Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Motherwort
As its Latin name cardiaca suggests, motherwort has traditionally been used to treat heart conditions. The ancient Greeks and Romans employed motherwort to treat heart palpitations as well as depression, which they considered a problem of the heart. Centuries later, Europeans would believe motherwort helpful for "infirmities of the heart" but also considered the herb to have strengthening and stimulating effects on the uterus, using it to bring on a delayed menstrual period, as an aid during labor, and to relax a woman's womb after childbirth. Chinese medicine also uses it for the stimulating effects it can have on the uterus.
Effect of Motherwort on Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Germany's Commission E has authorized motherwort for the treatment of rapid or irregular heatbeat caused by anxiety and stress, as well as part of an overall treatment plan for an overactive thyroid ( hyperthyroidism, a condition that also causes irregualr heartbeat).3
If a irregular heartbeat is a symptoms of your GAD, perhaps motherwort could help in your treatment regime.
Side Effects and Warnings
The safety of motherwort has not been well studied; however, obvious Motherwort side effects appear to be rare. Some people have reported occasional allergic reactions and gastrointestinal distress.
Because of the herb's traditional use for uterine stimulation and the corroborating results of some test tube studies,1 motherwort should not be used by pregnant women until further scientific investigation has been performed.
In addition, preliminary animal evidence suggests that women with a history of breast cancer, or those at high risk for developing it, should avoid motherwort.2 Safety in young children, nursing women, or people with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.
- Blumenthal M, ed. The Complete German Commission E Monographs, Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin TX: American Botanical Council; Boston, Ma: Integrative Medicine Communications; 1998: 172.