flavor: slightly cold, pungent, bitter.

 Brief introduction: The herb Herba Leonuri is the dried aerial part of Leonurus heterophyllus Sweet, used (1).to activate blood flow and regulate the menstrual discharge in cases of menstrual disorders, and (2).as a diuretic in cases of nephritic edema. The herb is commonly known as Herba Leonuri, Motherwort Herb, Yì Mǔ Cǎo.

 Botanical source: Herbal classic book defined the herb Motherwort as the whole herb of the Lamiaceae family plant species (1).Leonurus japonicus Houtt. Other famous herbal classics defined the herb Motherwort as the whole herb of the Lamiaceae family plant species (1). Leonurus japonicus Houtt., or (2). Leonurus sibiricus L., or (3). Leonurus cardiaca L. They are plants of the Leonurus genus, Lamiaceae family(Labiatae, mint family) of the Tubiflorae order. These 3 commonly used species are introduced:

(1).Leonurus japonicus Houtt.

 Leonurus japonicus Houtt.:flowering plant Botanical description: The Leonurus japonicus Houtt., is a plant of the Lamiaceae family(Labiatae, mint family) and Leonurus genus, it is commonly known as "Oriental motherwort", or "Chinese motherwort", or "Yì Mǔ Cǎo", annual or biennial herbs, the plant grows up to 60~100 cm. Stem is upright, tetragonal, hairy. Leaves are opposite; a variety of leaves; petiole is 0.5~8 cm long. Basal leaves of annual plants are with long stems, leaves are slightly rounded, 4~8 cm in diameter, 5-9-lobed, lobes are 2-3 cuspidate, base is cordate; stems middle leaves with a short handle, 3-cleavage, lobes are nearly lanceolate, the central lobes often have 3 cracks, 1~2 lobes on both sides of the lobes, the final piece width is usually 3 mm or more, apex is acuminate, margin is sparsely serrate or nearly entire; the uppermost part of the leaf is not divided, linear, nearly sessile, green at the upper part, strigose, greenish below, pubescent and glandular. Umbrella inflorescences are axillary, with 8~15 flowers; bracteoles are acinar, pedicellate; calyx is bell-shaped, outside is adaxially puberulent, apex is 5-toothed, spiny, lower 2 teeth above 2 teeth length, persistent; corolla lip, reddish or purple, 9~12 mm long, pilose outside, upper lip and lower lip are in equal lengths, upper lip is oblong, entire, margin is ciliate, lower lip has 3 cracks, central lobes are larger, inverted heart-shaped; 4 stamens, two strong, grow in the inner corolla near the middle of the filaments sparsely squamous, anther has 2 rooms; 1 pistil, ovary 4 crack, style is filiform, slightly longer than stamens, stigma 2 cracks. Nutlets are brown, triangular, apex is wide and truncate, base wedge, length 2~2.5 mm, the diameter is about 1.5 mm. Its flowering period is from June to September, fruiting from July to October.

 Ecological Environment: The Leonurus japonicus Houtt. grows in farmland, roadside, stream, or grassland hillsides, especially in the sunny zone, at areas with altitude up to 3,000 meters above sea level. Geographical distribution: This species is mainly distributed in many provinces of China, other areas of Asia include Cambodia, and is also distributed to North America and South America, Europe, and africa.

 Growth characteristics: The plant Leonurus japonicus Houtt prefers a warm and humid climate, and can be cultivated in the area below the altitude of 1,000 meters above sea level. The soil requirements are not strict, but the sandy loam is with sunshine, fertile and good drainage is suitable for cultivation.

 Motherwort Herb:herb photo Characters of herbs: Fresh motherwort: In the seedling stage, there is no stem, basal leaves are round and heart-shaped, 5~9 lobed, and each lobe has 2~3 blunt teeth. At the early stage of flowering, the stem is square column-shaped, the upper part is multi-branched, and the four sides are concave into longitudinal grooves, with a length of 30~60 cm and a diameter of 0.2~0.5 cm. The surface is turquoise, the texture of the herb is fresh and tender, with a pith in the middle of the fracture surface. The leaves are opposite, petiolate; The leaves are turquoise, fresh and tender, the texture is fresh and tender, and they have juice when kneaded; The lower stem leaves are palmately 3-lobed, the upper leaves are pinnately or shallowly divided into 3 pieces, and the lobes are whole or with a few serrations. The herb has a slight odor, it tastes slightly bitter.

 Dry motherwort: The surface of the stem is grayish-green or yellowish-green; the herb is light, the texture of the herb is tough and flexible, there is a pith in the middle of the cross-section. The leaves are gray-green, wrinkled, broken, and easy to fall off. The cymes are axillary, flowers are lilac, the calyx is tubular, the corolla is 2-lipped. The length of the segment is about 2 cm. The herb of better grade is tender, leafy and grayish-green.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.exciting effect on the uterus of various animals and can increase the frequency and amplitude of uterine contraction; ②.increase coronary flow and slow heart rate; ③.improve the microcirculation disorder and inhibit the experimental thrombosis; ④.improve kidney function, make urine volume increase significantl; ⑤.inhibiting dermatophytes.

 Medicinal efficacy: Activate blood circulation and regulating menstruation, remove blood stasis, eliminate water retention, induce diuresis and detumescence (reduce swelling), clear heat, and detoxify. It is indicated for menoxenia (irregular menses or irregular menstruation), dysmenorrhea (abdominal pain after menstruation) and menoschesis, threatened abortion and dystocia (difficult labour), lochiorrhagia, detention of the afterbirth, postpartum fainting of blood vertigo, abdominal pain of blood stasis, metrorrhagia and uterine bleeding, hematuria (blood urination), bloodletting, diarrhea, dysuria (difficult urination), edema and oliguria (less urine), carbuncle swelling sores, sores swelling toxic, traumatic injury, etc.

 Administration of Herba Leonuri (Yì Mǔ Cǎo): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Herba Leonuri (Yì Mǔ Cǎo)
TCM Books: ①.Internally:9~30 grams, fresh herb 12~40 grams; ②.Internally:water decoction,3~6 qian (about 9~18 grams), prepare to paste, or prepare to pill, powder. Externally: wash with water decoction, or mashed and apply stick; ③.Internally: water decoction,10~15 grams, prepare to paste or prepared to pill, powder. Externally: proper amount, wash with water decoction, or mashed and apply stick.
 Contraindications,Precautions and Adverse Reactions:should forbidden using the herb Herba Leonuri during pregnancy. The herb Herba Leonuri should not be prepared with ironware.

(2).Leonurus sibiricus L.

 Leonurus sibiricus L.:flowering plant Botanical description: The Leonurus sibiricus L., is a plant of the Lamiaceae family (Labiatae, mint family) and Leonurus genus, it is commonly known as Xì Yè Yì Mǔ Cǎo, or Thin-Leaf Motherwort, or "Siberian motherwort", annual or biennial herbs, the plant grows up to 80 cm. Stems are upright, tetragonal, strigose, leaves are opposite. Petiole length is 0.5~5 cm; the lower part of the leaves early fall, the central leaf is oval, palmately 3 cracked, about 5 cm, width 4 cm, lobes are an oblong whip, then pinnately split into 3-line linear small lobes, usually, 1~3 mm in width; uppermost lobe is distinctly 3-lobed, lobes are linear, subsessile, upper green, dioecious, many-flowered; pedicels are absent; bracteoles are aculeate, shorter than calyx tube, spiky, the calyx is bell-shaped, pilose outside, apex is 5-toothed, spiked, upper 3 teeth are shorter than 2 lower teeth, persistent. Corolla is lip-shaped, pink or purplish red, 15~20 mm long, outer is densely villous, the upper lip is about 1/4 longer than the lower lip, the lip is oblong, entire, the lower lip is 3-lobed, central lobe-shaped; 4 stamens, two strong, grows in the inner corolla near the middle of the filaments sparsely squamous hair, flowers have 2 rooms; 1 pistil, 4 ovary crack, style is filiform, slightly longer than the stamens, 2 stigma crack. Nutlets are brown, triangular, apex is wide and truncate, base is cuneate, about 2.5 mm. Its flowering period is from June to September, fruiting from July to October.

 Ecological Environment: The Leonurus sibiricus L., grows in the stone hillside, sandy grassland or a pine forest, at an area with an altitude of elevation up to 1,500 meters. Geographical distribution: This species is mainly distributed in the north area, west north, and other areas of China. This species is also distributed to other areas of Asia include Siberia, and nowadays is distributed to other parts of the world, including South, Central, and North Americas.

 Characters of herbs: The leaves in the middle of the stem are oval, the base is broadly wedge-shaped, palmately trifoliate, and the lobes are pinnately divided into linear lobules. The bract leaves on the inflorescence are obviously three-parted, and the lobules are linear. The herb of better grade is tender, leafy and grayish-green.

(3).Leonurus cardiaca L.

 Leonurus cardiaca L.:flowering plant Botanical description: The Leonurus cardiaca L. is a plant of the Lamiaceae family (Labiatae, mint family) and Leonurus genus, it is commonly known as "Greyish-white Motherwort", and other names are "throw-wort, lion's ear, and lion's tail", has a squarish stem which is clad in short hairs and is often purplish, especially near the nodes. The opposite leaves have serrated margins and are palmately lobed with long petioles; basal leaves are wedge-shaped with three points while the upper leaves have five. They are slightly hairy at the upper part and grayish beneath. Flowers appear in leaf axils on the upper part of the plant and have three-lobed bracts. The calyx of each flower is bell-shaped and has five lobes. The corolla is irregular, 8~12 mm (0.3 to 0.5 inches) long, fused, long-tubed with two lips. The upper lip is convex and covered with white hair and the lower lip is three-lobed and downward-curving and spotted with red. The flowers are pink to lilac often with furry lower lips. There are 4 stamens, two short and two longer, and the fruit is a four-chambered schizocarp. The plant grows to about 60~100 cm (24~39 inches) in height and blooms from July to August.

 Leonurus cardiaca L.:flowering plant Ecological Environment: The Leonurus sibiricus L. grows beside roadsides, in vacant fields, waste ground, rubbish dumps, and other disturbed areas. Geographical distribution: This species was originally from Central Asia and southeastern Europe, native to the southeastern part of Europe and Central Asia where it has been cultivated since ancient times, it is now found worldwide, spread largely due to its use as a herbal remedy.

 It is distinguished from all other British labiates by the leaves, which are deeply and palmately cut into five lobes or three-pointed segments, and by the prickly calyx-teeth of its flowers. When not in flower, it resembles Mugwort in the habit.

 From the perennial root-stock rise the square, stout stems, 2 to 3 feet (60.92~91.44 cm) high, upright and branched, principally below, the angles are prominent. The leaves are very closely set, the radical ones on slender, long petioles, ovate, lobed and toothed, those on the stem, 2 to 3 inches (5.08~7.62 cm) long, petioled, wedge-shaped; the lower is roundish, palmately five-lobed, the lobes trifid at the apex, the upper three-fid, coarsely serrate, reticulated veined, the veinlets are prominent beneath, with slender, curved hairs. The uppermost leaves and bracts are very narrow and entire, or only with a tooth on each side, and bear in their axils numerous whorls of pinkish, or nearly white, sessile flowers, six to fifteen in a whorl. The corollas, though whitish on the outside, are stained with paler or darker purple within. They have rather short tubes and nearly flat upper lips, very hairy at the upper part, with long, woolly hairs. The two front stamens are the longest and the anthers are sprinkled with hard, shining dots.

 The plant blossoms in August. It has a rather pungent odor and a very bitter taste. It is a dull green, the leaves are paler below, pubescent, especially on the angles of the stem and the underside of the leaves, the hairs varying much in length and abundance.

 The name of the genus, Leonurus, in Greek signifies a Lion's tail, from some fancied resemblance in the plant. The plant motherwort is also known by the name Lion's Ear. Motherwort originally came from the Central Asia area, but has now spread to all temperate areas of the world, primarily as a garden plant, but also as an escaped weed. The leaves and flowers of this mint family plant are used medicinally. In Chinese herbal medicine, the seeds are also employed. The use of Motherwort is practically the same in traditional Chinese herbal medicine and European folk medicine - to regulate menses and to treat associated conditions. The genus name Leonurus is derived from a Latin word "Leo", meaning "lions", and a Greek word "oura", meaning "tail", which describe the leaf's shaggy shape (like a lion's tail). The species name cardiaca is from the Greek word "kardiaca", meaning "heart". The Chinese name for this plant is "Yi Mu Cao", meaning "benefit mother herb".
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