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Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)

Mugwort is a tall, herbaceous perennial that grows from 3-7 ft tall with leaves that are dark green on top and have a white, fuzzy underside. The grooved stems change from a light green to a dark purple as the plant grows and become woody over time. The flowers grow in clusters of tiny white to yellow heads arranged in racemose panicles. Mugwort is widely distributed around the globe, with Antarctica being the only continent where it is not found (Ohio State University, 2024).    

Historical Use

As we can see in the snippet above, in 1578 Dodoens recorded the use of Mugwort was combined with almond oil and used as a poultice to treat stomach ache, and the juice of Mugwort combined with Rose Oil was used to treat joint pain, though we should take these with a grain of salt since it was also reported to prevent bites and stings from any “venemous beast.”

Modern Use

Traditionally, Mugwort has been used to induce labor, to treat intestinal distress, and as a sedative. Recently, Mugwort has also been investigated for possible use to treat Colic, menstrual cramps, high blood pressure, scar tissue, epilepsy, and sleep disorders. However, there hasn’t been significant evidence to support the use of Mugwort for any of these, or even the traditional uses. In addition, Mugwort has not been deemed safe to use through modern studies and is likely harmful for pregnant women (NatMed- Mugwort). While herbal preparations of the plant may not be safe, there have been recent studies into the biochemical properties of Artemisia vulgaris which have shown that the plant contains a number of chemicals that are of medicinal value. Mugwort contains chemicals being investigated for use as antiseptic, antioxidant, and anti-malarial agents. Isolates from Mugwort are also being studied for use in treating high blood pressure, liver damage, epilepsy, and cancer. Given this, Mugwort is considered one of the most broadly therapeutic plants known (Abiri et al, 2018).

Latest Research


Abiri, R., Silva, A. L. M., de Mesquita, L. S. S., de Mesquita, J. W. C., Atabaki, N., de Almeida, E. B., Jr., Shaharuddin, N. A., & Malik, S. (2018). Towards a better understanding of Artemisia vulgaris: Botany, phytochemistry, pharmacological and biotechnological potential. Food Res Int, 109, 403-415.

Dodoens, R. (1578). A Nievve Herball, or, Historie of Plantes. G. Dewes.

Ohio State University. (2024). Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris). Ohio Perennial and Biennial Weed Guide.