Many of us know this plant as a “malicious weed,” dog nettle. And herbalists and therapists call it motherwort and consider it the best medicinal plant for women's health, cardiac and nervous systems. By the way, the ancient Greeks knew about the healing properties of dog nettles, they respected this plant in Russia, and Tibetan monks used it for treatment two thousand years ago.
What does motherwort look like
Motherwort is a perennial upright plant from the same family as mint (Iasnatkovye), although neither taste nor smell, does not at all resemble a fragrant relative. On the contrary, it is very bitter, and its smell is not the most pleasant. An adult plant in favorable conditions can form in a tall (almost 2 meters), branched grass bush with hollow stems. In some people, contact with the dark green “shaggy” motherwort leaves results in itching and allergies.
At the end of June, small flowers of pink, purple or white appear on the bushes. The flowering period of motherwort continues throughout the summer. As a rule, thickets of this grass are found in moist places, not far from garbage dumps, on gravel and limestone soil. This picky plant can appear in both sunny and dark areas of wastelands - hence its name. But the Latin name of this plant is translated as “lion's tail”, since during flowering it resembles the brush of a lion's tail.
What is useful for humans
In terms of chemistry, motherwort is a combination of essential oils, alkaloids, glycosides, iridoids, flavonoids, terpenoids, coffee, citric and malic acids, tannins, choline and vitamin A.
Studies by the Chinese indicated that the beneficial chemicals usually found in motherwort reach their maximum concentration during the flowering period of grass. By the way, in ancient China, she enjoyed the fame of the plant centenarians. In Greece, motherwort infusions were given to pregnant women to facilitate the birth process and calm the nerves after the birth of the baby. By the way, the Greeks called this plant "mother grass." In addition, the ancient Greeks used motherwort to strengthen the heart. And in medieval Europe, this herb was known as a medicine for cattle.
Today, this medicinal herb is known as:
- heart tonic;
- stimulating menstruation;
Motherwort is considered useful for the treatment of mild forms of bazedovy disease. It has antioxidant and immunostimulating properties, has a positive effect on the central nervous system. It is known that the juice of this herb accelerates the elimination of toxins from the body, and also improves the functioning of the kidneys, liver, gall and bladder.
But best of all, motherwort is known as grass for the heart (the name of one of the varieties of this plant is motherwort). Its extract is useful in the treatment of chronic cardiovascular disease in the elderly. Some varieties of dog nettles have a sedative effect, reduce muscle cramps and lower blood pressure. Studies have shown that herb extract slows blood coagulation, prevents thrombosis, reduces the amount of fat in the blood, and also soothes a heartbeat that is too fast.
Herbalists use this plant to treat rheumatism, bronchitis and asthma.
Herb extract helps with hyperactivity of the thyroid gland, but at the same time it is completely safe for healthy people, since it does not affect the healthy secretion of thyroid hormones. In traditional Chinese medicine, motherwort seeds are known as an effective diuretic. Among other useful properties - the ability to accelerate metabolism, improve digestion, relieve intestinal cramps and reduce swelling. This plant will protect men from prostate adenoma and problems with potency.
Benefits for the cardiovascular and nervous system
Many herbalists believe that in nature there is no other plant more useful for the heart and nervous system. The alkaloids contained in the motherwort have a mild vasodilating effect, and also have a relaxing effect on smooth muscles, including the heart. It is scientifically confirmed that canine nettle extract lowers cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, which is also important for the healthy functioning of the cardiovascular system. With a mild diuretic effect, motherwort regulates blood pressure. In addition, it inhibits arterial calcification.
This herb has sedative properties, improves sleep, relieves anxiety, regulates the heartbeat. Tea from it is useful for neuralgia and chronic fatigue. By the way, motherwort has more powerful sedative properties than valerian or lily of the valley. The digestive system will also benefit from this tea. In particular, dog nettle herbal medicine improves well-being with indigestion and inflammation of the intestine.
Women's Health Benefits
To treat female diseases, herbalists use flowering tops, leaves and stems of the plant. Decoctions and infusions of them are useful for the treatment of:
- uterine fibroids;
- ovarian cysts;
- postpartum depression;
It was found that special chemicals contained in motherwort gently affect the uterus in case of cycle disorders. The same herb, according to herbalists, is useful for women with painful menstruation. Infusions and decoctions of motherwort help to combat anxiety, tachycardia, hot flashes, headaches and dizziness, sleep disturbances caused by PMS or menopause. In addition, researchers suggest that motherwort reduces the risk of developing uterine cancer, prevents infertility, improves the fertility of the female body, and also facilitates contractions. After childbirth, the plant extract is useful for calming the nerves, preventing postpartum depression (but during this period the grass can be taken only with the permission of the doctor, so as not to cause bleeding).
During pregnancy, dog nettle is strictly prohibited, as it can provoke a miscarriage. Motherwort should be abandoned and women with heavy menstruation (since it can further increase bleeding).
Daily rate and dosage
As a sedative or diuretic, motherwort is used in a ratio of 1-2 teaspoons of dried grass per glass of boiling water. The medicine is considered ready after 10 minutes of infusion. Herbalists do not recommend consuming more than 2 glasses of such tea per day. A single dosage - 1 tablespoon of infusion. For children under 2 years of age, drugs from dog nettles are prohibited. Given that motherwort is a very bitter herb, the unpleasant taste of the infusion can be improved with honey (sugar) and lemon. As for alcohol tinctures, in this form motherwort can be taken no more than 3 times a day, 2-6 ml.
As already mentioned, herbal extract is prohibited during pregnancy, immediately after surgery, as well as for people with bleeding disorders. Persons taking synthetic drugs for heart treatment should also consult a doctor before drinking phytomedicine, as in some cases incompatibility of substances is possible.
In people with diseases of the digestive system while eating motherwort, stomach irritation, cramping, or diarrhea can occur.
In some cases, contact with fresh motherwort leaves can cause an allergic reaction, and sometimes severe dermatitis. Plant juice applied to the skin enhances sensitivity to UV radiation, which can lead to sunburn.
How to harvest
This medicinal plant is best harvested during the flowering period, when its juice contains the most useful substances. It is advisable to take tall plants (reaching half a meter in height) and with a stem thickness of half a centimeter. As a healing potion, only the tops of dog nettles are suitable. After collection, they are spread evenly on paper in a warm, but ventilated place and turn over from time to time. In order to maintain maximum therapeutic components in the grass, it is important to avoid direct sunlight during the drying period. Properly dried grass can be stored for 3 years.
Motherwort medicine at home
From the motherwort, you can prepare different dosage forms:
- alcohol tincture;
Water infusions and syrups from the ground part of the plant are useful as a tonic for the heart and female reproductive system. Alcohol tincture from leaves and flowers is useful for eliminating various infectious diseases, and it is useful to rinse eyes with a motherwort decoction in case of conjunctivitis, inflammation or banal eye fatigue.
Infusion for hypertension
This medicine is useful for hypertensive patients. An infusion of 3 tablespoons of herbs and a glass of boiling water (insist at least an hour and a half) is taken three times a day for a tablespoon. To increase the effectiveness of the drug, it is advisable to drink it on an empty stomach.
For 30 g of fresh leaves of motherwort take 250 ml of alcohol (or vodka, cognac, gin). The leaves are crushed and poured with alcohol. Insist in a glass container in a dark place for a month. The finished medicine is taken 10 drops per day.
In severe cases, you can drink 10 drops three times a day. Useful for tachycardia, hysteria, panic attacks, gastritis.
Means against gastrointestinal diseases
If you pour 2 tablespoons of motherwort with half a liter of boiling water and insist for 2 hours, you will get a remedy for the digestive system. Such a medicine can be taken three times a day for 2 tablespoons (preferably before meals).
A decoction of 3 parts of the sacred Vitex, 2 parts of viburnum, motherwort and smilax root, as well as 1 part of dried oat stems will help relieve irritability during PMS, pain in the chest and adjust the cycle in women. For infusion, you need 2-3 teaspoons of a mixture of herbs and a glass of boiling water. You can drink 2-4 cups of such a drink per day. As a medicine, they start drinking tea on the day of ovulation and continue to take it until the first day of the next cycle.
To prepare this medicine you will need motherwort, mint, green walnut skins, valerian root (all in 1 part) and hawthorn berries (2 parts). Pour a tablespoon of such a phytomix with a glass of boiling water. After half an hour, strain. Ready-to-use medicine is taken in 100 ml twice daily before meals. The duration of the treatment course is a month. After 10 days rest repeat.
The medicine for vegetovascular dystonia
In equal parts mix melissa, St. John's wort, valerian root and motherwort. For 2 teaspoons of the herbal mixture, take a glass of boiling water. Insist at least 15 minutes. Drink half a glass before bedtime.
Use in the food industry
Fresh or dried motherwort flowers are sometimes used as a seasoning for soups. Especially go well with peas and lentils. At one time, brewers added motherwort flowers to beer as an aromatic component. And for herbal tea, it is equally useful to use the flowers and leaves of the plant - both fresh and dried.
Benefits in cosmetology
Due to its unique chemical composition, motherwort is a good raw material for cosmetics.
A decoction of dog nettles is especially useful for oily hair. To rinse the curls, a decoction prepared from a tablespoon of grass and a liter of water is suitable (cook for 5 minutes, then insist 3 hours). Dilute the finished infusion with 3 liters of pure water. Rinse clean hair with the resulting liquid.
Motherwort, nettle and oak (in a ratio of 1: 2: 2) are also a good remedy for hair, in particular, a decoction of these plants with regular rinsing makes the hair shiny and prevents hair loss. Instead of nettles, you can also take burdock root.
You can restore the shine and healthy appearance to dry hair with a vegetable mask. In equal portions, mix castor oil, tinctures of calendula and motherwort, add a little water. This tool must be applied to the hair and hold for about an hour.
Weakened hair can also be strengthened with plants. For this, motherwort, oak bark and onion peel are taken in equal amounts. 5 tablespoons of the mixture will need 1 liter of water. Steam for about an hour. Cool the broth and strain. Rub into scalp before washing.
Motherwort is useful for combating juvenile eels. The juice of this plant has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, prevents excessive secretion of sebum, and tightens pores. To treat a rash, it is useful to add motherwort, chamomile, sage and oak bark boiled in 2 liters of water. It is enough to take herbal ingredients of 50 g each. A decoction of sage, linden flowers and dog nettles is useful to wipe the face, and grass grounds can be used as a mask for problem skin. To improve the complexion, you can make a mask of yeast, cream, honey and a few drops of alcohol tincture of motherwort. Gruel a little steam for a couple and apply for 20 minutes on the skin. Remove mask residues with a cotton swab dipped in milk or warm water.
As you can see, there are many ways to use motherwort in home cosmetics. By mixing herb extract with different ingredients, you can prepare useful products for skin and hair.
Herbal medicine in our life is far from the last place. Many, wanting to protect themselves from unnecessary "chemistry", seek to treat a variety of diseases with the help of medicinal herbs. And motherwort confidently occupied its niche in herbal medicine. Moreover, quite a long time.