Herb Spotlight - Mugwort
Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
Part Used: Whole Plant
Flavor/Aroma: Bitter, Acrid
Mugwort has been known to enhance dreams and induce a peaceful nights rest. It has also been revered for its ability to innately normalize the menstrual cycle and guide bodies through fertility abnormalities. Mugwort offers diverse medicinal uses intertwined with a variety of esoteric applications.
Mugwort is a perennial herb that favors disturbed habitats to thrive, and when in the ideal conditions, it will bloom clusters of purple flowers in the late summer months. It can grow to be 6 feet in height, or taller, and bears dark green leaves that have a whitish under-belly.
Cultivation and Harvesting:
Mugwort is unique in that it can be propagated from a piece of its own rhizome- it re-grows an entire new plant from just a small segment of root. This handy ability allows Mugwort to thrive prolifically in almost every soil type, and has even become a nuisance in parts of Canada. The flowers should be collected as soon as they bloom and are the most vibrant, and the leaves should be collected just before the flowers open. Mugwort roots are best harvested in the fall months when the plants energy is more concentrated below the ground- the roots should be dried until they snap like a twig to avoid spoilage before storing.
Southern Oregon Cultivation:
Mugwort is able to grow in a variety of soil types, from the rocky shorelines of states coast to the mountainous landscapes of the valley, it can be found thriving in the wild. It usually prefers to grow in full sunlight, but adapts well to disturbed or shaded areas. Keep an eye out along roadsides and riverbanks as well.
History and Folklore:
American Native Uses: Mugwort leaves were harvested and rubbed along the body to ward off spirits and deter nightmares; the Cheyenne women were known to use this herb to regulate fertility, and the Blackfoot and Arapaho were known to use Mugwort to stimulate and normalize their menses. It was also burned during ceremonies, along with Sage, Cedar, and Osha, to purify the space and to connect to the dreamworld.1
Artemisia, the botanical name for the family which Mugwort resides, refers to the Greek goddess of fertility, the hunt, and of the forest and hills- giving hints into its traditional medical uses.
The ancient Romans were also noted to have used Mugwort to flavor their alcoholic beverages, before the use of Hops became regularly available and preferred by the end of the 15th century. It was also worn by St. John the Baptist as a garland of protection while in the wilderness.1
Tonically, Mugwort has been shown to support the health of the female reproductive system and is used to tonify the uterine tissue, to both stimulate a delayed menses and balance a troublesome menstrual cycle, and to aid in excessive bleeding. A topical application of Mugwort can be applied to the lower abdomen to ease cramping and support normal circulation. David Hoffman notes that it is the volatile oils of the Mugwort plant that allow it to be such a beneficial nervine.4 Culpepper refers to Mugwort as a top choice stomachic when faced with gastrointestinal upsets, due to its ability to stimulate bile in the liver, which in turn helps digestion. It is also indicated to support rheumatic pains through a Moxa application, which when burned close to the skin is known to relieve those suffering from long-term rheumatic pains or acute injuries.3
Uses and Preparations:
Dried Herb Tea Preparation:
1 Tablespoon of dried herb to one cup of warm water.
Using a reusable tea bag or tea ball, immerse the loose dried herbs into boiling water and allow to steep for 5-10 minutes, preferably covered, in order to release the maximum amount of herbal goodness. Some herbal tea can carry a strong flavor. We recommend organic honey as a sweetener which preserves the beneficial herbal compounds.
2-4 mL up to 4 times per day.
Some herbal tinctures can have a strong flavor on their own. Adding your tincture to a glass of 6-8oz of water is one easy way to help, should you wish to dilute the flavor.
It is important to remember that some bodies may react differently than others when using herbal products. Our recommended usage amounts are designed to be an average dosage only. If you have specific concerns about the usage amount or interaction with other medication, please consult with your doctor or health care practitioner prior to using our products.
We recommend consulting with your practitioner if you are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant, or if you are using any other medications.
- Mugwort Monograph. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.herbrally.com/monographs/mugwort
- Mugwort. (n.d.). www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/hool/mugwort.html
- Artemisia vulgaris. (n.d.). www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/rafinesque/artemisia.html
- Hoffman, David. The Herbal Handbook, A User’s Guide to Medical Herbalism. Healing Arts Press, 1998.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.