Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
Part of the wormwood family, mugwort is native to the British Isles. It grows to a height of three feet and makes a stunning specimen in the back of a garden with its spiky leaves. It was once used to flavor beer before the discovery of hops. It is a seasoning in some cuisines, although it has somewhat fallen into disuse in many countries because of a toxic compound found in the plant.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Mugwort can relieve fatigue and stimulate the nervous system when the leaves are chewed. It can regulate menstrual periods or cause early abortion. It is thought to relieve the pain of menstrual cramping as well. In Chinese medicine, it is thought to cure infertility and to prevent miscarriage when used under the watchful eye of an experienced herbalist. It may be used for menopausal symptoms. It can also be taken for fever.
Externally Mugwort is used in Chinese medicine as moxa. Moxabustion is when a small cone of dried herb is applied to energy points on the body while burning, and it has been found to help breech babies turn to a head down position.
Other Uses Mugwort is used in Korea and Japan to flavor rice cakes, soups and other dishes. In Europe, it is applied as a bitter herb to season roast goose.
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
Can be combined with ginger to make an herbal tea to relieve menstrual pain.
Leaves, buds Leaves and flower buds are used for different purposes. It is most commonly taken as a tea or put into capsules, although you can also tincture the herb.
Do not use mugwort while pregnant as it contains a toxic substance called thujone, which can build up in the body. It is not used internally very often today.
Preparation and Dosage
A mugwort tincture can be taken in two doses per day of 20 to 40 drops each time. If you are taking an infusion, 4 fluid ounces can be taken twice a day. The Chinese use a dose of 1/8 to ½ ounce per day.