Mugwort Benefits

Latin Name

Artemisia Vulgaris

Also Known As

Cronewort, Common Wormwood, Wild Wormwood, Felon Herb, St. John's Plant, Chrysanthemum Weed, Sailor's Tobacco, Moxa, Artemis Herb, Naughty Man, Old Man, Old Uncle Henry, Muggons


Europe, North America

Parts Used


Traditional Use and Health Benefits

This tall and hardy plant was named for the Greek Goddess of the moon “Artemis”, in respect of this herb’s benefits to women’s health – especially in menstruation, childbirth and the menopause. Historically it has been used as a herbal inhibitor for menstrual cycles and to provide relief from symptoms of the menopause. It was considered the universal herb for protection and prophecy – also used for pain, healing, psychic powers and lucid dreaming.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) it has been used for centuries in a procedure called moxibustion – to reverse a fetus in the breech position. Mugwort is burned over a specific acupuncture point (BL67), to stimulate blood circulation and energy that is known to result in fetal movement. An actual study done by the “Journal of the American Medical Association” found that 75% of 130 fetuses reversed their breech position after the mother was treated with moxibustion.

Mugwort Benefits

Arthritis/Joint Pain

The aforementioned procedure of moxibustion can also be employed in the relief of certain kinds of arthritis and joint pain. In a study conducted by the “New Zealand Medical Journal”, this Ancient Chinese technique was tested on 110 patients with osteoarthritis. Half were given the moxibustion treatment whilst the other half received a placebo. The results show that there was a 51% reduction in pain for the group who received the moxibustion treatment, with only a 24% reduction in the placebo group. Knee function also increased by 51% in the moxibustion group and only increased by 13% in the placebo group. Whilst these effects were not necessarily permanent, the results are promising, with more study required of Mugwort and this technique in the provision of an alternative treatment for arthritis.


Mugwort is a uterine tonic and an emmenagogue (a substance that stimulates or increases menstrual flow). The uterus depends on healthy circulation to the pelvic region and strong uterine muscles to function properly. A toned uterus that is receiving good blood circulation allows for healthy monthly periods. Before using this herb to stimulate monthly menses it is advised that a pregnancy test is done first as this powerful herb can cause miscarriages and is contraindicated during pregnancy and lactation.

Digestive Health

Mugwort is choleretic – a substance that increases the volume of secretion of bile from the liver, helping to transport and release toxins whilst providing great benefit to the digestive system.  It is also a chologogue – a substance that stimulates the flow of bile from the liver, differing slightly from a cholerectic which increases the volume. The secretion of bile is of great help to the whole digestive and assimilative process, and as we are what we eat – we are what we digest. The role of bile is primarily that of facilitating fat digestion, but also being a natural laxative it is thus cleansing to the system.

Mugwort is also known as a bitter digestive that can relieve stomach acidity, dyspepsia, travel sickness and acute bowel and stomach pain. 

Typical Use
Mugwort leaves can be made into a tea by infusing the leaves in boiling water for 10 minutes.    Suggested dosage:   Tea: Use 1-3 teaspoon of the leaves to 1 cup of boiling water. Infuse for 10-15 minutes then strain. Drink up to 3 times per day.   Tincture: 2-4ml up to twice daily.
Folklore and History

Mugwort is the cousin of Wormwood and St John's Wort, but with slightly different chemical constituents.

        It has an enduring history of traditional use, right across the ancient world from the Americas to China.            Around 1,000 years ago, medieval brewers used Mugwort to make a beer or ale called "gruit". Because this beer was served and enjoyed in a mug, it is thought that is how Mugwort got its name - wort meaning plant or herb in Old English.           During the Roman Empire, Greek physician, surgeon and philosopher, Galen, reported the use of Mugwort for amenorrhea (absent menstruation). It was also noted as being used in Roman times by soldiers using it as a foot salve in their sandals to keep their feet from getting tired.           It is a native American tradition to burn Mugwort along with sage to smudge a sacred space before a ceremony. In the magical tradition of witchcraft Mugwort was used to enhance astral projection, lucid dreaming and altered states of consciousness.


Essential oil containing 1,8-cineole, camphor, linalool, or thujone. Flowers contain: beta-sitosterol, courmarins, and alpha-and beta-carotene.  

Not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.