With a spicy, pungent flavor, mugwort tea is a powerful herbal preparation which should be taken only with proper education or supervision. Mugwort – scientific name Artemisia vulgaris – is a member of the daisy family along with other herbs like yarrow, ragweed, tansy and arnica. Native to Europe and Asia, mugwort now grows as a weed throughout North America.
Anxiety, Sleep and Dreams
Mugwort has been promoted as a nervine to soothe the central nervous system and treat insomnia, anxiety and even seizures, according to the American Cancer Society. Herbalist S. Tephyr Burgess promotes the use of mugwort tea for nervousness and anxiety, as well as to enhance dreams. The dream-promoting effects of mugwort have been reported since the Middle Ages in Europe – mugwort may be able to help you remember your dreams or enhance them, although reports of nightmares abound.
Mugwort is also considered a strong digestive herb, strengthening the appetite and alleviating bloating, gas and other digestive complaints, according to naturopathic doctor Sharol Tilgner. The “Herbal Vade Mecum” recommends the use of mugwort for non-ulcer dyspepsia which includes heartburn, cramps and lack of appetite. Mugwort may also stimulate the production of bile due to its bitter principle, which can support the digestion of fat and protein, as well as help to relieve liver or gall bladder stagnation.
Mugwort has traditionally been considered a woman's herb, due to its ability to stimulate menstruation, relieve menstrual cramps and support menopause, according to Burgess. It is also considered an abortifacient, and though no proof exists in the medical literature as to its effect on pregnancy, it should definitely be avoided if you are pregnant. This effect is most likely do the the content of essential oils like thujone and cineole, according to the “Herbal Vade Mecum.”
Mugwort is a strong herbal tea which should be taken mindfully. As already mentioned, it should not be taken in pregnancy, during lactation or by women who are having issues with heavy menstrual periods. According to Tilgner, mugwort – when taken in high doses or for a long period of time – can cause toxicity symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. Mugwort can cause reactions in people allergic to the asteraceae family – daisies, chamomile, calendula and ragweed – and should be avoided if you are allergic to any of the other plants in this family. Research published in “Dermatology” in September of 2012 revealed that a sensitivity to mugwort pollen was found in a number of people suffering from chronic urticaria – a form of ongoing rash. Other research has linked an allergy to mugwort pollen with allergies to foods like hazelnuts and celery.
- Herbal Vade Mecum; Gazmend Skenderi
- American Cancer Society: Mugwort
- Alternative Nature Online Herbal: Mugwort, Artemesia Vulgaris
- Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth; Sharol Tilgner, N.D.
- Dermatology: Increased Allergic Sensitization to Mugwort in Chronic Urticaria
- Clinical and Experimental Allergy: IgE Crossreactivity Between Mugwort Pollen (Artemisia Vulgaris) and Hazelnut (Abellana Nux) in Sera From Patients With Sensitivity to Both Extracts
- Clinical and Experimental Allergy: IgE Cross-Reactivity Between Birch Pollen, Mugwort Pollen and Celery is Due to at Least Three Distinct Cross-Reacting Allergens: Immunoblot Investigation of the Birch-Mugwort-Celery Syndrome
Amy Myszko is a certified clinical herbalist and nutritional consultant who has been helping people find greater health and balance through diet, lifestyle and natural remedies since 2006. She received her certification from the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism in Boulder, Colo. Myszko also holds a BA in literature from the University of Colorado.