The Many Benefits of Mugwort

The Many Benefits of Mugwort

There is a fast growing weed that most people would destroy, but, like many other weeds, this weed is a health powerhouse which can easily be put to use for healing. It is a weed with a funny name that in old English is believed to mean ‘moth’ due to its ability to repel this wool eating flier along with other annoying insects. It is called mugwort, a relative of the daisy family as well as the ragweed clan which is why so many people want it off their properties to prevent allergic reactions. In the summer it blooms yellowish-reddish flowers with fuzzy underside silvery leaves, a sage-like smell, and if consumed possesses a bitter taste. 

Mugwort has been used as a natural yellow dye, an ingredient in several food recipes, an ancient acupuncture tool called ‘moxibustion’ and as a health remedy for a list of ailments which include infertility and flatulence. 

Take a moment to explore the many benefits of mugwort and the many ways you may be able to incorporate it into your life as a natural health remedy.

Antibacterial Actor

When mugwort is specially prepared it can act as a strong antibacterial, particularly against staphylococcus aureus. Staphylococcus aureus aka “staph infection” is a dangerous bacteria that can cause some serious harm if not treated right away. 

According to The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC),

“S. aureus is the leading cause of skin and soft tissue infections, such as abscesses, boils, furuncles, and cellulitis (red, swollen, painful, warm skin). S. aureus germs can also cause more serious infections, such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections, endocarditis (infection of the inner lining of the heart chambers and heart valves), and bone and joint infections.”

Mugwort has shown to be able to fight this bacteria like a champ. Researchers from Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, PR China, studied the antibacterial effects of mugwort against the staphylococcus aureus finding some impressive results stating that, 

“The extract [aqueous extract of mugwort leaves] showed obvious antibacterial activity against S. aureus []…the extract could make bacteria [remain] in a state of apoptosis for a long time, interfere with the normal physiological metabolism of bacteria, and eventually make bacteria die, which was confirmed by a scanning electronic microscope.”

List of Applications

Mugwort is linked to a long list of healing applications. Much of this list is associated with gastrointestinal compromises along with a few other specific systemic challenges. According to Healthline the list of symptoms mugwort may be able to alleviate included: 

  • Colic
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Nosebleeds
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nerve problems
  • Insomnia

Malaria Killer

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center cites mugwort aka artemisia vulgaris as being 

used to:

  • Treat malaria
  • Reduce fever 
  • Reduce swelling

As a result of this beneficial action, mugwort has been a prominent treatment for malaria for centuries. 

It is recommended to take mugwort only if you do not have stomach issues, including ulcers, as these would contraindicate with the weed compounds. Side effects are rare but may include dizziness and hearing compromise. Also, if you have any allergies to the following, do not take mugwort:

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Sunflowers
  • Ragweed

Moxa Smoke 

As mentioned, mugwort has been used for centuries in a smoke ceremony where the mugwort is set on fire then blown out using the remaining smoke to “open energy channels” for optimal acupuncture application. In addition, the inhalation of moxa smoke may be a healthy side benefit. 

Scientific Research published work the study ‘Effects of Moxa (Artemisia vulgaris) Smoke Inhalation on Heart Rate and Its Variability’ which stated that,

“The healthy volunteers exposed to moxa smoke had significant reductions in HR [human heart rate] and also significant changes in  [heart rate variability] parameters. Moxa smoke can improve the autonomic nervous system activity. The inhalation of moxa smoke will induce a depressant [calming] effect on human body.”

This research shows how mugwort is just as powerful in airborne form it is as a supplement. 

Female Tonic

Mugwort may be used to assist as a female tonic. This is mainly to help a woman balance her cycle for more of a chance to be fertilized for child rearing.

Healthline reports, 

“Mugwort can also be used to stimulate a women’s menstrual cycle. It can bring on delayed menstruation and in the past was used to induce abortions. Pregnant and breast-feeding women are advised to avoid the herb because of this potential risk.”

Mugwort can be used in the form of dried leaves, extracts, tinctures, teas, and pill supplements. Discuss with your physician or naturopathic doctor to determine if mugwort may be a good fit for your health regiment.