Mugwort (Ai Ye, Liu Ji Nu, Qing Hao)

Botanical Name: Artemisia vulgaris

Mugwort has long been used as a healing herb that is used both internally and externally. As “moxa,” the herb is burned and passed over the portion or area of the body needing to be healed or tonified.

Watch a short video, from Ann Christensen, Founder and Creator of White Rabbit Institute of Healing™ – 3 Artemisia, Only 1 is Mugwort!

Below is an overview of Mugwort, combining the best of Western Science, Oriental Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore, and a wide range of healing modalities. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of mugwort.

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Western Name: Mugwort​

Also Known As: Sagebrush, Wormwood, Wild Wormwood, Old Uncle Henry, Naughty Man, St. John’s Plant (not St. John’s Wort!!), Cronewort, Old Man

Organs/Systems: Digestive, Uterus, Blood

Key Actions: Tonic, Stomachic, Febrifuge, Anthelmintic. Antiseptic, Anti-inflammatory, Relaxant, Choleretic

Key Medicinal Uses: Asthma, paralytic muscles, pleurisy, catarrh, forms of scrofulous, inflammation of joints, pregnancy to aid birthing, especially the removal of the placenta, anthelmintic. And in Ayurveda for cardiac complaints, feelings of unease, unwell or general malaise, and menstrual conditions.


Pin Yin: Ai Ye (folio artemisieae argyi), Qing Hao (folium artemisieae annuae), Liu Ji Nu (artemesieae anomalae)

Also Known As: Chrysanthemum Weed

Meridians: Liver, Kidney and all Meridians

Key Actions: Warming and Moving (includes the Womb), Stops Bleeding, Disperses Cold, Alleviates Pain, Cleanses the Blood, Moves Blood and Qi, Hallucinogenic, Releases to the Exterior, Expels Parasites, Reduces Inflammation, Used as moxa for moxibustion

Key Medicinal Uses: Malaria, warts (external), to aid breech babies, aid uterine contractions, cause sweating to break a fever, colds, flu, depression, constipation, cramping, fatigue, hysteria, irritability, diarrhea, insomnia, general malaise, ulcers, sores, scrofula, intestinal worms.

Basic Habitat / Botany:

There are 200-400 species of Mugwort belonging to the daisy family. It has fern-like leaves that are covered with white silvery hairs. Its small white flowers are wind-pollinated. They grow best in free-draining soil, unfertilized, and in full sun. It is a tall herbaceous perennial plant with a woody root. Mugwort flowers from July to September.

Living in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere in usually dry to semi-dry habitats. It is native to Europe, Asia, North Africa, and Alaska. It has been naturalized in North America, where it is often considered an invasive weed. It likes nitrogenous soils, weedy uncultivated areas, and roadsides.

Parts Most Frequently Used: Leaf and Flower

Flavors/Temps: Extremely Bitter, Acrid, Warm

Caution: Mugwort is generally considered safe, however since it is a uterine stimulant, caution should be observed during pregnancy.

Key Constituents: Volatile oils, Terpenoids, Sesquiterpenes, Artemisinin, Camphene, Vitamin A, Limonene, Thujone, Cineole, Flavonoids, Coumarin. Flowers contain Beta-carotenes.

History/Folklore: Mugwort is believed in Wiccan traditions to have psychic abilities. It is often cultivated in what are called moon gardens. Artemis, the goddess of the moon, gives the plant its botanical name Artemesia. Its bitterness was used by wet nurses for weaning infants from the breast. It is also said to be a tea for lucid dreaming.

Rubbing mugwort leaves on the body can help keep ghosts away and prevent dreaming about the dead. It is believed John the Baptist used the herb as a girdle in the wilderness to protect himself from evil spirits. Ancient Greeks and Egyptians used moxa (burning mugwort). Hippocrates recommended mugwort taken internally to aid delivery of the placenta.

The common name of mugwort is often said to derive from “mug” since it was used to flavor drinks since the Iron Age. Some say it is from the Norse word “urt” for plant or the Germanic “wuertz” meaning root.

Sometimes called the mother of all herbs, mugwort is known for its powerful relationship with the moon, and the female goddess Artemis, and is a prime herb for women as it benefits the menses, can help turn the fetus, expel the placenta, and lift a woman’s spirit. In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) eating mugwort can stimulate uterine contractions, making ingesting the herb unrecommended for pregnant women. Mugwort helps to regulate hormone levels.

In the Middle Ages, it was used as a magical protective herb. In ancient times, it was used as a remedy for fatigue; the Romans even put it in their sandals to protect against weariness when going into battle.

In Japan, the juice of mugwort is used to stop bleeding, lower fevers, and purge the stomach of toxins. It is also commonly boiled and used to relieve coughs and cold symptoms.

In Ayurvedic medicine, mugwort treats cardiac complaints and soothes anxiety.

In TCM, mugwort is used as moxibustion (the burning of the dried herb above the skin to produce smoke that penetrates into the Body as well as allowing the herb to be gently inhaled) to turn the fetus and prevent breech positioning before birth. It is also commonly used as moxibustion to treat ailments including to help Build and Move Qi and Blood. In this form, the herb is Warming, Tonifying, and Moving. It is said to be one of the few herbs that can be used to treat all the Meridians.

In the West, mugwort smoke has been used to disinfect contaminated areas and help revive patients from comas.

Native North American Chumash Indians have traditionally used the herb to treat coughs and fevers. It was also used to help treat bruises, rashes, poison ivy, eczema, and even arm or foot odor. They have also associated and used the herb for over 13,000 years in rituals to help protect against ghosts or dreams of the dead.

The flowers add a bitter flavor to season fat, meat, and fish dishes. It has also been used to flavor beer before the introduction of hops. In Germany, the herb is used to season the traditional roast goose at Christmas. In Japan, mugwort is the key ingredient in kusa mochi rice cakes. In Korea, the herb is used in soups and salads.

Mugwort pollen is a main source of hay fever and allergic asthma in North Europe, America, and parts of Asia.

Research indicates that mugwort contains over 100 identified compounds.

Mugwort also makes a yellow dye and is an effective insect repellent.

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Did you know?

Mugwort and Malaria

Mugwort’s constituent artemisinin is the most rapid compound against malaria.

Repels Insects

Mugwort repels insects, especially moths, from gardens.
Fun fact!


Mugwort is used in brewing beer and as a base for vermouth and absinthe.

Take FULL advantage of Mugwort (Ai Ye, Liu Ji Nu, Qing Hao)!

Connecting Eastern and Western perspectives on HOW and WHY this herb works. Find out how to safely and effectively use this healing herb for treating conditions and for your Body, Mind, and Spirit. Find True Health. Explore uses, safety information, benefits, history, recipes, gardening tips, essential oil information, if it applies, and much, much more in this online course.

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ATTENTION: All material provided on this website is for informational or educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of your healthcare professional or physician. Redistribution permitted with attribution. Be Healthy. Be Happy. Be Whole. Be Free.

ATENCIÓN: Todo el material proporcionado en este sitio web es sólo con fines informativos o educativos. No es sustituto del consejo de su profesional de la salud o médico. Esté sano. Sea feliz. Siéntase completo. Sea libre.

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