Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris L.) is one of the 32,000 plants that belong to the Asteraceae family. While mugwort is native to the cold climates of Northern Europe and Asia, it is also native to some parts of North America where the climate permits, this tenacious plant has become widespread across the world and can be found growing in soils that would otherwise not permit vegetation like hard rocky soils and on the banks of rivers and streams.
The Mugwort plant can grow as high as 6 feet tall with leaves as long as 4 inches. It’s an incredibly imposing perennial plant that is known that has a sage-like aroma making it a favorite in the cosmetic industry.
Mugwort has collected a variety of identities over the years and as a result, is also known as Artemisia, Hierba de San Juan (St. John’s Herb), Armoise, Vulgaris Herba (herb), Chrysanthemum weed, and Herbe Royal.
Traditional Uses for Mugwort
Traditionally, Mugwort has been cultivated for its use as a digestive stimulant, a pain reliever, and even as an aromatic element in beer before the use of hops! In lore, mugwort was believed to have been planted along la Via Appia in ancient Rome so that Roman soldiers could use the herb to help treat their aching feet while marching.
Although this is anecdotal, there is reason to believe that this is true as today Mugwort oil is used to treat stiff and sore muscles because of its ability to warm and help blood circulate when it is massaged into the body.
Mugwort has been used in traditional Chinese medicine procedures and acupuncture because of its ability to help stimulate blood circulation in order to help with a wide array of conditions from sore aching muscles, irritated skin, and even as a means to help assist in pregnancy by stimulating the fetal movement. Additionally, Mugwort is thought to aid the body with menstrual and digestive issues. It is commonly boiled into a tea as well as an ointment.