Family • Labiatae / Lamiaceae - Leonurus sibiricus Linn. - MOTHERWORT - I-mu-tsao

Scientific names

Leonurus sibiricus Linn.
Stachys artemisiae Lour .

Other vernacular names

BANGLADESH: Raktodrone.
BRAZIL: Erva-macae.
CHINESE: Ch’Ung wei, Xi ye yi mu cao.
MALAYSIA: Kacang ma.
MAORI: Vavai tara.

Common names

Kamariang-sungsong (Tag.)
Honeyweed (Engl.)
Marihuanilla (Span.)
Motherwort (Engl.)
Lion’s tail (Engl.)
Ch’Ung Wei (Chin.)

Kamariang-sungsong is a rather coarse, erect, branched, somewhat hairy, annual herb, 60 to 120 centimeters high. Leaves are 5 to 10 centimeters long, pinnately or palmately 3- to many-parted; lobes are narrow and often incised, the upper leaves may be entire, linear and pale beneath. Flowers are crowded, occurring in numerous whorls. Calyx is about 7 millimeters long with triangular teeth. Corolla is about 1 centimeter long and red, the tube as long as the limb. Upper lip of the corolla is hooded and hairy, the lower equals the upper, and the two rounded lateral lobes.

– Found in the Batan Islands and northern Luzon to Mindanao.
– Widely scattered in waste places in and about towns.
– Introduced.
– Occurring in all warm countries.

– Fresh leaves yield a crystalline principle, leonurine, and fixed oil 0.5 %.
– Calyx contains a trace of aromatic oil.
– Seeds contain leonurinine, volatile oil and fatty oil.
– Plant yields alkaloids: cycloleonurinine, leoheterin, leonurine, leonurinine, leuronurine, prehispanolone, preleoheterin, stachydrine.
– Study of leaves yielded four major flavonoids: quercetin-3-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1>6)-β-D-galactopyranoside; rutin; hyperin, and isoquercetrin and three minor flavonoidic compounds- genkwanin, 3′-hydroxy genkwanin, and quercetin.
– Methanolic extract of aerial parts yielded two new phenols, yimunoside A and yimunol A, together with eight known compounds: 4-hydroxythiophenol, syringic acid, apigenin, luteolin-7-methylether, genkwanin, isoquercitrin, rutin, and 4-hydroxybenzoic acid.

– Considered antibacterial, antispasmodic, astringent, alterative, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, tonic, nervine, hypnotic, vulnerary and emmenagogue.
– Has earned the name “marihuanilla” in South America and Mexico, smoked as a mild intoxicant, the effect attributed to leonurine.

Parts used and preparation
Roots, leaves, seeds, and juice.

– Leaves and roots are edible; used as flavoring.
– Young shoots cooked, imparts a sweetish flavor.
– In Sarawak, herb used as a culinary ingredient.

– In the Philippines, decoction of the plant, taken internally as a diuretic.
– In Chinese medicine, all plants parts are used, especially the seeds. Used for postpartum hemorrhages and menstrual disorders. Used as a diuretic in the treatment of edema associated with acute nephritis.
– Juice of leaves used for hemoptysis; infusion used for hysteria.
– In Malacca, poultice of plant used for headaches.
– In India, roots, leaves, and juice are bitter; an infusion used as febrifuge.
– In Java, infusion in spirits administered after childbirth.
– Plant used to stimulate uterine contractions.
– Used as tonic, alterative, vulnerary and general remedy in puerperal and menstrual disorders.
– Used as emmenagogue.
– Leaves used for rheumatism.
– Juice used for psoriasis, scabies,various skin eruptions.
– Leaves ingested to relieve menstrual pain and excessive bleeding.
– Tinctures used for rheumatic fever.

Study Findings
• Antiplatelet Effect / Leonurine: Study isolated leonurine from the aerial part of Leonurus sibiricus var. albiflora. Leonurine showed significant invitro inhibition of rabbit platelet aggregation induced by thrombin, arachidoic acid and collagen.
• Toxicological Studies: Study of the dried kacangma herb showed indications of renal and liver toxicity in the medium and high dose group with associated histopath effects. In the low dose group, no significant toxicity was noted.
• Anti-Tumor Effects: Study evaluating the chemopreventive role of motherwort in lesions of the mammary gland and uterus of GR/A mice showed suppression of palpable mammary tumors and retardation of growth. There was no effect on pregnancy-dependent mammary tumors, mammary hyperplastic alveolar nodules or uterine adenomyosis.
• Anti-Inflammatory: Study investigating the anti-inflammatory effect of motherwort showed inhibition of secretion of TNF-a (tumor necrosis factor), IL-6 and IL-8 possibly by inhibiting NF-kB activation. Results indicate MW may be helpful in regulating inflammatory diseases. Study showed LS synergistically induces the production of NO and TNF-a by peritoneal macrophages when treated by recombinant IFN-[gamma](rIFN-[gamma]). Study results suggest LS influences NO and TNF-a production via NF–(kappa)B signaling pathway.
• Antibacterial: Study of carbon tetrachloride and chloroform extracts of LS aerial parts showed a broad spectrum of antibacterial activity.
• Hypolipidemic / Antioxidative / Anti-Atherogenic: Study showed LS herb extract supplementation may modulate lipoprotein composition and attenuate oxidative stress by elevated antioxidant processes with suppression of inflammatory mediators – a possible mechanism of an anti-atherogenic effect.
• Cytotoxicity Against Leukemia Cells / Furanoditerpene-Lactones: Study yielded two new and four known furanoditerpene-lactones from the aerial parts of Leonorus sibiricus. The compounds exhibited moderate cytotoxic activity against leukemia cells in tissue culture.
• NO and TNF-a Induction: Study showed LS synergistically induces the production of NO and TNF-a by peritoneal macrophages when treated by recombinant IFN-[gamma](rIFN-[gamma]). Study results suggest LS influences NO and TNF-a production via NF–(kappa)B signaling pathway.
• Toxicity Studies: Toxicity of LS was evaluated in acute and subchronic studies on New Zealand male and female rabbits. No toxicity was seen on consumption at rate of 0.5 g/kbw (low dose) on a 90-day subchronic study. Some indications of renal and liver toxicities were noted in the medium and high dose groups.
• In Vitro Cytotoxicity / Anthelmintic: Study investigated the cytotoxic and anthelmintic activities of dried leaves and roots of Leonurus sibiricus. The crude methanolic extract and fractions showed significant cytotoxic activities. Crude methanol extract of roots also showed very good anthelmintic activities against earthworm Pheritima posthuma.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Studies on the Constituents of Leonurus sibiricus L. / Satoh M, Satho Y, Isobe K, Fujimoto Y / Chem Pharm Bull, VOL.51;NO.3;PAGE.341-342(2003)

(2) Leonurus sibiricus induces nitric oxide and tumor necrosis factor-[alpha] in mouse peritoneal macrophages.(Report) / An, Hyo-Jin et al / Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, October 2008

(3) Leonurus sibiricus – L. / Chinese Motherwort / Plants For A Future

(4) Leonurus sibiricus / Wikipedia

(5) A Preliminary Study of Leonurus Sibiricus (I-Mu-Tsao) / Fit-Tang Chu, Shun-Ming Chen and K. K. Chen / doi: 10.3181/00379727-24-3206 / Exp Biol Med, October 1926 vol. 24 no. 1 4-5

(6) In vitro allelopathic potential of Leonurus sibiricus L. leaves / Luiz Fernando Rolim de Almeidaa, Maria Elena Delachiavea, Miriam Sannomiyab, Wagner Vilegasb, Lourdes Campaner dos Santosb, Emilia Mancinic & Vincenzo De Feoc / Journal of Plant Interactions, Vol 3, No 1, 2008 / DOI:10.1080/17429140701749906

(7) Leonurus sibiricus / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED

(8) In Vitro Cytotoxic and Anthelmintic Activities of Leonurus sibiricus L. / M. R. Saha, F.M.S.N. Ul Bari, M. A. Rahman, M. A. Islam / Journal of Scientific Research > Vol 4, No 3 (2012) / doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.3329/jsr.v4i3.9998