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.
Mugwort Tea Benefits
Drinking mugwort tea is highly recommended for people suffering from insomnia, anxiety, painful menstruations, digestive issues, obesity, weak immunity, diabetes, depression, inflammation, colds, coughs, flu, respiratory infections and kidney problems.
Mugwort Tea for anxiety, sleep and dreams
Mugwort tea 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 Tea for digestive support
Mugwort tea 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 tea 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 content of essential oils like thujone and cineole, according to the “Herbal Vade Mecum.”
With a range of B-family vitamins in mugwort tea, you can significantly boost your metabolism and increase passive fat-burning. This can help with weight loss efforts and help your body operate at a higher level of energy and efficiency.
One of the major uses of mugwort tea is in the treatment of dysmenorrhea, more commonly known as menstrual cramps. It is also known to stimulate and regulate menstruation and support the body as it changes through menopause. However, it should be avoided by women who are pregnant, as the stimulation of menses can cause miscarriage and trigger premature labor.
The diuretic properties of mugwort tea mean that it stimulates urination, which is the body’s best means of eliminating toxins. Mugwort tea is also linked to cleansing the kidneys and bladder, reducing the chances of infection and improving function. It can also stimulate sweating, which will further eliminate toxins from the body through the skin.
The high concentration of vitamin C and other active antioxidants makes this tea an excellent choice for boosting the immune system. The vitamin C can stimulate the production of white blood cells, and also act as an antioxidant, which can neutralize free radicals that cause inflammation and weaken the body’s defenses.
Vitamin A is found in mugwort tea and acts as a strong antioxidant for vision health. More specifically, this beta carotene-derived vitamin is able to prevent macular degeneration and slow the development of cataracts.
Bone Mineral Density
Traditional beliefs hold that mugwort tea is an excellent mineralizer for the bones, helping to increase bone mineral density and preventing age-related bone disorders, such as osteoporosis. The high levels of potassium, iron, and calcium found in this tea certainly help support this benefit.
Mugwort tea uses and side effects
Mugwort tea is used around the world and is naturalized in most countries due to its popularity, but there are also side effects that need to be considered. Mugwort contains trace amounts of thujone, a toxic substance that can be very dangerous in high concentrations, but only in extremely high concentrations would this be a problem when drinking mugwort tea. That being said, there are other side effects that do occur in certain people.
- Allergies – One of the most common triggers for hay fever is mugwort pollen, so allergic reactions to drinking this tea are not uncommon. If you are normally susceptible to allergies, use this tea in moderation, and if you experience any skin irritation, gastrointestinal distress, or swelling of the throat, lips or tongue, discontinue use immediately.
- Pregnancy – While the level of thujone found in mugwort tea is low and likely safe for the majority of tea-drinkers, pregnant women should avoid this tea, as thujone is known to stimulate menstruation. Therefore, it can cause miscarriages and pregnancy complications. Breastfeeding women should also avoid drinking this tea, as some of the active components, including thujone, can be passed into the breast milk and negatively affect the infant.
How Do You Make Mugwort Tea?
Mugwort tea is easy to make at home, and only requires dried, crushed mugwort and hot water, as well as sweeteners or other herbal additions, if desired. The leaves are the most common source of mugwort tea, although some people also prepare a mugwort root tea, or even combine both plant parts for an even more beneficial beverage. If you are growing your own mugwort, cut only the top 1/3 of the plant when harvesting the leaves, and then hang them upside down in bundles
- 1 ounce of dried mugwort
- 4 cups of water (filtered)
- 1 teaspoon of honey or sugar, if desired
Step 1 – Bring the water to a boil and then add the dried mugwort.
Step 2 – Allow the mugwort tea to steep for 5-10 minutes.
Step 3 – Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool for another 2-3 minutes.
Step 4 – Strain the tea mixture.
Step 5 – Add honey or sugar, if desired for sweetness, and enjoy!