Motherwort Benefits with Maria Noël Groves


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Motherwort benefits us in so many ways and can be especially supportive for the “overworked and unappreciated,” as my guest, Maria Noël Groves, shares in this video. Please join us to hear about the gifts of motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca). You’ll also receive Maria’s motherwort tincture recipe, which she has aptly named: Motherwort Calming Relief Tincture.

Maria Noël Groves is a clinical herbalist who runs Wintergreen Botanicals Herbal Education Center and clinic, nestled in the pine forests of New Hampshire. Her business is devoted to education and empowerment via classes, health consultations, and writing with the foundational belief that good health grows in nature. She is the author of the award-winning, best-selling book Body into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self Care as well as the book Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies.

Listen in for:

► How motherwort excels in supporting the nervous system, without creating a sedated feeling

► How can you make a potent tincture with fresh herbs?

Does motherwort have side effects on the thyroid gland?


I've long respected Maria's work and herbal offerings, so it was a personal pleasure to have her on the show. Thank you for joining us today!



-- TIMESTAMPS -- 

  • 01:33 - Introduction to Maria Noël Groves
  • 02:34 - Maria shares her early experiences with herbs
  • 07:17 - Why Maria chose motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) as the theme for this conversation
  • 11:49 - Motherwort benefits for soothing the stressed nervous system
  • 13:28 - Motherwort benefits for the “overworked and underappreciated”
  • 15:34 - Working with motherwort to help support hormonal balance and mood premenstrually as well as during perimenopause and menopause
  • 23:35 - The method Maria teaches for making a potent tincture with fresh herbs
  • 25:46 - Maria’s recipe for motherwort tincture (Motherwort Calming Relief Tincture)
  • 26:25 - Motherwort and the out-of-balance thyroid gland
  • 28:30 - Maria shares her current herbal projects
  • 30:41 - The three things that are catching Maria’s attention in the plant world these days

Download Your Motherwort Calming Relief Tincture Recipe Card!

Connect with Maria


Transcript of the Motherwort Benefits with Maria Noel Groves Video

Rosalee de la Forêt:
Hello, and welcome to the Herbs with Rosalee Podcast, a show exploring how herbs heal as medicine, as food, and through nature connection. I'm your host, Rosalee de la Foret. I created this channel to share trusted herbal wisdom so that you can get the best results when relying on herbs for your health. I love offering up practical knowledge to help you dive deeper into the world of medicinal plants and seasonal living. Each episode of the Herbs with Rosalee Podcast is shared on YouTube as well as your favorite podcast app.  Also, to get my best herbal tips as well as fun bonuses, be sure to sign up for my weekly herbal newsletter at the bottom of this page. Okay, grab your cup of tea and let's dive in.

I've long respected Maria's work and herbal offerings. So it was a personal pleasure to have her on the show. For those of you who don't already know her, Maria Noel Groves is a clinical herbalist who runs Wintergreen Botanicals Herbal Education Center and Clinic, nestled in the pine forest of New Hampshire. Her business is devoted to education and empowerment via classes, health consultations, and writing with the foundational belief that good health grows in nature. She's the author of the award-winning bestselling book, Body Into Balance: An Herbal Guide To Holistic Self-care, as well as the book, Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies. Learn more about Maria and herbs at wintergreenbotanicals.com. Welcome to the podcast, Maria.

Maria Noël Groves:
Thanks so much for having me.

Rosalee de la Forêt:
I'm so excited to have you here. And I'm so excited to talk about the herb you've chosen, but first I'd love to hear a little bit more about you and what pulled you into this beautiful herbal world.

Maria Noël Groves:
Yeah, I was thinking about it. I have a couple different origin stories when it comes to how I delved into the world of herbs. So I won't share all of them, but I'll share a few that are pertinent, I think. I didn't grow up in a family that used herbs, but my mother is a very holistically minded nurse who has a garden and had that Reader's Digest book. I don't know if you or any of your listeners know about this, but it's the Reader's Digest Magic of Medicine of Plants. And growing up in the 80s, that was a popular book that people had on hand. And I remember looking at it, just thinking it's so cool that plants have these superpowers, but we never actually worked with the plants medicinally. It was just more of knowing that such a thing existed and thinking it was neat.

And then when I was getting my degree in journalism, I was starting to, with that, delve into herbs a little bit already, just writing articles about herbs for my classes. And then I had a really stressful set of experiences in college and developed panic attacks and insomnia. And I was probably already kind of high strung anyway, but that definitely put that into a less desirable state. And that's what got me, I was already interested in herbs, but that's when I decided to walk into an herb shop and say, "Hey, I need help. What would you recommend for me?" And they set me up with kava tincture and valerian tincture. Kava for the anxiety support and valerian for the sleep support. And of course I did a lot of personal work too, which I think is always important. It's usually not just about taking herbs, but the herbs were really, really helpful. And at that point, I was pretty hooked and that dove me in much deeper into herbal medicine.

So I ended up getting books and writing a lot of articles about herbs. I became an editor for Natural Health Magazine and covered their herb beat and ran their fact checking department, which gave me a phenomenal opportunity to interview herbalists around the country and get access to a bunch of herb books for free. And at that time in year 2000 to 2002, a lot of really great herb books were coming out. And then when I left the magazine, I decided to study to become a herbalist. So herbs have really taken over the last 25 plus years of my life in a good way. And in 2007, I launched my business full time, although I was already doing some work prior to that. And then in 2016, Body Into Balance came out. And then a few years later, Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies came out. So it's been a really awesome journey.

Rosalee de la Forêt:
Yeah. We have a similar story in that, like for me, it was Prescription for Nutritional Healing was the book that I was like, ooh. Like, wow, that's so cool. But it was kind of a book reference until ... Like it was something of interest until it really became a part of my life.

Maria Noël Groves:
I remember that book because, while I was in college, I worked, and shortly thereafter I worked in natural food stores and we had Prescription for Nutritional Healing in the stacks. And now so many of my first herb books I no longer own because I don't like them as much quality wise as the ones that ... I'd say Deb Soule's book was the first good quality herb book that I had. But I did purchase a few more that were readily available before that. And now there are so many great herb books, including yours, of course.

Rosalee de la Forêt:
Well, I was actually going to say, well, 2016 with Body and Balance, there are so many fabulous herb books out there, but that one just really captured so many of our attention and is still, I know a top recommend for a lot of people when they say, what is that one herb book? Body in Balance is that one because it gives people answers that they're seeking for in a really practical, easy to understand way. But within this wonderful, holistic framework that is so important. So I just absolutely love Body into Balance. And it was this, I don't know, it's like you planted your flag in the garden in that one with that, because it just is an iconic book now. And then following it up with Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies, which is such a beautiful book for the garden, which is one of my passions.

So yeah, it's been a blessing to have your work out there in the world, through books as well as your other offerings, which I know we'll get to talk about in a bit. Well, when I saw that you wanted to talk about motherwort, I was very excited because this is such a cherished herb. People who know and love motherwort really know and love motherwort. It's often one that people don't feel indifferent about. It's so beloved. So I'm excited to talk about motherwort with you. What compelled you to choose motherwort?

Maria Noël Groves:
So yeah, I love motherwort in so many different ways and it's become super indispensable to me in the apothecary for myself personally, as well as for my clients. And one of the many aspects of motherwort that I really adore is the way that it helps support us when we are feeling anxious or just our emotional stability is a little bit off and it has benefits with long term use. But even in the moment, within minutes after taking the tincture, I and many of my clients will notice this immediate kind of grounding action, and this is a really bitter tasting plant. It's not one that is enjoyable from a flavor perspective. So usually I am using it as a fresh plant tincture as opposed to say a tea. But there's something just very grounding in that bitterness of it, that relaxing quality.

And it is also very easy to grow in the garden, which is something that I love because motherwort is something that many of us can cultivate and sometimes you'll even find it just popping up in the garden, depending upon where you live. And other herbs like kava, they're great, but it doesn't have quite as nice of a safety profile as motherwort. And it's not something that we can easily grow. And so those are a variety of the reasons why I've come to love it and really rely very heavily upon motherwort in my practice and in my personal life as well.

Rosalee de la Forêt:
I love it in the garden so much. It's those little leaves that are so early to come out and I love to see them. And then it puts up these beautiful stalks that are kind of prickly and, well, there's the leaves that come off the stalks and then these tiny little mint flowers, and those are some of my favorite colors, that kind of pink and pinkish to purplish and sometimes light pink. And I love those so much and the bees love them. I mean, I could spend so much time watching all kinds of bees, from honey bees to bumble bees, just the bees love being with those flowers. So you walk by a stand of motherwort and it's like buzzing with all the activity there. It's such a delight to have in the garden.

Maria Noël Groves:
Yeah. The pictures of motherwort are one of the first pictures of plants when I'm doing my intro class on herbs. And we'll talk about how plants have personalities. And on that slide, I have a close up of motherwort's flowers, because if anybody hasn't had a chance, they really should just get up close and personal. They're teeny tiny. As a whole, it doesn't look like a really showy flowery plant, but the flowers themselves are just pink and poofy and spotted. And they remind me of somebody, this fierce individual with a boa and just this wonderful presence. And in some ways they look like they are screaming for attention, but in other ways, they look so soft and loving. And I think of it as just such a tough love plant because you have this bitter flavor, but this really amazing, relaxant property.

And then you have, you mentioned the spikiness of it. I noticed on mine that, as it starts to flower and the flowers start to go by, it's the bracts that are holding, and the calyxes that are holding the flowers that get kind of sharp and they can be a little bit splintery if you're harvesting and working with the plant as it's flowering, or as the flowers are starting to go by. But then the early season and the late season, when it's more just like green and leafy, it's actually pretty soft and the leaves are really lush. And then later on the leaves get really, really small and narrow and dry. And it's such an interesting plant of dualities in a beautiful way. There's a potter, among many other things, Zoe Gardner makes these really great pottery pieces. I don't know that she's doing it these days, but motherwort is one of the leaves that will sometimes get imprinted onto the pottery. And the leaves look so different depending upon which ones you pick from which part of the plant at which stage, which I just think is kind of fun.

Rosalee de la Forêt:
That is fun. So with motherwort, I think the fact that it is so bitter is kind of what makes it surprising and how beloved it is. Because we can think it's so easy to love rose, it's so easy to love lavender, these things that smell so nice and have these wonderful sweet tastes or floral taste to them. But yeah, there's no mistaking motherwort in its bitterness. It is bitter, bitter, bitter.

Maria Noël Groves:
Yes, very bitter. So it probably does have benefits for supporting digestion as well, and probably detoxification too, as many of our bitter plants do. But it does seem like it's so very specific for relaxing the nervous system and grounding the nervous system. And then also the cardiovascular piece as well that it seems to help relax. Anywhere where stress and anxiety, nervous system stuff is affecting cardiovascular health, and sometimes also where cardiovascular health is intertwined with the other.

So for example, if people are having a panic attack that feels like a heart attack, but you want to make sure it's not a heart attack because then you should go to the hospital. It can be really helpful for that. Sometimes for hypertension, especially when it's associated with being stressed, that's one of the triggers for somebody. Or when you're stressed and you get that kind of tight feeling in your chest or a little bit of tachycardia or dysrhythmia, but in benign cardiac scenarios. And I know I'm probably using terms as an herbalist I shouldn't be using because I'm not trying to make disease claims, but these are just some of the ways in which herbs tend to support these body systems.

Rosalee de la Forêt:
So, so far I'm hearing motherwort for helping with anxiety, soothing the nervous system, for cardiovascular health. So kind of painting the picture of somebody who might even have those two tied together, which we often do. Anxiety and our heart health often go hand in hand. Are there other indications that you commonly reach for motherwort for?

Maria Noël Groves:
Yeah, definitely. So I remember learning from one of my teachers, Rosemary Gladstar, that motherwort was helpful for folks who are mothers and folks who needed a little mothering. And I didn't really know exactly what that meant. And Michael Moore talked about it being useful for people who are going on sort of emotional rampages, like they've been dealing with stuff for so long. And then finally they just kind of go on an emotional rampage and they know they're kind of acting out, but they're just kind of getting a little bit of a high from expressing this and that motherwort would kind of bring that down. And so the way that I've sort of taken those two concepts and put them together is to think of folks who are overworked, but underappreciated, which often are mothers, but can be many other folks, other parents, as well as folks who are in their job lives or just whatever relationship that they have with their work or with others. They're just, doing, doing, doing often for others and not getting to have that time for the self-care for themselves.

And then they end up having these emotional roller coasters that they go through. And so I think of the stereotypical mother, screaming at the children or the husband because of the umpteenth time,they didn't do what they were supposed to be doing. But it is such a more broad-use plant than that. But in that moment, it really does do a nice job evening out that moment of excessive emotions. And then with long term use, it seems to help even out those emotional roller coasters. But I don't see it as a plant that just like, oh, don't worry about your problems, just take motherwort and it will all go away. It seems to really help support us in a way that we learn how to value ourselves as time goes on with working with it, that we realize that we need to put that oxygen mask on ourselves before we can go and put it on somebody else in an emergency situation. And so it does seem to be a very paradigm shifting plant immediately as well as with long use.

And that's just something I really, really adore about the plant. It also does seem to be really helpful for folks who are dealing with hormonal wobbles, particularly hormonal wobbles that are also affecting their stress, their cardiovascular system, those kinds of things. So PMS, perimenopause, even hot flashes. I was surprised I had a client working with motherwort for helping with stress and mood and other things. And she was like, "Oh my hot flashes are so much better." And I was like, "Really? How's the black cohosh work?" She's like, "Oh no, I never took the black cohosh. I'm just working with the motherwort." I was like, "Oh yeah, that makes sense that it could help with hot flashes too." But I hadn't really made that connection, but it definitely does have a history of use and a tradition of use in helping folks who are dealing with menopause and perimenopause, since that in and of itself does tend to make us have more racing hard and more anxiety, that's associated with a hot flash itself. We have these stress hormone surges that go with the hot flashes.

And just in general, when your ovaries are producing less progesterone and estrogen, that creates an environment where stress hormones tend to be a little bit more increased or that you feel the stress of things like cortisol more. So having an herb like motherwort that does seem to support reproductive hormones as well as stress at the same time can be really quite nice. I know Robin Rose Bennett talks quite a bit about working with herbs like mugwort and motherwort to support folks with a wide range of gynecological reproductive issues.

Rosalee de la Forêt:
Yeah. Like for example, cramping is one that I think of a lot for motherwort, both in the short term, but more even in the long term, it seems. It's like something taken consistently, people report back that they have less menstrual cramping.

Maria Noël Groves:
Yes. And that's an area that I personally haven't explored with motherwort, which I should because certainly I have had a long history of issues with that too personally. And some of my clients do, but I know other folks I've read, Robin Rose Bennett and other folks, talk about that particular use of it. And there is a bit of research on ... Well, most of the limited clinical research that's been done on various motherwort species has been on mostly Asian species of motherwort, helping with hemorrhage, bleeding, postpartum, those kinds of scenarios and being really supportive for that as well as for issues like headaches and just a dissatisfaction in life. And I definitely do think of it in my clients who are just, oftentimes they're busy, busy parents, they have toddlers, they're trying to work, they're trying to go back to school and they just have lost their joy for life. And motherwort is one of the herbs I consider suggesting alongside the lifestyle piece.

Rosalee de la Forêt:
Now following that thread, Maria, and harking back to something you said earlier too, about how motherwort is an herb that helps us with paradigm shift. And I love how you spoke about that because I would not think of motherwort as a sedative. I'd never describe it as that or as something that's like coming into our bodies and the heavy hammer changing our chemistry to do this certain thing, but really is this relationship that people develop with motherwort and how it comes in, signals to our bodies, and we in turn react to it. And it is this kind of this relationship and dance that evolves over time and does change us, which is the wondrous beauty of plants.

Maria Noël Groves:
Yes.

Rosalee de la Forêt:
Take this from that necessarily, but this relationship that forms.

Maria Noël Groves:
Yeah, it is so great on that level. And that's one of the things I appreciate about it because oftentimes, when I turn to motherwort, it is for folks who are feeling racy and they're just anxious, racy, not sleeping, whatever it may be. And it just immediately helps bring them down. But at the same time, it's not sedating, it's not really depressant in that way. It doesn't seem to aggravate depression. And in fact, it seems to... I've had clients who have a history of depression who feel much better when motherwort is part of their formulas and even alongside their medications it seems to work well, at least in my client's situations and the medications that they're taking. And yeah, it just seems to do such a nice job. It doesn't make people sleepy in the middle of the day, which is nice.

I remember at herb school, I had a headache and so Michael was like, "Oh, take kava and skullcap." And I don't remember, it was like a whole bunch of herbs that were relaxing. And so I took them and then I came back a few minutes later, I was like, "I need to go home and take a nap. Like I can't function. I can't be in the classroom anymore because I'm just so tired." And so I appreciate herbs that can help bring people down a notch without interfering with their ability to be productive in the day. Because often these overworked, underappreciated people do still need to take care of their kids or be in the workplace and do that as well as being in a more balanced state.

Rosalee de la Forêt:
Have you ever used it externally?

Maria Noël Groves:
I haven't. Have you?

Rosalee de la Forêt:
I haven't, but that's something I just wanted to bring up because even if we haven't, maybe it might spark someone's interest to try working with motherwort in that way. I think it was King's American Dispensatory talked about using it on the lower abdomen for delayed menses and menstrual cramping and something like that. So in that realm of just uterine health. So I'm kind of more and more interested in these external applications these days and would love to hear back from someone if they try because we can grow motherwort and it can be so abundant, it grows abundantly, it's a nice one to use as fomentations or poultices, et cetera.

Maria Noël Groves:
Very cool. I don't work with herbs topically that often, except for kind of a select few that are pretty well known. So that's really neat that motherwort can have that other piece to it. It is internally known as an emmenagogue to help bring on delayed menses and not recommended during pregnancy for that same reason. But then at the same time, it's interesting how it also has a history of use around heavy periods and cramping, but also bringing on, when you're not having a period, to bring that on and then to be utilized post. There's quite a bit of literature, traditional and scientific, around that postpartum hemorrhage and being supportive in that. So it's just interesting, that seems to be this blood-affecting herb, helping it move, but also helping it not be too stagnant and also not too heavy.

Rosalee de la Forêt:
Which of course is very reminiscent of yarrow. But I've never really thought it through, and of motherwort in that same way, but oh, the brilliance of plants, Maria.

Maria Noël Groves:
The plants are amazing.

Rosalee de la Forêt:
They are. And so you mentioned that motherwort is, well, we both mentioned it is so bitter. And so it's not that you can't have it as a tea. People can drink it as a tea. However, it's often not worked with as a tea because it's hard to get that much bitterness down, that much liquid. And so because of that, often worked as a tincture and I'm so glad that you're sharing this tincture recipe with us, which you call The Calming Relief Tincture. And I love the instructions you give us for that because they are very specific in getting a really potent tincture made, which is something that I feel very passionate about because, I don't know about you Maria, but sometimes I'm scrolling through social media and I see people who have like three, I'm just making this up, but like three whole motherwort leafs in a jar with a whole bunch of alcohol. And they're like, "Look at the tincture I'm making."

And they're kind of making like motherwort-colored tincture at that point versus something potent. And your recipe is going to be a potent wonderful tincture. I was going to ask you to tell us about it, but I kind of told you all about it.

Maria Noël Groves:
Well, I will say, I'll add to that, and of course there are many ways to make medicine with plants. So the technique that I share in the recipe is from Michael Moores' technique, which is a one to two. So one part plant to two parts alcohol and using as high proof alcohol as you have access to. So I use 190 proof sugar cane ethanol, but you can use a high proof vodka or whatever is available. And really, I love teaching the tincture, the fresh plant tincture in this method because I feel like I'm doing a magic trick when I'm doing it in front of ... It's the middle of winter. So I don't have access to the plants here. Plus it's mostly a podcast, but I have this big bowl of plant material and then I bring out this small jar. I'm like, we're going to chop up all this plant and we're going to fit it in this jar. Doesn't look like it should fit, but it's going to fit.

And so we chop it up and then press, press, press as much as you possibly can, and then cover it to the tippity top with alcohol. And you just really want to have that jar packed with herb. And then after about a month or more, you can press it out. I will note that with motherwort, as well as a lot of other mint family and aromatic plants and green plants, you will sometimes notice these black dots on the leaves when you press it out, and people freak out and think that it's mold or something like that. And I don't know the chemistry enough to know exactly what they were. I remember Michael Moore saying that there were some type of precipitated pigment but regardless it's normal and it's not a concern at all.

So just FYI in case anybody decides to do this technique, but it's a great ... It's what I do with almost all my fresh plants. And I do have a short video on my blog and I think we'll link to it so that folks can see how this technique works. And if you make a different type of tincture, it will probably still have an effect, especially for a plant like motherwort. But oftentimes the effect is much greater, the flavor is much better, you just really notice a greater potency. But you will want to dilute it to take it because, especially if you're using 190 or 151 proof alcohol, it's going to burn if you don't dilute it in a little water when you take it.

Rosalee de la Forêt:
Oh, thank you for those tips and the assurances on the black spots. And thank you so much for sharing the motherwort calming relief tincture. And for the listeners, if you'd like to download your free recipe card, then you can click the link above this transcript. And we will share that link to Maria's blog as well so you can get even more tips on making the tincture.

Maria Noël Groves:
Awesome. And I'm sure that you could too, if you were somebody who did not want to use alcohol, you could, I'm sure that apple cider vinegar would be a good substitute or possibly glycerin. I haven't made them personally, but they would probably be quite nice.

Rosalee de la Forêt:
Well, is there anything else you'd like to share about motherwort Maria?

Maria Noël Groves:
Well, one last thing that I'd like to mention is a lot of folks wonder about motherwort and the thyroid because it does have a reputation for potentially being helpful in hyperthyroid disease. And then folks are also simultaneously concerned by that, that perhaps motherwort may then be harmful in somebody with hypothyroid, which is a pretty common. A lot of my clients, as well as myself could deal with hypothyroid. And really my personal take on motherwort and kind of what I've come to from talking to other herbalists and reading through the literature is that it can be really supportive for a lot of folks, but I don't necessarily see it. For somebody who has hyperthyroid motherwort might help with some of the agitation and cardiac components, but it is usually not sufficient in and of itself for helping to address the hyperthyroid. And hyperthyroid is really challenging and very hit or miss with herbs and potentially lethal if it's not addressed.

So I would not be expecting motherwort to be the "cure" for somebody with hyperthyroid, even though it might be part of a supportive protocol and it may or may not be enough as part of that. And then when it comes to hypothyroid, I personally really don't see motherwort working as a thyroid inhibiting agent. And I don't know of any cases. You can always reach out to me if somebody knows of one, I am always interested in having my world view on a plant changed. But I don't know of any cases where somebody had their thyroid tank after consuming motherwort. And I'm just really not concerned about it. I work with motherwort with a lot of folks who have hypothyroid and I've not seen a problem. Sometimes I combine it with ashwagandha in a tincture blend, which is a little bit thyroid boosting. So maybe there's a buffering action there. I don't know. But I see it more being just really supportive for the nervous system and the cardiovascular system, which tends to be helpful across the board.

Rosalee de la Forêt:
Well, thank you for sharing that with us. I especially appreciate your clinical experience that you bring to that as well.

Well, Maria, I'd love to hear about any herbal projects you have going on right now.

Maria Noël Groves:
I have all sorts of great herbal projects, but mostly it's about teaching. Since the pandemic, online teaching has really taken the vast majority of my focus. And so I've been doing a lot of livestream classes and courses, and several have already started and are in the works. However, folks can drop in on individual classes. So folks go to my website and the class page, they can see what's going on there. And certainly the bigger series will start anew at some point in time in the next year or so. And then I've always got my books, of course. And if folks want to keep tabs on what I'm doing, you can and sign up for my mailing list on my website. And there's just lots of information that I send out about once a month. And whenever I'm doing a new class or have something else new and exciting happening, I definitely post that on the newsletter.

And so that's wintergreenbotanicals.com. That's my website to get all of that. And there's so much free information. I don't know which one of us, you or I, Rosalee, has more content on the website, but like you, I really value being able to provide a lot of free information to the public about herbs. And so not so many herb profiles like you have, but I have a lot of general information and recipes and remedies and articles and things on the 'learn' more tab that you can check out.

Rosalee de la Forêt:
Well, thank you. I have such a great deal of respect for you, Maria. And as we've mentioned before, in our conversations, our work is so complimentary because we have similar outlooks, but we focus on kind of slightly different things. So they go together so well and I highly recommend your newsletter because you do have so many great offerings out there and people are going to want to know about them.

Maria Noël Groves:
Awesome. Thank you. Yes, I am frequently recommending your work as well. And I know most of my students follow you and really love all the work that you do.

Rosalee de la Forêt:
Oh, well my last question for you is one that I'm asking everybody in season three and I'm asking this question because I think, whether we've been working with plants for two days or for two decades, there's always something new. And so I'm curious, what is new in your neck of the woods? What's something that's been exciting you lately about plants?

Maria Noël Groves:
I was thinking about this earlier, because these are the questions that, if I get asked out of the blue, I'm always like, I don't know. I'm sure there's something, but I did come up with a couple things, probably more than I should really discuss.

Rosalee de la Forêt:
Oh no, let's hear them.

Maria Noël Groves:
Feel free to edit some of these out if you want to. But there are probably three big things that have been sort of fresh and new in my brain that I've been really focused on lately. One is because I have been working on, and expanding, and teaching my advanced program more. I'm just always fascinated with and trying to think about how I can be a better teacher for folks for advanced herbal learning and helping students cultivate their skills to be clinical herbalists or other forms of higher level professional herbalist. And so that's been always exciting and I love learning from other herbalists and watching to see how other herbalists do things. And also just always trying to think about how can I make this course even more useful to the students.

And then another aspect of interest lately, it's partly based on my own health, but also on what I've been seeing going on in my own communities around COVID and chronic fatigue and Epstein-Baar and Long Haul and Lyme disease, which is very common here in the Northeast, is how much similarity there is amongst these kind of weird chronic conditions. And I'm sure that there are a lot of complicated components to that and I have not totally wrapped my own brain around it. So I'm not saying that I have the answers, but I am fascinated with the role that lymphatics and alteratives can have in supporting folks who are dealing with a lot of these sort of weird complex chronic issues. And I'm not a detox, every orifice of your body, kind of an herbalist. That just has never really been my goal. But I do feel like these herbs can play a pretty phenomenal supportive role. And so that's been interesting to me, and just still learning and seeing literature that's popping up.

And then lastly, I, for the last almost a year now have been dealing with parosmia, which if anybody is not familiar with what that is, my husband brought home COVID just before we got vaccinated. And I lost my sense of taste and smell, especially really I lost my sense of taste for only about a week. That's the anosmia, when you don't have a sense of taste. And then for a little while I had hyposmia where I had some sense of smell, but it was very subtle. And then starting around May, I started developing the parosmia where things are distorted.

So at first it was things like lemon balm and lemon verbena and lemon grass and a bunch of other things were rancid smelling and tasting to me, which was really unfortunate, because those are some of my favorite herbs and some of my favorite foods. And then in the fall is when the sulfur group really kicked on, which is pretty classic for folks who have issues with, with problem where foods that are high in sulfur smell like outhouses and rotting things and burning tires and all sorts of other unpleasantries. And so it's gotten a lot better, but that's something personally that I have been obsessed with because it's been fascinating to learn about the sense of smell, which I had an above average sense of smell before all of this and always appreciated it. But just to learn how the nervous system heals and the multifactorial components of post COVID parosmia that we're really still learning, it probably also has to do with inflammation and immune response and other things in addition to healing the nerves.

And so it's just been really fascinating, in learning how herbs can potentially support folks as they're working through the healing process of that. So that's been another major ... I'm constantly on the forums and reading and learning and everybody around me is sick of hearing what things do or don't smell like on a particular day.

Rosalee de la Forêt:
Are there particular herbs that you've been looking into for this?

Maria Noël Groves:
Yeah, I mean, lion's mane is definitely a fascinating one but I haven't been able to continue working with it right now just because it didn't end up agreeing with me perfectly. Probably longer story than needs to be. But I did in the growing season, when things were still fresh, I was working quite a bit with sage and so I would make a sage leaf tea. I think it might have actually been a Robin Rose Bennett tip that I got through the forums, but I was making sage leaf tea and then I would use some of it with salt and a neti pot. And then the rest of it, I would drink without salt. And that really did seem to be very helpful.

But I will say I got lax on that once the growing season ended and I no longer had access to my fresh leaves. And so I go through varying degrees of how involved I am. Also, it does seem that inflammation is a major component of it. And so just trying to work with herbs like ginger and turmeric and making them into a regular habit in my daily routine seems to be helpful as well.

Rosalee de la Forêt:
Well thank you for sharing that with us and for all of the wisdom that you've shared today about motherwort. It's been an absolute pleasure to have you here on the show.

Maria Noël Groves:
Awesome. Thank you. It's been an honor to be here.

Rosalee de la Forêt:
Thanks for reading. Don't forget to click the link above this transcript to get free access to Maria's recipe for Motherwort Calming Relief Tincture. If you enjoyed this interview, then before you go be sure to subscribe to my newsletter below so that you'll be the first to get my new videos, including interviews like this. I'd also love to hear your comments about this interview and this beloved herb. I deeply believe that this world needs more herbalists, gardeners and plant-centered folks. I'm so glad you are here as part of this herbal community. Have a beautiful day.


Rosalee is an herbalist and author of the bestselling book Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients Into Foods & Remedies That Heal and co-author of the bestselling book Wild Remedies: How to Forage Healing Foods and Craft Your Own Herbal Medicine. She's a registered herbalist with the American Herbalist Guild and has taught thousands of students through her online courses. Read about how Rosalee went from having a terminal illness to being a bestselling author in her full story here.  



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