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Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) the Medicinal Garden

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Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) is very common in many gardens because of it's unique foliage, but throughout history it was grown for other magical and medicinal reasons
A low growing, bushy, weedy perennial.

Leaves are 2-4 inches long, 1-3 inches wide, simple, alternate, deeply lobed, and have a distinctive aroma.   Leaves on the upper portions of the plant are more deeply lobed and may lack petioles.  Leaf undersides are covered with soft, white to gray hairs, while upper leaf surfaces may be smooth to slightly hairy.

• Fruit consist of An achene that encloses the seed.  However, viable seeds are rarely produced in North America.


Flowers are produced from mid summer until early fall.
Inconspicuous flowers that occur in clusters at the top of the plants.


In temperate North and South America.
In US found south to Georgia and West to Michigan.


Waste places, deserts, and prairies; ditches and roadsides


In the Middle Ages, a crown of Mugwort worn on St. John's Eve protected the wearer from evil possession. It was also believed to fight off fatigue, sunstroke and wild animals.
In many cultures in North and South America, Mugwort was used for divination as for use in smudging for spiritual healing.
Used to flavor beer.
Europeans stuffed pillows with Mugwort in the belief that it would bring good dreams
In China, a healing technique started called moxibustion, which burned a small wad of Mugwort on the surface of the skin at an acupuncture point. This idea later became very popular in France where it was said to cure many health problems, including blindness.

Uses Today

Leaves are used to repel moths
Used as an ornamental garden plant, especially the variegated varieties. They make a nice contrast against dark green plants.
Used in herbal baths to relieve aches in muscles and joints.

Mugwort today is known to be unsafe for ingestion and acupuncture and moxas are best left for the professionals



For more photos, care and propagation information See The Plant Guide for Mugwort

Source: Various sources including University of Maryland Medical Center, Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. 2005. and WebMD

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand historical and medicinal uses of this plant. In no way are we suggesting or telling readers to use this plant as mentioned above.

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