Botanical Name: Artemiseae 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.
Below is an overview of mugwort, combining and interpreting the best of Western science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), shamanism, folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of mugwort.
Western Name: Mugwort
Also Known As: Sagebrush, Wormwood, Wild Wormwood, Old Uncle Henry, Naughty Man, St. John’s Plant (not St. John’s Wort!!)
Organs/Systems: Stomach, Uterus, Intestines, Liver, Blood
Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Used as a Tonic, Stomachic, Febrifuge and Anthelmintic. Very good against malaria. Antiseptic, Anti-inflammatory, asthma, paralytic muscles, pleurisy, catarrh, forms of scrofulous, inflammation of joints, pregnancy to aid birthing, especially the removal of the placenta, anthelminthic. And in Ayurveda for cardiac complaints, feelings of unease, unwell or general malaise, and menstrual conditions.
Pin Yin: Folio Artemisieae Argyi (Ai Ye) Folium Artemisieae Annuae (qing hao) Artemesieae Anomalae (Liu Ji Nu)
Also Known As: Chrysanthemum Weed
Meridians: Liver, Kidney and all Meridians (one of the few herbs used to treat all Meridians).
Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Warming and Moving (includes womb too), Stop Bleeding, Disperse Cold and Alleviate Pain, malaria, warts (external). Cools Blood. Moxa used for moxabustion: to aid breech babies, aids uterine contractions (has been used to aid abortion). Cleanse Blood, Move Blood and Qi, some say hallucinogenic. Release to the Exterior: cause sweating break fever, colds flu. Expel Parasites and Reduce Inflammation: ulcers, sores, scrofula, and intestinal worms.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Leaf and Flower
Flavors: Extremely Bitter, Acrid, Warm
Caution: Careful if ingesting while pregnant; as moxa, use with caution if pregnant.
History/Folklore: Believed in Wiccan traditions to have psychic abilities. Often cultivated as a moon garden since Artemis, the goddess of the moon, is the plant’s namesake (“Artemesieae”). It’s bitterness was used by wet-nurses for weaning infants from the breast. Said to also be a tea for lucid dreaming. Rubbing leaves on body helps keep ghosts away and prevents 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 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 Germanic “wuertz” meaning root. 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 as a protection against weariness when going into battle.
Volatile oils (most have strong aromas and bitter tastes from terpenoids and sesquiterpene lactones which act as adaptation to discourage herbivory. Artemisinin, camphene, Vitamin A, abrotamine, limonene, thujone (which is toxic in large doses) and cineole are essential oils. It contains flavonoids, triterpenes, and coumarin derivatives. Over a 100 identified compounds. Flowers contain beta-carotenes.
Mugwort and Malaria
Mugwort’s constituent artemisinin is the most rapid compound against malaria.
Repels insects, especially moths, from gardens.
Used in brewing beer and as a base for vermouth and absinthe.
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