top of page


Mugwort Monograph

botanical name: Artemisia Vulgaris

Common Name

Mugwort, St. John's plant, sailor's tobacco, wild wormwood



Parts Used

Leaves, root

Native To

Europe, Asia, northern Africa

Harvesting Guidelines

The leaves of both the first year and second year plant may be harvested before the flower stalk shoots up. Flowers may be harvested as they open in the summer. The root is harvested from first year plants.


Mugwort, also known as Artemisia vulgaris, has a long history of use in ancient civilizations such as Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Its name is said to be derived from the Greek goddess Artemis, who was known as the protector of pregnant women and new mothers. Mugwort was highly valued for its medicinal properties, particularly for its ability to alleviate menstrual and pregnancy-related ailments. As a result, it played an important role in religious rituals dedicated to goddesses such as Isis, Artemis, and Diana. (1)

Mugwort is a versatile plant that has been used for centuries for its medicinal and spiritual properties. It is believed to enhance intuition and promote vivid dreams, making it a popular choice for tea or as a stuffing in dream pillows. Additionally, it can be burned as incense to aid in meditation or cleansing rituals. However, it's important to note that mugwort can be toxic when its flowers begin to bloom, so it's best to use it internally before this stage. Despite its potential dangers, mugwort remains a popular choice for those seeking to enhance their spiritual practices.

Mugwort is also used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, making it useful for treating skin conditions such as eczema and acne. It is also used to alleviate digestive issues such as bloating, cramps, and diarrhea. Additionally, mugwort has been used to stimulate the appetite and aid in digestion, making it a popular ingredient in digestive bitters and tonics.

Mugwort was believed to have mystical properties by some indigenous tribes. The Chumash, Paiute, and other tribes would burn or inhale the smoke from the leaves to promote restful sleep, ward off evil spirits, and induce sacred dreams. Additionally, mugwort was used to treat illnesses such as flu, colds, and fevers by burning and inhaling the smoke.(2)

Mugwort is rich in essential oils, including thujone, cineole, and camphor. These oils are believed to be responsible for the herb's medicinal properties and its characteristic aroma. In addition to its medicinal uses, mugwort has also been used as a culinary herb. The young leaves can be used to flavor dishes such as soups and stews, while the dried leaves can be used to make tea or infused into oils for use in massage and aromatherapy.

Mugwort was also worn in shoes as a protective talisman, believed to offer protection against evil spirits and encourage safe travels. The plant was often hung in doorways and windows for similar protective purposes.

In the Doctrine of Signatures, plants and their physical characteristics are believed to reflect their healing properties and the needs of the human body. Mugwort's signature is said to be connected to its silvery leaves, which represent the Moon and its connection to the feminine energies, intuition, and dream states. This connection to the Moon is also reflected in its name, as "wort" is an old English word for "plant," and "mug" comes from the word "moughte," which means "moth," a creature that is often associated with the moon.



Adult Dose (medical herbalism by David Hoffman)

Tea: 1-2 teaspoons steeped in hot water for 15 minutes in a covered vessel.

Safety Pregnant women should avoid. Do not take in excess or for long periods of time

Actions: Emmenagogue,Bitter,Nervine

Energy: Drying,Warming



(1) Significance of Artemisia Vulgaris L. (Common Mugwort) in the History of Medicine and Its Possible Contemporary Applications Substantiated by Phytochemical and Pharmacological Studies ''8. History of Medicinal Use'' (2) Plant Uses: California Native American Uses of California Plants - Ethnobotany

(3) Medical herbalism by David Hoffman

Information offered on Achula and on this page is for educational purposes only. Achula makes neither medical claim, nor intends to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Women who are pregnant or nursing, and persons with known medical conditions, should consult their licensed healthcare provider before taking any herbal product. Links to external sites are for informational purposes only. Achula neither endorses them nor is in any way responsible for their content. Readers must do their own research concerning the safety and usage of any herbs or supplements.


bottom of page