Artemisia vulgaris

Herbs gallery - Mugwort

Common names

  • Cingulum Sancti Johannis
  • Mugwort
  • St. John's Plant

The mugwort is a shrubby perennial, with dark green deeply indented leaves and with several clusters of small reddish or yellow flower heads. The herb can grow up to three ft, or one m in height.

This amazing shrub has been known since the ancient times, and reportedly, Roman centurions used mugwort inside their sandals, so that their feet could remain in great shape.

The shrub was also used by ancient Europeans and Asians in treating various ailments. The Greek physician Dioscorides of the 1st century AD supposedly stated that the Goddess Artemis, who gave inspiration to the plant's genus name, used the herb to offer succor to women in the throes of labor and childbirth.

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The Physicians of Myddfai, a thirteenth century Welsh herbal remedy collection, contains these important words, "If a woman be unable to give birth to her child let the mugwort be bound to her left thigh. Let it be instantly removed when she has been delivered, lest there should be haemorrhage."

Similarly, an eighteenth century Spanish herbalist, Diego de Torres is known to have said that using an application of mugwort as a plaster below the woman's navel would induce labor in the woman.

The wise Chinese have been using mugwort for centuries now, and one of its best known uses is in the ancient art of acupuncture, where the heat from a burning roll of chopped mugwort leaves in the shape of a cigar is applied on certain selected points on the patient's body. This therapy is used as one of the main ingredients in 'moxa' or 'moxibustion'.

Parts used

Aerial parts, root.

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The mugwort has a large number of uses, and has been traditionally used to treat digestive disorders, and it has also been used as a tonic for various remedies.

The mugwort is known to be milder in action than most other species of Artemisia, and this means that it can be taken for improving appetite, digestive functions, and absorption of nutrients over long periods of time, in small dosages.

The elimination of worms within the body is achieved, and whenever needed, it can be used to induce menstruation as well. In Europe, mugwort is assumed to be a uterine stimulant, but this idea is in direct opposition to the Chinese concept of using mugwort to prevent miscarriage in a woman, and also to reduce and to stop excessive and heavy menstrual bleeding.

The herb is also widely used as an antiseptic, and is known to provide relief in cases of malaria.

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Habitat and cultivation

Mugwort grows abundantly in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, in open areas and alongside roads. Mugwort can be collected during the late summer.


Usual dosage

As a tincture: 1-2 ml or 20-40 drops can be taken two times a day.

As an infusion: 100 ml or 4 fl oz can be taken two times a day.

The Chinese however use it in dosages of 3 - 9 g or 1/8 - 1/2 oz.

How it works in the body

Mugwort is a known traditional herbal remedy for worms, and when it is used in lowered dosages over a specified period of time, it can prove to be extremely effective. The herb can also be used as a bitter, and for improving digestion and bringing in an increase in appetite.

The Chinese and Europeans use the herb for disorders and malfunctions in the reproductive system, and when properly used, the herb can bring on the onset of menstruation.

The Chinese use the herb to warm the body, and to stop bleeding when the cycle is too long. It is also used to stop uterine bleeding brought on by certain deficiencies, in which case the herb cools the body.

A cool or cold womb is thought to be the cause of infertility in a woman, and mugwort can be used to treat this condition as well. It can also, if used properly, stop a miscarriage from taking place, although this can only be done under the supervision of a qualified medical or herbal practitioner.

Menstrual pain can be alleviated successfully with the help of mugwort, and when it is used externally in the form of a moxa stick on specific acupuncture points, it can even help turn a breech baby around in the womb. Chinese mugwort is found to be often acrid, bitter and warm.


Aerial parts

INFUSION: Mugwort can be taken to treat menopausal syndrome.

BITTER: Mugwort can be used to cool the digestive tract in fever management.

DECOCTION: Mugwort can be used to make a warming tea for menstrual pain: 5 g mugwort can be combined with an equal amount of dry ginger to make the tea.

TINCTURE: Mugwort can be used for effectively treating menstrual pain, prolonged bleeding, scanty menses and other related disorders. The herb can be used as a stimulant for treating liver stagnation and slow digestion. In childbirth it can be used for prolonged labor and for the treatment of retained placenta.

Protective amulet

  • Purple velvet: 1 rectangle 4 in x 2 in (10 cm x 5 cm)
  • Freshly picked mugwort that has been dried: approx. 5 g.

Sew a small pouch and fill it with the dried mugwort. Carry it in a pocket to protect against all sorts of bad external influences and slide it into your pillow to encourage revelatory dreams.


From Melissa - Feb-06-2011
My husband got gangrene on his toe due to circulation problems. We took him to hospital and all they could offer was to amputate, we ran a mile! They usually never amputate enough and it ends up you lose up to your knee. We went to an amazing naturopath who helped us with natural remedies, simple things but when my husband used the mugwort as a foot soak the gangrene started to shrink and heal, he also had it as a tea for his liver and for toxin release. It's been hard work but well worth it! I'd advise anyone to give stuff like this a go even if you are skeptical it can't hurt. Also when in hospital, they give him antibiotics and the gangrene spread by 20%.
From Judy Mace - Jan-01-2011
My dog was not walking. Down in his hind legs. The vet gave me a moxa roll to use on the daschund's spine and he is extremely active and almost running after a treatment. This roll looks like a roman candle. You break one in half, peel away the outer paper and light it. It can heat up to 400 degrees. I hold it about 1/2"- 3/4" above his body, starting on the shoulders and work my way down to the tip of his tail, repeating 3 times. I also work around his paws. What a wonder herb.
From Turkow - 2010
Egyptians also used mugwort, and it was always recommended that pregnant women DO NOT use it (as an ingestion) because it was known to cause women to miscarry, which is also why it helped induce labour. Lucid dreams and hallucinations where possible if they drank in form of a tea. Ingestion of mugwort for 10 consecutive days could also cause illnesses and sometimes death.
People have also been known to smoke it, which is also a form of ingestion.
Military personnel cannot use mugwort in any way shape or form. It is considered a drug, or as they term "spice". It can cause military personnel to be dismissed from Military.
From Nichole - 2010
Mugwort does wonders! When used in a bath it makes me feel great! I'm also pretty sure that it draws toxins out of the body this way.
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