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Leonurus sibiricus - L.

Common Name Chinese Motherwort, Honeyweed
Family Lamiaceae or Labiatae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards See the notes under medicinal uses.
Habitats Stony and steppe slopes, pine forests and occasionally as a weed of cultivated land[74]. By the sea shore and along the margins of marshes and pools[178].
Range E. Asia - China, Japan, Korea, Siberia.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Leonurus sibiricus Chinese Motherwort, Honeyweed

Leonurus sibiricus Chinese Motherwort, Honeyweed


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Leonurus sibiricus is a ANNUAL/BIENNIAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.6 m (2ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower from July to September, and the seeds ripen in September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.



 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root.
Edible Uses:

Young shoots - cooked[105, 177, 183]. A sweetish flavour[179]. Root - cooked with other foods[177, 183]. This probably means that it is used as a flavouring[K].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antibacterial;  Antispasmodic;  Astringent;  Cardiac;  Depurative;  Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  Emmenagogue;  
Hypnotic;  Nervine;  Oxytoxic;  Stimulant;  Stomachic;  Tonic.

Chinese motherwort is unusual amongst Chinese herbs in that it is often prescribed for use on its own and not in a mixture with other plants[238]. The whole plant is antibacterial, antispasmodic, astringent, cardiac, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypnotic, nervine, oxytocic, stomachic, tonic, uterine stimulant[4, 9, 21, 46, 165, 174, 178, 192, 279]. The seeds have a similar action to the plant, but are a less effective diuretic and depurative[238]. The plant is used in the treatment of painful and excessive menstruation, post-partum bleeding, oedema, kidney complaints, kidney stones, eczema and abscesses[238, 240]. A tincture is used in the treatment of rheumatic fever[192]. The plant stimulates uterine contractions and should not therefore be used when in the earlier stages of pregnancy[240]. The plant is harvested when in flower but before the seeds have set, and is dried for later use[238]. The plant contains about 0.05% of an alkaloid called leonurine[240]. This has a curare-like effect on the motor-endings of the nervous system, acting in small doses as a stimulant to the respiratory system but in large doses causing respiratory paralysis[240].

Other Uses


Yields an essential oil[46]. No more details are given.

Cultivation details

Prefers a well-drained moist soil in sun or partial shade[238]. Prefers a poor soil[108]. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c[238]. There is some confusion over the correct name for this species, it should quite probably be called L. japonicus.


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Seed - sow late spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Chef Phuah   Sun Dec 11 2005

This plant is call Kacang Ma in Sarawak, Malaysia. It used in chinese and native family. Normally we used it for cook the chicken with ginger and rice wine. It is very heaty after consume

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