How I see you…
Being introduced to you with the name of Motherwort certainly guided my perception of you from the start. Knowing that wort just means plant- you are the Mother Plant I asked? The Plant for Mothers? Yes, both, and so much more. Each day I lean into you, I learn something new. When friends are having stagnant, painful periods with much cramping, I give them a tincture of you. When I am feeling emotionally unstable, I also take your tincture. I dry your aerial parts for tea and the bitterness works for me. Grounding, so grounding.
You are very nourishing, Motherwort. And how easy you are to grow, too! Can these two things be related? You came all the way from Asia and Southeastern Europe, where so many of our herbal allies were born, and have made yourself quite at home here in North America. Your leaves start out fat and full and bushy, then your stems begin to lengthen and your leaves narrow, completely changing shape as the season progresses. I love how you grow in both sun and shade and will flower in both places. You don’t stand as erect in the shade, but your flowers are a deeper pink and still prolific. I wish I had planted you out of the afternoon light and heat- you don’t seem to like that so much.
I know you. You will, if given space, make a forest of yourself. Your cousin from Siberia even more so! June is the time I harvest your little forest. Thank you for being so abundant. Your petite pink flowers are as soft as down. I eat them one by one, going about it slowly so as not to get pricked by your seed cases while receiving this tender offering. I see how your hairy square stems can have 2 red sides and 2 green sides, indicating the direction they are facing. Your seed vessel grasps your stem on either side, reminding me of lungs, or ovaries, or testicles.
The Lionhearted One and Leonurus cardiaca are two of your other names, attesting to the strength and courage you bestow unto the heart. I know better than to think you are just a woman’s herb, even though you have immense powers in working with the female reproductive system. We humans all have hearts that can break and do, and you help us digest the bitterness of heartbreak, keeping the channels open so we do not shut down.
Motherwort, you guide our pain to travel from our heart to our root—our pelvic floor—and then back into our heart center. This journey is what can transform grief into wisdom. What big medicine you carry, connecting our hearts to our reproductive organs, and in so doing balance our base desires with our best selves. In combination with Rose, Hawthorne and Vanilla, you are the elixir for our heart’s opening and greatest health. I have heard it said that you can open our hearts to secret loves…
When I process your aerial parts, it can hurt! You are both soft and spiky and bits of your prickles come off on my fingers like briars. Ouch! I need to be very mindful in working with you. You support the softening of my rigid edges. The bittersweetness of life is mirrored in your form and taste. Hard to deal with at times, just like the bitter truth.
You’ve asked us through your qualities to not take you much during pregnancy, or if we have fibroids or endometriosis, or tend to have a heavy menstrual flow. You really help us get it all out- the blood, sweat and tears. Maybe that is why you also help us sleep well.
Motherwort, you keep us calm and steady while riding the waves of life. Even though you are profoundly moving energy, you simultaneously offer emotional stability. By giving our nerves the support they need to be in integrity, you help us hear the story of our own hearts. Thank you, Motherwort.