Artemisia vulgaris

Daisy Family (Asteraceae)

Energetics: warming
Taste: bitter, acrid
When to harvest: Harvest leaves before it flowers; Harvest flowers or aerial parts in mid-summer
Identification: Mugwort is a perennial plant that often grows in stands and can reach up to 2m tall. It has aromatic, lobed, alternating leaves that are green on top and silvery underneath, and a grooved stem that can have a purple tinge. In the mature plant, the upper leaves are narrower. The flowers look like clusters of small, silvery fluffy balls and appear around midsummer.

Mugwort and its close relations have been widely used around the world for wellness, and in Europe, it has also been used for flavouring beer. In China and Korea, cones or sticks made of compressed dried mugwort leaves are burnt and applied directly or indirectly to the body to act on the meridians/energetic channels - this is referred to as moxibustion in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Moxibustion is thought to improve circulation and flow of qi (or life force/energy), and dispel cold or dampness that (in these traditions) is thought to generate pain associated with arthritis, some back conditions, and some menstrual pains.

In European herbalism, it has been used to enhance dreaming, to expel worms and other parasites, and the following:

Integumentary system (skin, hair, nails, exocrine glands)

Induces perspiration

Menstrual support

Stimulates blood flow in the pelvic area and uterus; can stimulate menstruation if delayed/stuck

Nervous system

Supports the nervous system, in this case as both a stimulant and tonic nervine - tonic nervines nourish/feed the nervous system tissues. Mugwort can help improve sleep, and is thought to help people remember dreams.

Urinary system

Promotes urine production, and so helpful with elimination of waste.


Stimulates the appetite and aids digestion - its bitterness stimulates bile secretion. Bile helps fats break down into fatty acids.

Alleviates gas and cramps.


It has some degree of antimalarial activity, albeit milder than its relative Artemisia annua. Mugwort also works against threadworms and roundworms, and can be used as a wash for fungal infections (Bruton-Seal and Seal, 2008).

Plant preparations


  • Infusion
  • Vinegar


  • Burning dried mugwort
  • Poultice
  • Compress
  • Oil
  • Balm


Due to its stimulation of blood flow in the uterus, it should be avoided during pregnancy. It is also in the Daisy family, so people with allergies to ragweed may want to be cautious with mugwort.

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