What is Mugwort?
Mugwort is known by many names, St John’s Plant-because a legend from the Middle Ages has it that John the Baptist wore a girdle of this herb when he was in the wilderness; Travellers herb, as it is believed to relieve fatigue; Common Wormwood, as it is related to that plant and moxa in Japan and China. However in the Far East the relatives of mugwort grow: Artemisia moxa and Artemisia sinensis.
It’s a common weed in Europe and North America and grows in hedge banks and at the sides of country lanes in Britain. It can be used in cooking and is used in Germany in a stuffing for the traditional Christmas goose (Weihnachtsgans). The stuffing recipe is given below. The young leaves can also be eaten raw in salads.
How Mugwort works?
You can make an infusion from the dried leaves (15 gr of dried leaves to 500ml of boiling water) to take three times a day for painful menstruation cramps. In this way it’s rather like angelica and aak. It stimulates the menstrual flow by increasing the blood circulation to the pelvic area and the uterus. It also stimulates the appetite, and a tisane can be made of 1 or 2 tsps of the dried leaves, and 150 ml boiling water. Let this steep for 5 minutes, then strain, and drink 2 or three times a day before meals to increase appetite and aid digestion.
Uses of Mugwort
There have been a number of studies done on this herb that have revealed that it has a number of health benefits.
It contains a number of beneficial components such as triterpenes, flavonoids and coumarin derivatives among others.
All of these offer digestive and relaxing properties to anyone who consumes the herb.
It can be taken with tea and tinctures and can also be mixed with other sweet herbs to enhance its effect.
Mugwort can be used to stimulate suppressed or irregular periods.
The herb is also known to ease menstrual cramps and stimulate the uterus to keep it functioning properly.
However, it can also cause miscarriages so pregnant women are not advised to take it.
On the other hand, mugwort is also considered a safer alternative for hormone replacement therapy for women.
It is also considered a safer drug for abortions than traditional surgical methods but consuming it should not be considered without a doctor’s advice.
Besides aiding menstruation, mugwort also has sedative properties, which makes it beneficial for those suffering from insomnia.
In fact, due to its hallucinogenic properties, it is commonly called a ‘dream herb.’
The herb is commonly used in sleep pillows to improve lucid dreaming.
Mugwort can also soothe the mind and keep stress at bay due to its sedative properties.
The properties of this herb are twofold. One the one hand, it soothes the mind and induces sleep and on the other, it can also stimulate the mind and make it more active.
Mugwort can also ease digestion, stomach cramps, acidity and indigestion. In fact, it can be used in place of Pepto-Bismol for the same effects.
The herb can also be applied to the skin to treat itchiness caused due to an injury or a burn.
It can also be used to treat parasitic infections and can effectively protect the body against ringworm, threadworm, and other parasites.
The roots of the mugwort plant can also be used with a number of other herbs to treat a number of conditions.
These include anxiety, depression, insomnia, hypochondira, mental fatigue and other ailments that can be eased with its sedative properties.
Since it is a relaxant and a stimulant at the same time, consuming mugwort does not cause dizziness or light headedness.
Under normal conditions, the herb stimulates the mind to keep the consumer active and alert.
Apart from the above-mentioned benefits, the herb can also be used to treat asthma, fever, kidney issues, liver issues, high blood sugar, gout etc.
The herb can be taken over a longer term in small doses to enhance appetite, aid digestion, detoxify the liver and to aid in the absorption of nutrients as well.
What most people are unaware of is that it is often used as an alternative for tobacco for those who wish to quit smoking.
Side effects of Mugwort
Since the preparation instructions for the herb and the drug have not be clearly defined, lactating and pregnant women are not advised its use. It can actually pass from mother to child from the milk that is breastfed to the infant.
The herb contains a chemical component called thujone which is responsible for many of its medicinal properties. However, in large doses, this chemical can be toxic and it can cause miscarriages.
People who are allergic to pollen should not use it either.
In other words, this herb should not be used without explicit instructions from an experienced and trained physician.
It is also an effective herbal treatment to eliminate opium addiction in addicts.
Since it has a high toxicity level, mugwort should never be taken in high doses.
Continued consumption after a prescribed period is also not advisable and can cause serious side effects.
As a weight loss supplement, it should be taken in small doses and only at the recommendation of a trained and experienced doctor. Children should not be given mugwort unless absolutely necessary. Even if it is, it should be administered in very mild doses to prevent complications.
Dosage of Mugwort
The appropriate dose of mugwort depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for mugwort. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
Interaction with other drugs
Mugwort should be used with caution with individuals suffering from seizures or taking seizure medications like phenobarbital, valproic acid, primidone (Mysoline), gabapentin (Neurontin), carbamazepine (Tegretol), and phenytoin (Dilantin). It can cause seizures and lower the effectiveness of seizure medications.
Precautions and warnings
It’s likely unsafe to use mugwort if you are pregnant. Mugwort might cause a miscarriage because it can start menstruation and also cause the uterus to contract. Not enough is known about the safety of taking mugwort if you are breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.