Mugwort - Useful Herb for Digestion


Artemisia vulgaris Asteraceae/Compositae

Throughout Europe and around the Mediterranean, tufts of mugwort grow wild beside woodland paths and streams. Its upright stems When have reddish marks and can reach a height of 1. 5m. the deeply indented leaves are dark green on the top and white beneath. Tiny heads of small yellow or reddish brown flowers cluster around the stems in summer.

Parts used

  • Leaves and flowerheads
  • Leaves and flowers are gathered in June or early July, just as the plant comes into bloom. Flowers taken from dry areas are said to have more beneficial properties than those that have grown in damp locations.
  • After being cleaned and woven into garlands, the flowers and leaves are left to dry in a sheltered place.
  • The dried plant is used to make infusions, powders, extracts, tinctures and a tonic wine.


The presence of sesquiterpene lactones accounts for the bitter taste of mugwort. It also contains a little essential oil, flavonoids that have an antioxidant effect, coumarins, and some phytosterols, which appear to mimic the action of the female hormone, oestrogen.


  • Mugwort shouldnot be used when pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • People who are taking bloodthinning drugs such as Warfarin should not use mugwort.
  • Because of its sesquiterpenic lactones, contact with mugwort can cause allergic reactions such as dermatitis and conjunctivitis.
  • Do not exceed the recommended or prescribed dose of mugwort.

Medicinal uses

Though few of its properties have been scientifically proven, mugwort is commonly prescribed to treat a whole range of digestive problems including slow digestion, indigestion and loss of appetite.

Mugwort is also known to be antispasmodic, so can help to ease intestinal cramps and is an effective remedy for period pains. There are centuries-old references to the effectiveness of mugwortin warding off disease and in 1989, scientists in China demonstrated the plant's antibacterial powers.

The herb is still prescribed to fight bacterial and fungal infections, and can be of great benefit when treating fevers, skin inflammation and rheumatism. It is also used to eliminate worms, an ability attributed to its essential oil and sesquiterpene lactones.


Mugwort can be grown from seed, which should be planted in spring. It does best in well-drained, neutral to alkaline soil. preferably in a sunny position.


For internal use

TO TREAT digestive problems, intestinal worms
INFUSION Put 1 dessertspoon of the dried plant into 150-200ml of boiling water. Leave to infuse for 5-10 minutes and strain. Drink 1-2 cups a day.

POWDER Take 2-4g a day. TINCTURE Put 30 drops into a glass of water. Take three times a day.
TO TREAT menstrual pain INFUSION Make as above and take 1-2 glasses a day for eight to ten days before a period. TONIC WINE Add 20g dried herb to 1 liter of white wine and leave for ten days. Drink 2 glasses a day for eight days before a period.



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