Medicinal benefits of mugwort have been known and used since ancient times. Its Latin and scientific name is Artemisia vulgaris. Artemis was a Greek moon goddess, who was considered to be the patron of women and a midwife. This is why we can include mugwort in our list of herbs for women. It is useful for bringing menstrual cycles to providing relief from menopause. Mugwort can terminate pregnancies, but it can also turn a fetus that is in breach position before birth – this method is called moxibustion. Do not use mugwort while pregnant unless it is under medical supervision.
The medicinal benefits of mugwort have been used in Asia and Europe for centuries. Traditional Chinese medicine and Indian Ayurvedic medicine both use this herb. Its use in America is more recent, however it is becoming more popular since it can reverse and cure several illnesses and conditions.
Celts attributed magical properties to mugwort, which is why they used girdles of the herb to dance during the celebration of solstice. Dried leaves are used in smudging since the smoke has a calming effect. People place it under their pillows to induce vivid dreams. It is also said to protect from evil spirits and wild animals. Native Americans used this herb in their witchcraft and it is still used in pagan rituals.
Mugwort has been used for so many things, from making beers to an insect repellent and a yellow dye. This herb has similar medicinal properties to wormwood (they are both part of the Artemisia family), though it is less bitter and strong. Wormwood is used more often to repel insects, parasites and treat malaria.
How to Use Mugwort
Medicinal benefits of mugwort come from the active compounds of the plant which include coumarins, inulin, alkaloids, flavonoids and volatile oils which include camphor, cineole, camphene, germacrene D, 1-8-, alpha-thujone and beta-caryophyllene. These oils have a germ and fungus inhibiting effect and are rich in bitter substances. Mugwort has iron, calcium and potassium. As well as vitamin K, A, E and high amounts of vitamin B. In total, this herb has 75 identified chemicals.
Dosage depends on age, health and medical conditions. Make sure to consult with your doctor if you are taking any medication.
Mugwort Tea: Place 1-2 grams of dried leaves and flowers in a the tea pot and pour boiling water. Let it steep for 5 minutes. This tea has a calming effect and can be used to treat asthma, malaria fever, intestinal worms, diarrhea and other stomach problems.
Mugwort Essential Oil: the mix of this oils is useful as an insect repellent, including moths in the garden.
Smoking Mugwort: dried leaves are smoked just like a tobacco. It can be smoked on its on or with a blend of herbs. The effect is soft on the throat like mullein and it produces a calm and mellow effect, unlike the “stoned” effects of marijuana.
Mugwort Poultice: crush fresh leaves in a mortar and pestle until they turn into a fine paste and apply on top of wounds and rashes. Medicinal benefits of mugwort include anti bacteria properties, so it can treat skin conditions quite fast.
Mugwort Insecticide: place the herbs in a dark bottle and cover them with vinegar. Let it steep for two weeks. Dilute in water to use in your home.
Other uses: mugwort can be used as a smudge stick. Simply wrap a bundle of dried leaves with a thread and light it for a calming fragrance. Those that are growing mugwort in their garden can use the plant as mulch since it grows so much. Simply cut some branches and place them as a protective cover around other plants so the soil does not dry out.
Medicinal Benefits of Mugwort
Medicinal benefits of mugwort include treating the digestive system. It is so powerful that it is commonly included in modern pharmaceutical drugs which are supposed to restore intestinal health. This herb helps people with constipation, as it is a powerful laxative that is also gentle enough to avoid discomfort during the expulsion process. It can also help people with diarrhea, colic or gas.
Mugwort is often included to fatty dishes because it supports digestion. This is due to the bitter substances which are found in this herb, which increase the secretion of digestive enzymes and bile in the body. Thus improving digestion and the breakdown of food so nutrients can be absorbed by the bloodstream.
Treating Intestinal Worms
Treatment of parasites or worms in the intestines is another of the medicinal benefits of mugwort. This is due to the anthelmintic properties of the plant. Children are more affected by worms which can inhibit their growth since nutrients from food are not absorbed. Oil from mugwort seeds can treat roundworms, tapeworms, and intestinal worms. Be careful about using the appropriate dosage, since high quantities can be harmful especially in children.
Detoxification of the body
Mugwort can also be used to release toxins within the body, as it increase bile secretion from the liver. It is also a diuretic, which increases the frequency of urine which is the body’s natural way of removing toxins. Drinking mugwort tea can clean the kidneys and bladder, eliminating toxins and improving the function of organs. It can also make you sweat more, which is another way of eliminating toxins.
One of the best medicinal benefits of mugwort is its ability to promote healthy circulation. This herb keeps air passages open, allowing blood and oxygen to flow better throughout the body. Achieving this improves so many other health conditions, such as managing blood pressure and hypertension. It also lowers the risk of heart attacks, decreases blood clots and other heart conditions.
Consuming mugwort shows great improvement in cell growth which makes the body a lot healthier.
Treating asthma is one of the medicinal benefits of mugwort because of its bronchodilatory properties according to this study. An infusion of the bark and leave is used for this treatment.
Medicinal benefits of mugwort include its soothing effects on the nerves. It can be used to manage symptoms of anxiety and depression. Mugwort is a natural anti hysteric which soothes the brain, by promoting tranquility and relaxation. It also boosts the memory and mental levels naturally. This herb even has anti epileptic properties.
Moxibustion is an ancient Chinese practice that uses mugwort or wormwood. Leaves are formed into sticks or cones, similar to a cigar, then burned on acupuncture points to release energy. This smoke can improve the nervous system and relax the body according to this study.
Mugwort is also considered a sleeping aid that can help with insomnia and restlessness. This herb balances hormones naturally if taken on a regular basis. Since it restores the body to its natural function, it promotes sleep at night and is a natural energy booster during the day. It has completely opposite effects depending on when it is taken.
It is said to promote lucid dreaming and to help people remember their dreams. However, there are many reports of nightmares. Some use it before meditation to help them enter that meditative state easier as it relaxes the mind. These medicinal benefits of mugwort can be used as a tea, tincture, oil or bath.
Uses for Women
Mugwort tea is very effective at reducing menstruation pain (cramp bark is another great herb to use for menstrual colics). This is due to the anti spasmodic properties of the herb. Mugwort helps to reduce PMS symptoms including bloating, nausea, pain and discomfort. It can also regulate normal flow and keep it regular because it prevents obstructions of blood flow from the uterus. As an emmenagogue it can stimulate or increase menstrual flow, so it is used in women who have absent or delayed cycles.
Other medicinal benefits of mugwort for women include an improvement in the health of the reproductive system since it relaxes the uterus and stimulates circulation in the pelvic region. It is also helpful in assisting the body in the transition into menopause since it is able to reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes.
Pregnant (and breast feeding) women should avoid this herb because of its risks. In the past it was used to induced abortions. It is still used in Chinese medicine to turn a baby in breech position. This practice, called moxibustion, increases fetal movements and has been studied scientifically.
Several members of the artemisia family, including wormwood and mugwort, produce artemisinin from their leaves and flowers. This anti parasitic activity makes it a potent anti malaria treatment.
In 1971, Chinese researcher Tu Youyou and her team discovered this component as Northern Vietnam was struggling with the Vietnam War and a war against malaria. Her discovery (she used wormwood) saved millions of lives and awarded her the Nobel Prize in 2015. A scientific study done in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 2013 shows the effectiveness of mugwort in treating malaria just within four days of treatment.
Anti bacterial and antiseptic properties are part of the list of medicinal benefits of mugwort. Use a paste of the leaves as a poultice for treating all types of skin infections. It can also be used in tincture or tea form and applied to the skin as needed. There are even anti itching lotions that have mugwort as the main active ingredient. This herb is also useful in treating poison ivy.
Large levels of vitamin B complex found in this herb can help with some of the medicinal benefits of mugwort including weight loss. These vitamins boost the metabolic rate of the body, allowing it to burn more fat. Mugwort also increases the levels of energy and overall functionality.
Side Effects and Precautions of Mugwort
Mugwort is generally considered safe in appropriate doses. However, is toxic in large doses because of thujone which is a spasmodic. Heartburn and acidity are the most common side effects. It should not be used in children or pregnant women since it can cause uterine contractions. Women who are breastfeeding should avoid this herb as it may pass onto the milk and cause heartburn in infants.
Make sure to dilute mugwort essential oil with another carrier oil. Try a patch test to avoid allergic or sensitive reactions. Do not diffuse for more than 30 minutes as it can become a narcotic. Never drink this essential oil. Stop its use if you start feeling faint, giddy or get a headache. Tea made from this herb could cause hallucinations (as a painkiller) if taken in extremely high doses.
This herb can cause allergies and hay fever. Symptoms of pollen allergy include swollen eyes and lips, sneezing, and burning sensation of the throat. Do not grow mugwort at home if you are allergic to this plant. This herb should be avoided by those with allergies to carrots, celery, apples, peaches, sunflowers and other plants.
There are other adaptogen herbs such as maca root, ashwagandha and rhodiola rosea that can be used in replacement of mugwort, as they have less potential side effects. If you want to take advantage of the medicinal benefits of mugwort it is best to buy organic products or products that have been certified by a reliable source.