Mugwort herb or artemisia vulgaris is also known as chrysanthemum weed, common wormwood, felon herb and common mugwort. Mugwort has been traditionally used to regulate menstrual cycle and assisting women to treat symptoms of menopause. In the olden days, mugwort was believed to ease exhaustion and aching feet. It was common then to see travelers putting the herb in their shoes. Other uses of mugwort include flavoring beer, inducing vivid dreams, repelling moths and insects and to fight against evil spirits.
Mugwort is related to wormwood or artemisia absinthium and one of the common features is its bitter leaves. The parts of the artemisia vulgaris plant that are used as herbal medicine are the leaves, flowers and stems. When mugwort leaf is crushed, it produces a strong aroma. The crushed leaves when used as a poultice may help remove warts and also skin inflammations.
Mugwort leaf contains volatile oils including camphor, eucalyptol, thujone, linalool, borneol, pinene and also other constituents such as hydroxycoumarins, lipohilic flavonoids, vulgarin and triterpenes. Mugwort flowers contain beta-sitosterol, coumarin and alpha carotene and beta carotene.
Mugwort herb is classified as a medium strength emmenagogue herb. An emmenagogue is an herb which promotes menstrual bleeding. Other herbs that are emmenagogues include blue and black cohosh, celery seed, feverfew, ginger, juniper, parsley, rosemary, sage and yarrow. Mugwort is also a uterine contracting herb or uterine stimulant because of the presence of thujone. It is thus not recommended for pregnant women unless prescribed by an obstetrician or gynecologist.
Mugwort has sedative or calmative and antispasmodic properties. It may help in the treatment of anxiety, mild depression and menstrual cramps. Mugwort is also a digestive tonic and may help stimulate appetite, prevent the bloated feeling as well as stimulate the secretion of gastric juices to accelerate digestion and relieve intestinal gas.
It has anti-rheumatic properties and a soak in mugwort bath may help relief muscle aches and joint pains. Chinese and Japanese medical practitioners practice a therapy called moxibustion in which the mugwort herb is dried, crushed, rolled up and burned close to the skin where the acupuncture points reside. The therapy may include the use of acupuncture needles.
Mugwort oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties and may help fight against intestinal parasites including getting rid of pinworm and tapeworm.
Mugwort is available as cut and dried, mugwort powder, mugwort tea, in tinctures and capsules and mugwort essential oil. To make mugwort tea, steep 1 to 2 teaspoons of mugwort herb in a cup of boiling water between 5 to 10 minutes.