AIMS: To investigate the documented historical uses of Leonurus cardiaca in order to assess the traditional uses as outlined in the European Medicines Agency (EMA) monograph.
METHODS: Content analysis was used for coding and analysing data. Raw data was extracted from source texts into a framework. Data was then translated and coded for comparison and discussion.
KEY FINDINGS: The EMA monograph was justified in its recommendation for the indications of nervous tension and cardiac complaints.Gynaecological uses, along with a number of other uses, frequently featured in historical texts but were not present in the EMA monograph. Posology was difficult to ascertain as ranges varied widely; however the EMA recommended a higher dose of liquid extract than historical texts suggested. Safety information was difficult to establish. Several factors had an impact on the results including translation and coding challenges, scarcity and plagiarism of texts, authentication of motherwort and difficulties associated with data mining. CONCLUSION: While EMA indications appeared frequently throughout source texts, motherwort appeared to have uses beyond what the EMA monograph suggests. Lack of recent research into motherwort's gynaecological uses may have contributed to the omission of these uses on the EMA monograph. This suggests that the EMA monograph does not fully reflect documented historical use.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Gynaecological use shows promise and may warrant further investigation with additional gynaecological studies recommended. Additional research may be required in order to decipher texts using a different system of medical belief. A greater number of sources and further analysis of posology advised.