Motherwort, a small herb that defeats a number of health ailments. Learn to use it even when cooking!

A small purple-flowered herb with an intoxicating aroma, which has been used in folk medicine since time immemorial.

Materídouška as the soul of a deceased mother, who expresses her love for her children with her scent.

You just can’t help but love this herb.

What problems does motherwort tea help us with?

Did you know that thyme is actually motherwort?

What dishes can be made special for her?

Discover with us all the secrets of this magical herb.

What is a motherwort?

When the word mother-in-law is mentioned, several things come to mind for most of us. An impressive introductory poem by Karel Jaromír Erben from the Kytice collection, in which he explains the origin of the word mateřídouska, a well-known magazine for children with a long tradition and, of course, also a small fragrant herb with many healing effects.

From a botanical point of view, thyme (Thymus) is a genus of woody herbs to semi-shrubs that belongs to the diverse family of thyme plants. Its representatives grow in most of Europe, Asia and also North Africa.

Motherwort is known for its very strong aromatic scent, which is due to the high content of essential oils and slightly pungent bitter taste. In addition to being used as a medicine, it can also be used in the kitchen as a spice.

Free-growing motherwort in nature.

Types of motherwort

The genus Motherwort includes many diverse species and subspecies. It is true for all of them that they are strongly aromatic medicinal herbs and at the same time important honey-bearing plants. The most famous types of motherwort include:

  • Thymus serpyllum (Thymus serpyllum)
  • Thymus pulegioides (Thymus pulegioides)
  • Thymus pannonicus (Thymus pannonicus)
  • Thymus glabrescens (Thymus glabrescens)
  • Thymus praecox (Thymus praecox)
  • Common thyme (Thymus vulgaris) – better known as common thyme

What is the difference between motherwort and thyme?

What is commonly called motherwort and thyme are two different plants that belong to the same botanical genus motherwort. Most of us think of serpyllum, a small herb with purple flowers that crawls – after all, the Latin name “serpyllum” is derived from the word “serpens”, or snake, along dry habitats. It reaches a height of only about 10 centimeters.

In contrast, the herb and spice known as thyme is actually motherwort. The plant usually reaches a height of around 30 cm and its flowers are white or only slightly purple. Thyme originally comes from the Middle-earth, the narrow-leaved thyme grows abundantly in our territory as well.

Flowering thyme, unlike the white thyme.

The origin and history of the mother spirit

Evidence of the knowledge and use of the healing effects of motherwort dates back to ancient times. For example, in ancient Egypt they used motherwort to embalm mummies, and in ancient Greece they burned motherwort because they believed that the smoke would give strength to warriors.

In ancient Rome, they began to use the intoxicating scent of motherwort to make perfumes. Motherwort is said to have been widely cultivated in medieval monastery gardens, as monks used its beneficial effects to improve sleep

What does mother lozenge contain?

Like many other herbs and spices, motherwort is rich in various health-promoting substances. In addition to aromatic essential oils, it also contains tannins, flavonoids, minerals and some vitamins.

100 g
Energy 101 kcal
Carbohydrates 24.4 g
Proteins 5.56 g
Fats 1.68 g
Fiber 14 g
Vitamin B1 0.048 mg
Vitamin B2 0.471 mg
Vitamin B3 1.82 mg
Folic acid 0.409 mg
Vitamin C 160 mg
Potassium 609 mg
Phosphorus 106 mg
Magnesium 160 mg
Manganese 1.72 mg
Calcium 405 mg
Zinc 1.81 mg
Iron 17.4 mg

What is motherwort good for?

Consuming motherwort has a number of positive effects on our body, which are used for various health problems.

  • Respiratory tract and cough – the antiseptic and soothing effect of motherwort is often used for various problems and respiratory tract infections related to colds and flu. It helps clear clogged airways. In this case, it is usually used in the form of syrup or tea.

  • Digestive problems – motherwort also relieves stomach upsets, problems with bloating or diarrhea. In general, it supports proper digestion and its disinfecting effects help to eliminate harmful intestinal microorganisms.

  • Insomnia and stress relief – motherwort tea or a pillow with dried motherwort help to relieve stress and tension, which leads to better and better sleep.

  • Skin problems – Motherwort is known for its antiseptic effects, which have a very positive effect on various skin problems and injuries. It helps with inflammation and fungal diseases. It can be applied in the form of a tincture, but baths in motherwort are also widely used.

  • Oral cavity – similar antiseptic effects are used to rinse the oral cavity or as a gargle. It helps treat throat infections, dental abscesses, canker sores, infected gums and mouth ulcers.

  • Rheumatic problems – studies have shown the positive effects of motherwort also in rheumatic arthritis, gout or problems caused by high muscle tension.

  • Immune system – the valuable substances that motherwort contains generally help to strengthen and stimulate the immune system, especially during colds.

  • Menstrual pains and gynecological problems – in the case of unpleasant symptoms of premenstrual syndrome or during painful menstruation, motherwort tea or a heated pillow with dry motherwort can help. Last but not least, it also helps with gynecological problems caused by yeast.

  • Urinary tract – last but not least, its antiseptic and disinfectant effects are used in various urinary tract infections.

Motherwort tea

For problems with insomnia, bronchitis, colds or digestive problems, you can use the healing power of motherwort tea. It is most often prepared from dried nati, but it can also be prepared from fresh motherwort.

The preparation is very simple, just add one teaspoon of dried motherwort to 250 milliliters of boiling water and let it infuse for ten to fifteen minutes. It is usually recommended to drink two to three cups a day. Motherwort tea is not suitable for pregnant women as it can induce labour.

A cup of motherwort tea.

What is made from motherwort?

Due to its many medicinal effects, a number of other pharmaceutical and cosmetic products are also produced from motherwort. The most common include:

  • Motherwort tea – available both in loose form and in tea bags.

  • Motherwort syrup – for colds, respiratory problems or digestive problems, you can use the effects of motherwort syrup, which is made either cold or warm with fresh motherwort, water, sugar and lemons.

  • Motherwort tincture – it is motherwort infused in high-percentage alcohol. Macerate the herb for three weeks in 40% alcohol. After the given time, filter the solution and store in a cool place. The tincture is mainly used against rheumatism.

  • Motherwort pillow – special pillows are made from dried motherwort, which are used for insomnia. Heated pillows are said to relieve menstrual pain, swelling and bruises.

  • Toothpastes and mouthwashes – due to the positive effects of motherwort on the condition of the oral cavity, it is often used as one of the components of toothpastes and mouthwashes.

  • Skin creams and lotions – in cosmetics, motherwort is often used in preparations intended for problematic skin prone to acne.

  • Repellents and insect repellants – the strong aroma repels insects, for this reason it is added to various natural preparations against insects.

  • Essential oil of motherwort – used in aromatherapy to relieve stress.
Dried motherwort on a wooden spoon.

How to include motherwort in the diet?

Even though we most often hear about motherwort as a medicinal herb, this does not mean that we cannot use its pungent taste and spicy aroma to make our menu special. It is enough to remember that even thyme is actually motherwort.

As a general rule, where a recipe calls for thyme, you can also use motherwort. It can be consumed in fresh or dried form.

  • It is very popular to add motherwort to various recipes for minced meat . With its taste and aroma, it can enliven meatballs, Dutch steak, meatloaf and stuffed pepper pods.

  • Vegetarians will surely be pleased that motherwort can also be used in the preparation of mushrooms or legumes. Try it, for example, in recipes for lentil salad .

  • Herb butter goes very well with fish, poultry or vegetables. It is enough to mix chopped motherwort with a piece of butter in a pan, then mix the mixture and add a small amount of salt.

  • Fresh and dried motherwort makes any stuffing very special. Do you know how to prepare the best stuffing ? Use as many different herbs as possible in it, in addition to motherwort, also add chives, parsley, nettles, sage or oregano.

Cultivation of motherwort

Motherwort is a very heat-loving and light-loving plant. In nature, it is found mainly in sunny places with sandy loamy soil. If we want to grow motherwort in domestic conditions, we must provide it with the same conditions.

In the garden, if possible, plant it on a rockery or at least on a slope. When growing from seeds, it is advisable to pre-grow seedlings in small pots in the spring, which we transplant outside at the end of April. Motherwort can also be grown very well in a pot on the balcony. But we have to be careful not to water it too much, it is not good for motherwort.

Motherwort planted by the path in the garden.

When and how to collect motherwort?

Free-growing and self-grown motherwort flowers mostly from June to August. At that time we can collect it at any time, it is best to collect it in the midday hours. The best way is to cut off the upper, non-woody part of the cane with leaves and flowers using scissors.

Drying motherwort

You can dry it in the shade in the fresh air or with the help of an electric dryer. Motherwort should more or less retain its flower and leaf color even after drying. The leaves and flowers can be removed from the stems before storing in an airtight container. It is advisable to cut the whole plant before winter, it will regrow abundantly again in the spring.

Milan & Ondra

We are both fans of good food and enjoy cooking. On this website, we want to inspire you with traditional, but also less common recipes. We will be happy if you try our recipes and let us know how you liked them. Bon appetite! :)