Mugwort - Artemisia vulgaris Mugwort - Artemisia vulgaris
Foto: botanika.wendys.cz

Herb: Mugwort


Latin name: Artemisia vulgaris


Family: Compositae



Medicinal use of Mugwort:

Mugwort has a long history of use in herbal medicine especially in matters connected to the digestive system, menstrual complaints and the treatment of worms. It is slightly toxic, however, and should never be used by pregnant women, especially in their first trimester, since it can cause a miscarriage. Large, prolonged dosage can damage the nervous system. All parts of the plant are anthelmintic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, digestive, emmenagogue, expectorant, nervine, purgative, stimulant, slightly tonic and used in the treatment of women's complaints. The leaves are also said to be appetizer, diuretic, haemostatic and stomachic. They can be used internally or externally. An infusion of the leaves and flowering tops is used in the treatment of nervous and spasmodic affections, sterility, functional bleeding of the uterus, dysmenorrhoea, asthma and diseases of the brain. The leaves have an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus typhi, B. dysenteriae, streptococci, E. coli, B. subtilis, Pseudomonas etc. The leaves are harvested in August and can be dried for later use. The stem is also said to be antirheumatic, antispasmodic, and stomachic. The roots are tonic and antispasmodic. They are said to be one of the best stomachics. They are harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The leaves, placed inside the shoes, are said to be soothing for sore feet. The compressed dried leaves and stems are used in moxibustion. Another report says that the down from the leaves is used.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
120 cm
(4 feet)

Flovering:
July to
September

Habitat of the herb:

Common on hedgebanks and waysides, uncultivated and waste land.

Edible parts of Mugwort:

Leaves - raw or cooked. Aromatic and somewhat bitter. Their addition to the diet aids the digestion and so they are often used in small quantities as a flavouring, especially with fatty foods. They are also used to give colour and flavour to glutinous-rice dumplings (Mochi). The young shoots are used in spring. In Japan the young leaves are used as a potherb. The dried leaves and flowering tops are steeped into tea. They have also been used as a flavouring in beer, though fell into virtual disuse once hops came into favour.

Other uses of the herb:

The fresh or the dried plant repels insects, it can be used as a spray but caution is advised since it can also inhibit plant growth. A weak tea made from the infused plant is a good all-purpose insecticide. An essential oil from the plant kills insect larvae. The down on the leaves makes a good tinder for starting fires.

Propagation of Mugwort:

Seed - surface sow from late winter to early summer in a greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. When large enough to handle, prick out the seedlings into individual pots. If growth is sufficient, they can be planted out into their permanent positions in the summer, otherwise grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter and then plant them out in the spring. Division in spring or autumn. Basal cuttings in late spring. Harvest the young shoots when about 10 - 15cm long, pot up in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse or cold frame and plant them out when well rooted. Very easy.

Cultivation of the herb:

Common on hedgebanks and waysides, uncultivated and waste land.

Known hazards of Artemisia vulgaris:

The plant might be poisonous in large doses. Skin contact can cause dermatitis in some people.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.