The Analgesic Effects of Motherwort

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A study of the analgesic effects of motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) has provided a rationale for it’s use in pain and inflammatory disorders. The study, published in International Scholarly Research Notices, focused on the antinociceptive properties of Leonurus cardiaca extract using the formalin, tail flick and hot plate tests in mice. 

The study data showed that acute treatment of mice with an ethanolic extract at doses of 500 and 250 mg/kg produced a significant antinociceptive effect in the first and second phases of formalin test, respectively. The hot plate and tail flick tests showed an increase in the antinociceptive effect at a dose of 500 mg/kg. These results suggest that Leonurus cardiaca possesses central and peripheral antinociceptive actions.

Motherwort is an important medicinal plant species with dramatic pharmaceutical value. It has been consumed in Asian countries as a traditional remedy against nervous and functional cardiac disorders for centuries.The aerial parts contain ingredients including monoterpenes, phenylpropanoids, flavonoids, phenolic acids, volatile oils, sterols, and tannins. Researchers believe some of these compounds may be responsible for motherworts analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that may act like NSAIDs.

The results obtained in this study indicate that L. cardiaca possesses analgesic properties, which are mediated through peripheral and central inhibitory mechanisms. This could provide a rationale for it’s use in pain and inflammatory disorders in folk medicine. Researchers are considering further studies to identify the chemical constituents of the plant for a better understanding of it’s mechanisms of action.


Wojtyniak K, Szymański M, Matławska I. Leonurus cardiaca L. (motherwort): a review of its phytochemistry and pharmacology. Phytother Res 2013;27(8):1115-1120.


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Danny Urbinder

Danny Urbinder has worked in the health industry for over 20 years. A qualified Naturopath who graduated from the Southern School of Natural Medicine, Danny was a lecturer in Nutritional Biochemistry at the Australian College of Natural Medicine for many years. He also worked for several years in functional pathology with ARL as their Technical Service Manager. Today, he is the Head of Education of one of Australia's leading nutraceutical companies.