Mugwort is any of several flowering plants belonging to the genus Artemisia. The herb has been traditionally used to boost energy levels and support liver health. It is also believed to help with diarrhea and itchiness. Mugwort may cause allergies, nausea, vomiting, miscarriage, hypertension, and neuropsychiatric symptoms when taken in excess. However, according to Halina Ekiert et al., mugwort is not likely to cause side effects in therapeutic doses.

Mugwort supplements are derived from the plant parts that grow above the ground. Supplements come in capsule, powder, and liquid extract forms. Although many manufacturers sell mugwort supplements, only some have established themselves in the industry. The top five mugwort supplement producers are Wise Woman Herbals, Enzymedica, Gaia Herbs, Artesia Apothecary, and Swanson. Mugwort supplements are typically used as an analgesic and to promote blood circulation. They are also used in aromatherapy to alleviate stress and boost energy levels.

Mugwort is widely used to treat gastrointestinal issues. Researchers have noted mugwort’s effectiveness in treating illnesses related to the gut due to its capacity to reduce the presence of harmful microorganisms. They hypothesized this ability could be attributed to the herb’s bioactive phenolic compounds, which have antimicrobial activity.

Although mugwort is an all-encompassing term, in most scientific studies, the word is used to refer to Artemisia vulgaris or common mugwort unless specified. Also called wild wormwood and chrysanthemum weed, common mugwort is endemic to northern Europe and some parts of Africa and Asia. The plant also now grows abundantly in other regions, including North America.

 

What Are The Benefits Of Mugwort?

Mugwort has been found to yield positive health effects when consumed because of its composition. Below are some of the plant’s benefits, as proven by scientific research and anecdotal evidence.

1. Boosts Energy

Mugwort has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine as a “moxa,” or a material that is burned and then placed close to or on the body’s acupuncture and meridian points to enable the flow of qi or energy. According to practitioners, good health is maintained when energy blockages are removed. Halina Ekiert et al. stated that for the process of “moxibustion,” as it is called, to take place, mugwort extract is poured on cotton bud tips, or mugwort leaves are used to fill cigarettes and then lit on fire. 

Scientific research has proven that even fetuses in breech presentations, in which the fetus comes out buttocks or feet first during birth, may gain these energy-boosting benefits when the pregnant mother undergoes moxibustion with mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris). A study by F. Cardini et al. concluded that fetuses exhibited more activity after seven days of moxibustion treatment, with an additional seven days of treatment if the fetus remained in the breech position. According to the researchers, a mean of 48.45 fetal movements was reported by the intervention group instead of the 35.45 average reported by the control group. F. Cardini et al. also found that after the treatment, during week 35 of gestation, 98 of the 130 fetuses in the intervention group were cephalic, a state in which the fetus is set to come out head first during delivery. This is opposed to the 62 cephalic fetuses of the 130 mothers in the control group.

The researchers found that 98 of the 130 fetuses in the intervention group were cephalic at birth, while 81 of the 130 fetuses in the control group were cephalic at birth. They did not specify a mechanism of action or the ingredient responsible for the results of their study, noting that further research was needed. However, mugwort also contains vitamin C, which plays a critical role in energy production through beta-oxidation.

It is difficult to give a recommended dosage of mugwort supplements for one to benefit from the herb’s energy-boosting property because of the limited studies that look directly at this effect. Consultation with a healthcare professional is advised before consumption of the herb.  

2. Helps With Colic

Scientific research has found that mugwort can help gastrointestinal diseases such as colic. An in vitro study by Gaudencio Natividad et al. found that the chloroform and methanolic extracts from Artemisia vulgaris decreased ileum contractions, which are the primary causes of the pain experienced in gastrointestinal disorders. The contractions are typically due to an obstruction in an internal body part such as the kidneys or intestines. The researchers stated that the chloroform extract (AV-CHCl3) reduction of the maximum number of ileum contractions induced by methacholine, 5-HT, histamine, and -PEA in the subjects was greater than the reduction induced by the methanolic extract (AV-MeOH).

Another study by Arif-Ullah Khan et al. found that crude mugwort extract (Av.Cr) led to a relaxation of contracting jejunum in the subjects, with an EC50 value of 2.3 mg/ml. The jejunum is the middle part of the intestine.

Researchers Gaudencio Natividad et al. suggested that the yomogin in mugwort was responsible for the inhibition of histamine receptors that caused the contractions, although the exact mechanism by which this was done warrants further study. They also noted the smooth muscle relaxant properties of mugwort, which researchers Arif-Ullah Khan et al. stated were due to its blockade of muscarinic receptors involved in the body’s parasympathetic responses such as smooth muscle contraction, and to CA2+ or calcium ion, which plays a role in body processes such as neuronal signaling and muscle contractions.

It is difficult to recommend a mugwort supplement dosage for one to treat gastrointestinal disorders such as colic because of the limited clinical trials that looked into this specific benefit. Consultation with a healthcare professional is advised before consumption of the herb.

3. Helps With Diarrhea

Mugwort has been proven to help with diarrhea. An in vivo study by Arif Ullah-Khan et al. using animal models found that crude mugwort extract (Av.Cr) induced an inhibitory effect on diarrhea caused by castor oil. The researchers said that pretreatment with crude mugwort extract at 300 mg/kg generated a 20% protection in the subjects, while a 1,000 mg/kg pretreatment produced 60% protection. The inhibitory effect was dose-dependent (300–1,000 mg/kg). 

In combination with ginger, mugwort has also been used to successfully treat diarrhea in complementary medicine, according to researcher K.P. Prabhakaran Nair. Acupuncturists typically use moxibustion to address qi deficiencies in the spleen, which are believed to cause the condition. For the process, the mugwort is rolled into a cone, and the ginger is sliced one to two centimeters thick. Holes are made on the slices. 

The ginger slice is then placed on the umbilicus of the patient suffering from diarrhea, and the moxa cone made of mugwort is placed on the disk. The cone is carefully lit and remains on the ginger disk until the area turns red and the patient sweats. According to K.P. Prabhakaran Nair, this process is followed until four to five cones are burned.

Arif Ullah-Khan et al. did not specify the ingredient responsible for mugwort’s anti-diarrhea effect. However, they stated that the herb’s blockade of muscarinic receptors and calcium ions might be the mechanism behind it.

Because of the limited clinical studies on the direct effects of mugwort on diarrhea, it is difficult to specify a mugwort supplement dosage for one to benefit from the herb’s anti-diarrhea property. Consultation with a healthcare professional is advised prior to consumption.

4.  Supports Liver Health

Scientific studies have found that mugwort has hepatoprotective properties and is effective for liver health support. A study by Anwarul Hassan Gilani et al. using animal models found that crude mugwort extract administered to the subjects at different doses of 150 mg/kg to 600 mg/kg decreased a rise in alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase levels, which can indicate liver damage. The researchers further confirmed the hepatoprotective effect of mugwort following an analysis of the liver. According to Anwarul Hassan Gilani et al., the research showed that liver architecture had improved; there was less swelling and a reduced number of apoptotic cells than in the group that did not receive the treatment. The researchers did not observe parenchyma blockage, which may indicate liver damage.

In their in vivo study using animal models, researchers S. Ali et al. noted mugwort’s potential against tumors, particularly hepatocellular carcinoma. This was after they observed a significant decrease in alanine transaminase and aspartate aminotransferase levels following administration of mugwort extract at 150 mg/kg of body weight once a week for eight weeks in subjects with diethylnitrosamine-induced hepatocellular carcinogenesis. An increase in alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase levels may indicate liver damage. The researchers stated that the extract also decreased the alpha-fetoprotein, lactate dehydrogenase, 5-Nucleotidase, gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase, bilirubin, and glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase and increased albumin levels. According to the researchers, an increase in alpha-fetoprotein, gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase, lactate dehydrogenase, and a decrease in albumin levels indicate liver damage.

Researchers Anwarul Hassan Gilani et al. did not specify the mugwort ingredient responsible for its hepatoprotective effects. However, they noted this property might be partly explained by a study by X T Tigno et al., which found that the herb improved ischemia reperfusion-induced inflammation. The X T Tigno et al. study attributed mugwort’s anti-inflammatory property to yomogin. The researchers stated that yomogin exhibits this anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting inducible nitric oxide synthase.

Because of the limited clinical trials that looked into this specific mugwort benefit, it is difficult to recommend a mugwort supplement dosage for those who wish to benefit from the herb’s hepatoprotective property. Consultation with a healthcare professional is advised before supplement use.

5. Relieves Itching 

Research has found that mugwort can relieve itching. A study by Rei Ogawa et al. found that 14 out of 15 patients who used mugwort lotion on their severely itchy hypertrophic scars derived from second to third-degree burns reported positive associations with the herb. Some noted only intermittent itching after using it two times a day for two months. The lotion used in the study was composed of 6.25 g of mugwort extract, 2.5 g of l-menthol, 175 cc of absolute ethanol, and distilled water applied on 10 x 10 cm areas on the skin.

After two months of treatment, the researchers stated that 11 of 14 regions, or 78.6%, had a reduction in redness. The study reported improvements as early as one week after treatment, with six of 15 areas, or 40.0%, experiencing benefits. 

The researchers noted that the herb’s anti-itch activity might result from its anti-allergenic, antihistamine, and anti-inflammatory properties. In making the conclusion, they found that the itchiness in hypertrophic scars was caused by the chemical mediators that come from cells associated with inflammation, such as mast cells. Jitendra Pandey et al. reported that mugwort enhanced paraoxonase-1 enzyme activity, which decreases serum TNF-α levels, a proinflammatory cytokine. However, the researchers did not specify an ingredient that may be responsible for these properties.

Based on the Rei Ogawa et al. study, mugwort lotion, at a 6.25 g mugwort extract composition, two times a day for at least one week can relieve itchiness. However, consultation with a healthcare professional is still advised before supplement use.

6. Calms Nerves

Studies have found that several mugwort types can relieve anxiety. Using animal models, Imran Khan et al. found that the carnosol, ursolic, and oleanolic acid derived from Artemisia indica exhibited anxiolytic properties in subjects administered 10, 30, and 100 mg/kg of the extracts. The doses were given 30 minutes before the pentylenetetrazol to induce seizures was injected. According to the researchers, upon administration of each extract in the different sets of subjects, the percent of open-arm entries and the time they spent in open arms in an elevated plus maze increased, indicating anxiety reduction. When subjected to a light dark test, each set of subjects spent more time in the light compartment after treatment, also proving the extracts’ anti-anxiety properties.

Another study using animal models by Nashmeh Asharzadeh et al. found that subjects who were administered 100 and 200 mg/kg of the Artemisia persica’s hydroalcoholic extract increased their number of entries into open arms and their time spent in open arms in a plus maze, indicating a reduction in anxiety levels. The researchers said the extract’s anxiolytic effect appeared dose-dependent at an amount of up to 200 mg/kg.

Researchers Nashmeh Asharzadeh et al. attributed Artemisia persica’s anxiolytic component to its phenolic compounds, which exhibited antioxidant properties. Anxiety has been linked to oxidative stress. According to Je Hyuk Lee, the Artemisia species provides this benefit through potent radical scavenging activity, which converts free radicals that can cause oxidative stress into more stable components.

Because of the limited to no clinical trials that looked into the nerve-calming effects of mugwort, it is difficult to recommend a supplement dose for those who wish to benefit from the herb’s anxiolytic property. Consultation with a healthcare professional is advised prior to consumption of mugwort supplements.

7. Repels Insects

Studies have found that several mugwort types exhibit insecticidal activities. A study by Shanshan Gao et al. found that Artemisia vulgaris essential oil, when used to treat red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum) larvae at a dose of 50 μL at a 100% concentration, yielded a cumulative larva death of 93.33% ± 3.84%, 95.56% ± 2.22%, and 97.78% ± 2.22% following 24, 48, and 72 hours of in vitro treatment. Meanwhile, a study by De Yue Luo found that the essential oils in Artemisia argyi from seven regions in China yielded insecticidal activities against Anopheles sinensis, a mosquito species that transmit malaria. The researchers noted that the essential oil from Artemisia argyi from Hubei province exhibited the highest larvicidal activity, with an average fatal concentration of 40.23 µg/mL. Of the components of Artemisia vulgaris, De Yue Luo et al. found that eucalyptol was the most toxic fumigant. Meanwhile, phytol exhibited the most potent larvicidal activity.

The De Yue Luo study did not specify the mechanism used by Artemisia argyi to exhibit its insecticidal properties. However, the Shanshan Gao study noted that Artemisia vulgaris affected the reproduction and development of larvae by affecting the antioxidant activity and suppressing lipase signaling pathways and protease.

Based on research, 40.23 µg/mL of Artemisia argyi and 50 μL at a 100% concentration of Artemisia vulgaris sufficed for mugwort to yield insecticidal properties. Consultation with an agriculturist or a botanist is advised before using mugwort for this purpose.

 

What Are The Risks (Side Effects) Of Mugwort?

In therapeutic doses, mugwort is not likely to cause adverse effects. However, if used in excess, the following side effects may occur:

  • Allergies: The glycoproteins in mugwort pollen can result in a type 1 allergic reaction when inhaled. A cross-sectional study performed on 6,304 patients who have asthma or rhinitis in 17 cities in China found that after a skin prick test, 11.3% tested positive for Artemisia vulgaris. Of the 215,210 tests conducted for three years by China’s allergy department, 76% were found to be inhalant allergens. Wang R. et al. reported that the most prevalent were Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, Dermatophagoides farinae, and Artemisia.
  • Miscarriage: A study by Abdalla Mohammad Hijazi et al. observed a “dramatic mid-term abortion” after 50 mg/kg or 300 mg/kg of Artemisia monosperma ethanolic extract in impregnated rats on days 10 to 12 of gestation.
  • Neuropsychiatric symptoms: Two patients exhibiting neuropsychiatric symptoms were reported by Yavuz Altunkaynak et al. after consuming excessive mugwort (Artemisia absinthium) tea. The doctors stated that they could not assess the specific mugwort dosage consumed. The first patient, aged 53, reported cognitive disturbances and hallucinations for 48 hours. After an intravenous liquid replacement therapy, these symptoms disappeared after two days. The second patient, aged 32, was disoriented for five days, but this disappeared after five days.  
  • Nausea and vomiting: K. Chan et al. reported the case of a 47-year-old woman who complained of nausea and vomited after the first and second day of her moxibustion treatment. The treatment aimed to alleviate her body’s adverse responses to the chemotherapy she was undergoing six months after her rectal cancer surgery. The moxibustion was discontinued, and nausea and vomiting disappeared.
  • Hypertension: According to Halina Ekiert et al., mugwort may cause high blood pressure if consumed excessively.

 

How Does Mugwort Work Within The Human Body?

Clinical trials involving mugwort are limited to none, making it difficult to determine how the herb works in humans once consumed. However, studies using animal models, both in vivo and in vitro, show that the mechanisms by which mugwort works depend on the specific health benefits one wishes to gain from the herb. For instance, mugwort’s capacity to treat gastrointestinal problems such as colic and diarrhea has been attributed to its yomogin content, which researchers Arif-Ullah Khan et al. concluded helps block the muscarinic receptors involved in the body’s parasympathetic responses such as smooth muscle contractions. Yomogin has also been found to help block CA2+ or calcium ion, which plays a role in processes such as muscle contractions and neuronal signaling.

According to researchers Anwarul Hassan Gilani et al., the hepatoprotective effects of mugwort may be partly explained by the fact that the herb can improve ischemia reperfusion-induced inflammation. The X T Tigno et al. study, which yielded those findings, stated that the yomogin content in mugwort exhibited the anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting inducible nitric oxide synthase.

Research has found that mugwort’s anti-itch activity may result from its anti-inflammatory properties since the itching, especially in hypertrophic scars, is caused by chemicals released by pro-inflammatory mast cells. Jitendra Pandey et al. reported that mugwort enhanced paraoxonase-1 enzyme activity, resulting in a decrease in serum TNF-α, a pro-inflammatory cytokine. 

Researchers Nashmeh Asharzadeh et al. stated that mugwort’s phenolic compounds exhibit antioxidant properties, alleviating anxiety. According to Je Hyuk Lee, mugwort does this through potent radical scavenging, ensuring the stability of free radicals that can cause oxidative stress. 

How Do You Determine The Correct Mugwort Dosage?

The doses for one to benefit from mugwort’s properties vary, depending on the positive effect one wishes to gain. For instance, to benefit from mugwort’s insecticidal properties, based on research, 40.23 µg/mL of Artemisia argyi and 50 μL at a 100% concentration of Artemisia vulgaris sufficed. To relieve itching, researchers Rei Ogawa et al. found that mugwort lotion, at a dose of 6.25 g of mugwort extract, two times a day for at least one week was enough.

Because of the limited to no clinical studies on the other health effects of mugwort, it is difficult to give a recommended dosage for one to benefit from these properties. Consultation with a healthcare professional is advised before mugwort consumption. 

 

What Are The Most Common Questions For Mugwort Usage?

A check online shows that questions on mugwort usage center around the herb’s benefits, side effects, and how it’s consumed. Below is a list of the most common inquiries:

  • What are mugwort’s abortive properties?
  • Does mugwort make you infertile?
  • What are mugwort’s side effects?
  • What are mugwort tea’s benefits?
  • How do you make mugwort tea?
  • What is mugwort used for?
  • How do you use mugwort?
  • Can I smoke mugwort daily?
  • How do you use mugwort for anxiety?
  • How do you smoke mugwort for your period?
  • What does mugwort do?
  • What are mugwort’s health risks?
  • What are mugwort’s benefits to women’s health?
  • What are mugwort tincture’s health benefits?
  • What are mugwort seed’s health benefits?
  • What does burning mugwort do?
  • Is it safe to drink mugwort tea?
  • Is mugwort poisonous to humans?

Questions about mugwort as a plant and its botanical characteristics are not as common. Nor are questions about how to harvest and process the plant.

 

What Are The Facts About Mugwort?

There are many interesting facts about mugwort. It is a hardy plant that grows in areas with temperate climates. Many mugwort types are wind-pollinated and have high adaptability, making them easy to flourish in any ecosystem. In North America, for example, mugwort can be found in meadows and wetlands. 

Once part of the ecosystem, the plant can be challenging to control. Some types, such as Artemisia absinthium, are invasive and resistant to pulling and mowing. Other types like Artemisia vulgaris attract butterflies and moths, which consider the herb their natural habitat.

Mugwort does not just yield health and insecticidal properties when used. It can also serve culinary, ornamental, and other cosmetic purposes. Adding mugwort to dishes such as salads, soups, and rice gives them a unique bitter flavor and an aromatic fragrance. According to The Spruce, a gardening website, mugwort can also be used for decorative purposes in a meadow garden setup. Apart from lotions, some mugwort types such as Artemisia vulgaris can be used to create perfumes. 

How Is Mugwort Processed?

Mugwort does not undergo a complex process to be prepared for consumption. According to Halina Ekiert et al., the plant’s aerial parts, such as its leaves and stems, die every year and must be harvested as soon as the flowering starts. For the roots, the recommended harvesting time is the start of winter. According to Gardening Channel, a gardening website, some harvest the shoots in spring, while others gather the upper part of the stalk during the fall or summer.

According to Simon Hill, an expert forager, the entire plant without the roots can be plucked with a quick flick of the wrist to prevent the roots from getting damaged. If only the roots are collected, they must be brushed and washed with water to remove foreign agents. The collected parts should be hung to dry in natural conditions, typically in sheds. The ideal drying temperature is 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius). According to the Grow Network, the roots can also be spread on mesh sheets in a dehydrator or on a newspaper on the floor for drying. After the process, the roots should be light brown and brittle. 

Mugwort does not need to be used immediately after harvesting. The Gardening Channel recommends tying the mugwort stems that remained intertwined after harvesting with a rubber band or twine to store the herb for future use. The bundles should not be too big as they may not dry completely and could grow mold. Once prepared, they should be hung upside down in a dry place that is not frequented by insects and is far from the sunlight. The Gardening Channel recommends storing the bundles in sheds, basements, or garages. 

 

What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Mugwort?

Mugwort has a high nutritional value. Artemisia vulgaris’ aerial parts, in particular, contain sesquiterpenoid lactoids such as vulgarin (0.15% d.w.) and artemisinin (0 to 2.3% d.w.), and flavonoids such as vitexin (+-4 mg/kg d.w.), tricine (+-3 mg/kg d.w.), rutoside (+-7 to 20 mg/kg d.w.), luteolin (+-40 mg/kg d.w.), quercetin (+-3 mg/kg d.w.), jaceocidin (+-3 mg/kg d.w.), hyperoside (+-0.5 mg/kg d.w.), eupafolin (+-5 mg/kg d.w.), homeoriodictyol (+-10 mg/kg d.w.), isorhamnetin (+-2.5 mg/kg d.w.), diosmetin (+-5 mg/kg d.w.), eriodictyol (+-40 mg/kg d.w.), chrysoeriol (+-2.5 mg/kg d.w.), and apigenin (+- 2.5 mg/kg d.w.). They also contain phenolic acids such as caffeic acid, 5-O-caffeoylquinic acid (2.8 mg/kg d.w.), 3-O-caffeoylquinic acid (0.44 mg/kg d.w.), protocatechuic acid glucoside (3.2 mg/kg d.w.), quinic acid (1.5 mg/kg d.w.), and 5-feruloylquinic acid (0.37 mg.kg d.w.), vitamin A, vitamin C, and fatty acids. The aerial parts also contain sitosterol and stigmasterol sterols, (E)-β-ionone carotenoid, prunasin, polyacetylenes, and tannins. 

What Are The Mugwort Supplements?

Mugwort comes in many supplement types. Those who wish to benefit from the herb’s properties may consume it in the following forms:

1. Mugwort Liquid Extract

Mugwort liquid extract is derived from the aerial parts of the plant. It can be obtained via a maceration method, which involves immersing the plant in a liquid, typically alcohol (tincture), in an airtight bottle for a given period, or via a cold-pressing method, which involves the use of pressure without heat to release the oils from the herb. 

Mugwort liquid extract can be consumed in several ways, depending on the benefits one wishes to gain from the herb. Herb Pharm, for instance, recommends mixing 0.45 ml (20 drops) of its product in 2 oz of water or juice and drinking the beverage between meals to benefit from the herb’s health properties. Some supplement manufacturers such as Mushifu, Authentic, and Cedar Alley recommend applying their products topically for skin care. Authentic, however, recommends mixing the product first with other healthcare products such as toners, serums, and creams prior to application. Cedar Alley recommends spraying its supplement on the skin.      

Why Is Mugwort Liquid Extract Useful?

Mugwort liquid extract is beneficial because, when consumed orally, it allows for faster absorption and optimized use. According to Medicare Europe, the body does not need to break liquid extracts down for digestion. The company states that only one to four minutes are required to assimilate the liquid extract fully, and the body uses around 98% of the supplement once absorbed.

Users can have a higher risk of overdosing when consuming liquid extracts than tablets and capsules. This is because supplements in solid forms already have a fixed amount of mugwort. Meanwhile, the amount of liquid extract ingested by the patient ultimately depends on what they or a medical professional administers. Pills and capsules are a good option for those always on the go and who do not have time to measure dosages. Liquid extract sprays are easy to consume in the right amount, even when traveling.

2. Mugwort Raw Powder

Mugwort can also be consumed as a raw powder. The powder is typically derived from the plants’ leaves. Some supplement manufacturers like Indigo Herbs recommend mixing one to three teaspoons with one cup of boiling water to create tea for consumption. Other manufacturers like Zunhai offer the raw powder in tea bags which only have to be dipped in boiling water to make the tea. Honey or other sweeteners may be added before consumption. Other manufacturers like Korea’s K-Herb recommend using its raw mugwort powder as an added ingredient in dishes such as rice and bread.

3. Mugwort Pills

Mugwort powder can also be enclosed in capsules or solidified into tablets for consumption. The mugwort pill dosage recommended by supplement manufacturers varies. GinSen recommends daily consumption of 3 g of its mugwort tablets for at least one week for maximum effectiveness. Nature’s Health, meanwhile, recommends taking two capsules containing 1,060 mg of mugwort daily. According to the supplement manufacturer’s recommendation, the time of day the product should be consumed varies. Some supplement manufacturers, such as GinSen and Nature’s Health, recommend taking the pills after meals. Others like TerraVita recommend consuming their products during meals.

Consumers can be more accurate in their dosage with capsules and tablets than with liquid extracts since solid forms sold by supplement manufacturers already comes with a specific dose. However, the consumption of pills can be problematic, especially for people who have difficulty swallowing.

 

What Are The Mugwort Types?

Although mugwort has been typically used to refer to Artemisia vulgaris, it is an all-encompassing term that refers to several species from the genus Artemisia. Below are mugwort types that have also been the subject of scientific research:

  • Artemisia absinthium: Also called wormwood, grand wormwood, absinthe, absinthium, and absinthe wormwood, Artemisia absinthium was traditionally used in Europe to treat malaria. It is also used for its antiparasitic effects and pain management during childbirth and is a known additive to wines and spirits as a culinary ingredient. 
  • Artemisia argyi: This Artemisia species is also called silvery wormwood, gaiyou, and ai ye. It is used to treat pathologic conditions affecting the liver, spleen, or kidneys. It is also used as a hemostatic to reduce hemorrhage and treat dysmenorrhea and abdominal pain. 
  • Artemisia douglasiana: This Artemisia species is also called Douglas sagewort, dreamplant, and matico. Artemisia douglasiana was used by indigenous tribes of North America to alleviate headaches and joint pain. It is typically used to reduce stress levels and as an abortifacient. In Argentina, it is a known folk remedy for peptic ulcers.
  • Artemisia monosperma: This plant is endemic to the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, the Levant, and Libya. It is known for its antispasmodic effects and antioxidant activity. In Jordan, it is typically used as an abortifacient.
  • Artemisia persica: This Artemisia species is native to Iran and used for its antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiparasitic, and antipyretic activities. Scientific research has found it to be a potent neuropharmacological agent that can help against cognitive impairment.

What Is The Etymology Of Mugwort?

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, “mugwort” was derived from the Old English term “mugcwyrt.” “Mugcwyrt” is a modified combination of “midge wort” derived from the Proto-Germanic “muggi-wurti,” which comes from the words “muggjo” and “wurtiz,” meaning “small insects” and “plant.” According to J. Lust, the word mugwort may be derived from the Old Norse term “muggi” and the German word “wuertz,” which translates to “marsh” and “root.”

What Place Does Mugwort Have In Society And Culture?

Mugwort plays an essential role in society and culture and is used by practitioners of different types of traditional medicine worldwide. For instance, the moxibustion of mugwort described by some scientific studies to alleviate anxiety, boost energy levels, and treat diseases such as gastrointestinal disorders is a traditional Chinese medicine technique. Other mugwort types such as Artemisia absinthium and Artemisia douglasiana are used as folk remedies by native Europeans and Americans. Mugwort, particularly Artemisia vulgaris, is even used in Ayurveda. This traditional medicine system has its roots in India, and it is used as a treatment for constipation, respiratory diseases, and neuromuscular diseases, also called vataja roga. In Sanskrit, mugwort is called Damanaka.

Mugwort plays a role in the culinary scene, particularly in Asia and some parts of Europe. In China, for example, it is used to make sticky rice dumplings called qingtuan. According to The Woks of Life, a cooking blog, when supermarkets start selling them in Shanghai, it means spring has arrived. In Korea, mugwort soup is considered a delicacy in every household. In Japan, the plant is ground into a fine powder and used to create noodles. The French also use mugwort (tarragon) to add flavor to chicken and steak dishes.

At present, the global mugwort industry is thriving. Manufacturers widely use mugwort to create supplements to satisfy local demand in the US. The products are typically promoted for the treatment of gastrointestinal problems, as a liver tonic, and as a laxative. They can be found in major retailers online and in brick-and-mortar stores.

In China, Nanyang city, the country’s mugwort production center, now has 1,500 companies that focus solely on mugwort plantation and production. The companies employ 100,000 people and produce 10 billion yuan worth of mugwort products every year to supplement local demand alone. Authorities have attributed the sudden interest in mugwort to a more health-conscious population.

What Are Some Food Recipes That Contain Mugwort?

Mugwort is widely used as an ingredient to add flavor and aroma to dishes, particularly in Asia and some parts of Europe. Below are some food recipes that contain mugwort:

  • Ssuk-guk: This Korean dish which translates to mugwort soup, is made by mixing mugwort with seafood such as clams in a broth. It has a strong herbal taste, so people typically add bean powder to the soup before consuming it.
  • Ssukbeomul: This favorite Korean snack is prepared by mixing mugwort with rice and sugar to create a sweet rice cake. 
  • Kusa mochi: This is a popular Japanese snack. It is a mixture of mugwort and Japanese glutinous rice or mochi and is typically eaten with green tea. This dish has a counterpart called Qing tuan.
  • French Tarragon chicken: In this popular French dish, mugwort is used as a topping to give the fried chicken a licorice-like taste.
  • Mugwort panna cotta: Mugwort adds a slightly herbal taste to this milky and sweet Italian dessert.
  • Yomogi cupcakes: These cupcakes topped with mugwort are prepared by mixing pancake batter with the herb’s leaves while adding sugar and flour.

 

What Are The Mugwort Parts?

All the aerial parts of mugwort can be used for their therapeutic and culinary properties. Below is a list of these parts:

  • Leaves: The physical appearance of mugwort leaves vary depending on the type. However, many are fern-like and have white hairs that differentiate them from other plants. The leaves are typically processed to create supplements for consumption. They are also utilized to make moxa for moxibustion purposes and can be used in the kitchen as additional ingredients to add flavor.
  • Stems: The stems are usually straight but vary in color, depending on the mugwort type. Artemisia vulgaris stems, for instance, are reddish-brown. Artemisia annua stems, on the other hand, are brownish-purple.
  • Flowers: Most mugwort types do not have flowers that stand out in the garden. They are typically small and white, yellow, or brown. Artemisia vulgaris flowers, in particular, are reddish-brown. Mugwort flowers can be processed to create supplements for consumption.
  • Roots: Mugwort has sturdy roots that can be difficult to remove from the earth. Most Artemisia leaves fall to the ground during the winter, but their roots remain firm. Mugwort roots can be processed into different supplement forms.

 

What Is The History Of Mugwort?

Although the specific origins of mugwort are unclear, existing ancient literature shows that the herb has a long history of use. According to Hans Peter-Sika, mugwort was mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Nine Herbs Charm, supposedly to ward off evil spirits. The charm appears in the Lacnunga, an ancient text written around 1,000 A.D. Some note that the term mugwort may indicate how long the herb was used and its original use. According to Herb Cottage, a gardening website, it has been suggested that the term “mugwort” comes from the word “mug,” a supposed reference to its use as a flavoring agent in drinks during the Iron Ages. An alternative theory is that the term was derived from “moughte,” a Middle English term that means “moth” and was a supposed reference to the use of mugwort during the European Middle Ages to repel insects in gardens. According to Colin W. Wright, even the Romans had a service for mugwort. He stated that the herb was placed in soldiers’ sandals in the belief it would protect them from harm. The Chinese poet Su Shi also referenced mugwort in one of his poems in the 11th century. 

The herb was used in ancient healing systems for its therapeutic properties. In traditional Chinese medicine, which dates back to over 2,000 years, mugwort was and is still used as moxa for moxibustion. In Ayurveda, which originated in India over 3,000 years ago, mugwort was and is still used to treat neuromuscular conditions, also called vataja roga.

According to the New York Invasive Species Information website, the herb may have reached North America in the 16th century through Jesuit missionaries in Canada. The herb may have spread as a ship ballast and nursery stock pollutant, according to the site.

 

What Are The Other Plants That Are Called Mugwort From Time To Time?

Some plants are wrongly referred to as mugwort because of their similarities. Here is a list of some of those plants:

  • Jesuit’s tea: This plant, with the scientific name Dysphania ambrosioides, is typically confused with mugwort because of its similar flavor and odor profile. Like mugwort, Jesuit’s tea has a pungent odor and bitter taste.
  • Common ragweed: This plant, with the scientific name Ambrosia artemisiifolia, is typically confused with mugwort because of its physical appearance. The plant has purple stems one can also find in Artemisia vulgaris stems. 
  • Feverfew: This plant, with the scientific name Tanacetum parthenium, is also typically confused with mugwort because of its physical appearance. Like mugwort, it has pointed green leaves.

Are Mugwort Supplements Approved By The Authorities?

No. The Food and Drug Administration regulates health supplements like mugwort as dietary supplements, not as drugs. That means these supplements don’t need prior approval from the FDA to be sold. However, once they are on the market, the FDA starts exercising its safety monitoring function. It reviews supplement labels and promotional materials as its resources allow and monitors whether there are safety complaints about the product. The supplement manufacturer must report any of these complaints to the FDA within 15 days of receiving them.

Can You Take Mugwort At Night?

Yes. Studies have found that mugwort alleviates stress, which can help ensure deep sleep. A study using animal models by Imran Khan et al. found that the carnosol, ursolic, and oleanolic acid derived from Artemisia indica exhibited anxiolytic properties in subjects administered 10, 30, and 100 mg/kg of the extracts. Another study using animal models by Nashmeh Asharzadeh et al. also observed a reduction in anxiety levels in subjects who had been administered 100 and 200 mg/kg of Artemisia persica’s hydroalcoholic extract, based on their increased number of entries into open arms and their presence time in open arms in a plus maze.

Mugwort has also traditionally been used before sleeping by people who want lucid dreams. Although scientific studies on the effects of mugwort on dreams are limited to none, anecdotal evidence has shown that there is a basis for this traditional use of the herb. Many users have reported having vivid dreams after drinking mugwort tea. According to herbalist Scott Kloos, consuming mugwort in other forms, such as tinctures or smoking, can yield the same results.  

Can You Take Mugwort After A Meal?

Yes. Some supplement manufacturers recommend taking mugwort after a meal. GinSen, for instance, recommends taking 5 g of its mugwort extract dissolved in a cup of boiling water 30 minutes after a meal. Nature’s Herb, for its part, recommends consumption of two of its mugwort capsules after a meal.

According to Alana Kessler, a registered dietitian, water-soluble vitamins that include vitamin C are best consumed on an empty stomach because it allows for better absorption. Mugwort contains vitamin C, which is believed to be responsible for its energy-boosting properties. Consultation with a healthcare professional is advised before the use of mugwort supplements.

Can You Take Mugwort Every Day?

Yes. Some supplement manufacturers recommend consuming their mugwort products daily. Swanson, for example, suggests taking one capsule every day for maximum benefits. For its part, Florida Herbs recommends ingesting its mugwort tincture mixed with juice or water up to 2 to 4 times a day. Consultation with a healthcare provider is advised prior to consumption of mugwort supplements.

Can A Child Take Mugwort?

No. It is not recommended. The clinical studies that confirmed the herb’s positive health benefits involved adults, not children. For example, of the research mentioned in this article, the Rei Ogawa et al. study, which affirmed mugwort’s anti-itch activity, involved 15 patients aged 24 to 74, with an average age of 56. Consultation with a healthcare professional is advised before using mugwort.

Can Your Pet Consume Mugwort?

No. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has included mugwort, in particular Artemisia dracunculus, in its lists of toxic plants to dogs and cats. According to Animal Path, a website dedicated to animals, dogs and cats can experience diarrhea and vomiting if consumed. LSESC, an animal website, stated that pets could also experience prolonged depression, hypersalivation, lack of coordination, sleepiness, low blood pressure, and low body temperatures when mugwort is ingested. In severe cases, their consumption of mugwort can lead to a coma or death.

Which Tree Produces The Mugwort?

Mugwort is any of the several species belonging to the genus Artemisia. Its aerial parts are typically processed to create supplements with proven health and insecticidal benefits. Mugwort typically refers to the Artemisia vulgaris species unless specified in scientific studies.

Mugwort

What Are The Top Scientific Research Topics For Mugwort?

A check online shows that mugwort is of interest to many researchers. The top scientific research topics revolve around mugwort as an herb that yields health and other benefits and its side effects. Some studies also look at mugwort’s botanical characteristics. Below are some of those topics:

  • Significance of Artemisia vulgaris in the history of medicine
  • Mugwort, an overview
  • Mugwort lore
  • Tropomyosin in mugwort cross-reacts to house dust mite, eliciting non Th-2 response in allergic rhinitis patients sensitized to house dust mite
  • The effectiveness of mugwort leaf extract and Gotu Kola leaf extract against bacterial acne activity
  • Hypersensitivity to mugwort in patients with peach allergy 
  • Repellency and insecticidal activity of seven mugwort essential oils
  • Mugwort for the treatment of menopause, premenstrual syndrome, dysmenorrhea, and attention deficit disorder
  • Analysis patch test of mugwort in healthy controls

 

Is Mugwort A Drug?

Mugwort is a plant. However, some users have noted the herb’s dream-enhancing and hallucinogenic properties that some drugs have. The plant can also be consumed similarly to how other drugs are used. There have been reports of people smoking mugwort to benefit from its psychedelic properties. Herbalist Scott Kloos confirmed that consuming mugwort as smoke does enable one to benefit from these specific properties.

 

Is Mugwort Poisonous To Humans?

Yes, but only if consumed in excess, like many other substances. Mugwort contains thujone, which, when consumed excessively, can block GABA receptors. GABA receptors are essential neurotransmitters, and when ingested in large doses, mugwort can act as a neurotoxin that can result in the user vomiting or, in worst cases, having seizures.

Mugwort on its own, however, does not contain enough thujone for it to be considered a dangerous drug for consumption. It is generally safe for use in therapeutic doses.

 

Is Mugwort Banned?

Some sources report that cultivating mugwort, an invasive species, in some states in the US is illegal. Wrongdoers are given heavy fines. Therefore, those who wish to grow mugwort should first check state regulations to see if it is allowed.

Absinthe, a popular alcoholic drink derived from Artemisia absinthium, has also been banned or regulated in some countries because of its thujone content which can be toxic if consumed in excess. In Vanuatu, for example, according to the Cs. Mcgill website, the importation, sale, and manufacture of absinthe is prohibited by a 1988 consolidated law. The website said the law had not been repealed so far.

Although some European countries banned absinthe for a time, they later opted for merely regulating the drink. Switzerland, for example, imposed an absinthe ban from 1908 to 2005 and now allows it to be sold as long as it is distilled and has no color or a natural pigment, according to the Cs. Mcgill website. France, which banned absinthe for 80 years since 1915, regulates Fenchone, an absinthe constituent, to a maximum of 5g/l. The sale of absinthe is now allowed in the European Union unless further regulation is implemented.

 

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