Plant Profiles Mugwort

Everyone’s heard of mugwort (Artemisia Vulgaris) at some point usually mentioned in movies when a fairy tale type Witch is brewing her potions, or mentioned in passing as something needing to be picked from the garden. Or maybe you’ve heard it called by one of its many other names two of which are St. Johns plant (not St. John’s wort) and wild wormwood (mugwort and wormwood are actually related). This leaves many with the sense that this herb is hard to come by. The truth may surprise you however, it’s often thought be a weed and pulled in handfuls out of yards. Wormwood is found in Europe, Alaska, Northern Africa, Asia and North America where it is seen as a weed. Usually it is found in abandoned or waste areas and on the sides of roads.

This herb; which is a perennial plant flowers from July to October where the leafage can be picked. The roots however should be harvested during fall. Mugwort usually grows to be fairly tall and can get as high as 4 feet. Its leaves are long and toothed. If you’re interested in growing this herb yourself you can start with seeds or you can buy one plant or transplant a plant you have found in the wild.

All you need is one however because it will spread and that’s putting it mildly, it will take over your whole yard if you don’t harvest it regularly. Mugwort can be grown in any conditions and even thrives in droughts.

It needs little to know attention and perfect for novice herbalists who want a large return for little work. This plant has been around for centuries and is commonly used in folk medicine for use in healing wounds, skin rashes, and in women’s reproductive health.

It can bring on late menses and can alleviate menstrual pain. Mugwort is also rich in enzymes and can be used as a green leafy vegetable which is best when first blanched and then sautéed as it has a bitter flavor. Dried or fresh it can also be used to make a tea, and is delicious and mild with just a little bit of honey squeezed in. To make a poultice simply mash it into a paste and apply it to the affected area. It has a similar sent to sage or sweet grass and dried and crushed makes a lovely homemade incense or when bound with yarn or cord a sweet smudging stick.