Botanical Name: Leoncrus cardiaea Family: Labiatae

Common name(s): Motherwort, Lion’s-tail


  • Perennial; herbaceous | Zone 4-8 | 2-4 feet tall | Lavender flowers in whorls along the stem from June-September
  • Full sun to full shade| No special soil needs| Grows near streams and rivers


Harvest the aerial parts during flowering


Infusion: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons of the fresh or dried herb and let steep for 10-15 minutes. Drink 3x/day.

Tincture: 1-4ml 3x/day


Constituents: Alkaloids, essential oil, bitter principle and glycosides, iradoids,  flavonoids, rutin, tanin, resin, organic acids

Actions: Antispasmodic, cardiac tonic, carminativ, diuretic, emmenagogue, nervine

Uses: Suppressed menstruation, improving blood circulation, heart issues including arteriosclerosis, nervousness, insomnia

Cautions: Avoid during pregnancy since it promotes bleeding


Bitter, spicy, slightly cold


  • The Way of Herbs, Michael Tierra
  • Holistic Herbal, David Hoffmann
  • Homegrown Herbs, Tammi Hartung
  • photo credit: jerryoldenettel CAC002855a via photopin (license)

I picked up this plant once from a group of “herbs growing on the property but not labelled” at Pickety Place in NH. Now it is growing all over the place on my property. In Tammi’s book, she says to make sure to cut back the plant to 3 inches after harvesting because it self seeds aggressively. I can attest to that! But it’s medicinal, so I don’t mind.