Motherwort was first used by the Greeks to soothe the anxiety of pregnant women. This use continued and spread and gave the herb its common name. The botanical name, Leonurus cardiaca also comes from the greek. Leon=lion, ouros=tail and kardiaca refers to the heart.
Historically, the herb has been associated with longevity. An old legend states that there was once a town whose spring ran through a patch of Motherwort. All the local townspeople got their daily drinking water from that spring and all of them lived to be over 100 years old. Its association with longevity was widespread throughout Europe and Asia.
Traditional herbals suggest motherwort for “hysterical” conditions and “melancholy”.
In the Victorian language of flowers, motherwort symbolized concealed love.