If we told you that we wanted to talk about the history, benefits, and uses of a plant called mugwort, you may think you have found yourself in a herbology course at Hogwarts. Turns out this perennial plant is quite magical after all!
Mugwort, also known as felon herb, green ginger, wormwood, cronewort, and sailor’s tobacco, is an aromatic herb with red-purple stems and green leaves that have a silvery-white underside.
Historically, mugwort is associated with the moon and the menstrual cycle. Its botanical name, Artemisia, relates to Artemis, the Greek goddess of the wild, the hunt, and vegetation.
Mugwort has many benefits and is used to treat a number of different conditions. It is said to enhance dreams, improve digestion, treat joint pain, lift depression, prevent breech birth, cure malaria, and more. Keep reading to find out how you can benefit from mugwort.
1. Enhances Dreams
For thousands of years, people have been drinking mugwort tea to help them remember their dreams or to make their dreams more vivid.
Dreams are powerful windows into the subconscious, and a better, clearer, memory and vision of our dreams can help us to better understand ourselves.
Sip on a mug of mugwort tea before bed and experience more vivid dreams.
2. Improves Digestion
Mugwort is a bitter and aromatic herb that, when ingested, stimulates secretion of digestive juice and helps to keep digestion running smoothly. It can help to treat diarrhea, constipation, cramps, bloating, and flatulence.
When digestion is running smoothly, nutrients are absorbed from the digestive system into the bloodstream much more efficiently.
3. Relieves Joint Pain
People who suffer from arthritis may benefit from drinking some mugwort tea. Mugwort is filled with anti-inflammatory antioxidants that help to reduce stiffness and pain associated with arthritis.
In one study, osteoarthritis patients were given Artemisia supplements for 12 weeks, after which they felt relief in pain and stiffness. (1)
4. Eases Menstruation
One of the oldest uses of mugwort is in the treatment of menstruation problems and birth issues. Mugwort is said to be beneficial for the female reproductive cycle. It may help to relieve PMS symptoms, like cramping, mood changes, bloating, and sleep problems.
It can help to balance hormones in women with conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). In addition, it provides menopause relief, easing symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, and sleep disturbances.
Because mugwort helps to restore hormonal balance, it can prevent conditions like infertility.
Pregnant women should not take mugwort because it stimulates menstruation and may, therefore, raise the risk of miscarriage.
5. Believed to Help Prevent Breech Birth
Toward the end of pregnancy, the fetus is meant to turn upside down in preparation for birth, when the baby will exit the birth canal headfirst.
Sometimes, babies do not flip in time, and instead, they are positioned instead to exit the birth canal feetfirst—this is called a breech birth.
Breech births can be treacherous and difficult, and they endanger both the mother and the baby. In order to avoid this dangerous situation, there are many different methods to try to get the baby to turn before birth.
Mugwort is used as part of Chinese medicine in a practice called moxibustion, which is believed to reverse the breech birth position. In the practice of moxibustion, dried mugwort leaves are formed into a stick or cone and burned over specific acupoints on the body, helping to release energy and increase circulation.
In a study on 130 women that presented with breech pregnancies, women who underwent moxibustion experienced more fetal movement and reversing of breech birth position than women in the control group. (2)
RELATED: What is Moxibustion?
6. Treats Malaria
There are certain herbal medicines that are known to be effective in treating malaria, and mugwort is one of them.
Experts believe that its effects against malaria are due to its unique flavonoids—antioxidants that fight chronic disease and have anti-parasitic properties. (3)
In one study, treatment with Artemisia resulted in a 92% cure rate on malaria patients within only 4 days of treatment. (4)
7. Prevents Cancer
Mugwort has strong anti-cancer properties because it is full of anti-inflammatory, free-radical-fighting antioxidants.
Not only does mugwort prevent cancer from forming, but studies show that it has anti-cancer activities—inhibiting tumor growth and initiating cancer cell death—against many different types of cancer including bladder, throat, and blood cancers. (5)
8. Improves Mood
Mugwort has antidepressant and antianxiety properties, making it a perfect natural mood booster.
One of the best ways to utilize mugwort for its depression-zapping benefits is to get mugwort essential oil and put it in a diffuser. Mix it with other mood-enhancing essential oils, like lemon, lavender, peppermint, and bergamot for an extra powerful effect.
Growing Your Own Mugwort
Mugwort is easy to grow—so easy, in fact, that it is considered an “aggressive” and “invasive” weed because it has the potential to take over wherever it grows. To avoid this happening in your own garden, grow your hardy mugwort plant in a pot on its own.
Unfortunately, many people can’t benefit from mugwort because it is one of the most common allergens in the world. Mugwort is related to the ragweed family, and so it causes allergies in people who already have allergies to other things.
In addition, mugwort is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women, as it stimulates menstrual bleeding, and it may put pregnant women at risk for miscarriage.
Mugwort is one of the most useful and popular medicinal plants out there. It is known for its varied and powerful health benefits. People with allergies should proceed with caution when using this plant, and pregnant women should avoid using it altogether.
Grow your own mugwort in a pot at home or pick yourself up some mugwort essential oil to lift your spirits!