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Quercetin has been shown to bind to the benzodiazepine receptor in the brain, and so it could be that hyperside is an important component of the sedative and anxiolytic effects of motherwort due to its structural similarities with quercetin.
Motherwort is often standardised for its hyperside content (0.2 %) suggesting that it may be an important phytochemical within the plant.
In addition, motherwort can potentiate the sedative effects of barbiturate drugs.
Aerial parts of the plant also show sedative effects in mice.
The herbal combination including motherwort significantly improved sleep quality in the men.
In another study, a motherwort extract in a tincture was administered to a group of subjects who were experiencing anxiety that was causing problems with colour perception.
Motherwort was originally native to parts of Europe and Asia, but is far more widespread now due to its use as a herbal remedy.
A characteristic of plants from the mint family is their volatile oils, and motherwort contains a number of volatile oils made up of sesquiterpenes.
A number of studies have also been performed in humans.
In one study, researchers administered a tablet containing motherwort (50 mg), valerian root (170 mg), lemon balm leaves (50 mg) and hops (50 mg) to a group of men suffering anxiety from alcohol withdrawal.
The ability of motherwort to relieve heart palpitations may also aid those with the generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) because often with mild anxiety there are heart palpitations that can cause further anxiety in the sufferer.
Detailed chemical analysis of motherwort extracts have been performed.
Motherwort is also known by a number of other common names including throw wort, lion’s ear and lion’s tail.