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Mugwort: What Is It, Benefits, And Side Effects

Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) is a herbaceous plant that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine systems, particularly in Asian, European, and Native American cultures.

While mugwort has been associated with certain health benefits, scientific research on its effects is still limited and in some cases inconclusive.

Here’s some additional information about mugwort, including potential health benefits, other uses, and risks and side effects:

What is Mugwort?

Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) is a hardy perennial plant that is native to several regions in the Northern Hemisphere, including Europe, Asia, and North Africa.

The plant is well-suited to disturbed habitats, and it can be found along roadsides, in fields, and in other open spaces.

Whether used for its potential health benefits, cultural significance, or ornamental purposes, mugwort continues to be a plant of interest to many people around the world.

Mugwort goes by several common names, St. John’s Plant and Sailor’s Tobacco.

Mugwort’s historical use as a medicinal herb spans back to ancient times, including the Iron Age. This herb has been used traditionally to support digestive health, Menstrual regulation, and reduce itching from raised scars.

Mugwort’s compounds, including essential oils, are extracted for their potential therapeutic properties.

Its distinct flavor may be appreciated in teas, dishes, and even desserts in certain cultures.

Potential Health Benefits of Mugwort

While mugwort has been used in traditional medicine for various purposes, the scientific research supporting its potential health benefits is limited.

Many traditional remedies are based on anecdotal evidence and historical use, but rigorous scientific studies are often necessary to confirm their effectiveness and safety.

Traditional uses of mugwort suggest potential health benefits, there are also potential risks and interactions to consider, especially if you are taking other medications.


Mugwort is commonly used in traditional medicine practices, including moxibustion.

Moxibustion is a therapeutic technique in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and involves the burning of mugwort or other similar herbs to stimulate specific acupuncture points on the body.

Moxibustion has been practiced for centuries in East Asian cultures, including China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.

Treating Knee Osteoarthritis

Manual therapy is one widely used physical treatment for Knee osteoarthritis (KOA).  Moxibustion has a significant clinical effect on relieving pain, stiffness, and physical dysfunction in patients with KOA and improving lower limb function for patients with KOA.

Digestive Support

This herb has been used to aid digestion, low appetite, diarrhea, stomach burning, and colic, and alleviate symptoms of indigestion, bloating, and flatulence.

Menstrual Issues

This herb has been used in traditional medicine to address menstrual irregularities and discomfort. It’s often included in herbal preparations for women’s health.

Acts as an Antibacterial and Antifungal

Studies have explored the potential antimicrobial properties of mugwort, which include its ability to combat bacteria and fungi.

While some studies suggest that certain essential oils, including mugwort essential oil, may have antimicrobial properties against fungi like Candida

Essential oils can have potential side effects or allergic reactions. They may not be suitable for everyone, particularly if you have certain health conditions, are pregnant, or are taking medications.

Although mugwort is used in traditional medicine. If you are facing any health problem, consult with your doctor and do not start any treatment without his guidance.

Side effects

Mugwort, like many other plants, has the potential to cause allergic reactions in some individuals.

While mugwort has been used in traditional medicine and has shown some promising properties, it’s crucial to thoroughly understand its side effects, especially when used in different ways.

The available scientific research on mugwort, especially in terms of its potential side effects, is currently limited, scientific studies are necessary to establish its safety.

Consuming it in any form, including teas, essential oils, and moxibustion, can lead to allergic reactions. Symptoms may include itching, swelling, headaches, hives, nasal congestion, digestive distress, and irritated eyes, can also increase asthma symptoms, such as coughing and wheezing, or in severe cases, anaphylaxis.

Also, this herb contains a compound called thujone, which is found in various amounts in different plant species. thujone can be toxic in large amounts. Using mugwort in traditional ways and consuming it in reasonable amounts is generally considered safe.

When using mugwort essential oil, the concentration of thujone can be significantly higher compared to other forms of mugwort. Due to the higher concentration of thujone in essential oil, there’s an increased potential side effect if used improperly or excessively.

It can be used in various forms, including teas, essential oils, and moxibustion. Each form may have different potential interactions and effects on the body.


Mugwort has been associated with various traditional uses and potential health benefits, such as its use in addressing respiratory issues, digestive problems, and skin conditions. It’s believed to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.


The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional