The origin of mugwort and what’s mugwort used for?
The plant’s technical title, Artemisia vulgaris, comes from “Artemis,” the name of a Greek moon goddess and considered to be a patron of women. Meanwhile, “vulgaris” ties back to the first of many of mugwort’s uses that we’ll be talking about: Historically, when we analyze what’s mugwort has used for, we see the herb used for women’s menstrual cycles and helped provide menopause relief.
In some cases, mugwort was successful in a method called moxibustion, which used most notably for reversing the breach position of fetuses before birth and alleviating joint pain. The leaves of one species of the plant, A. douglasiana, has been used as a preventative method before being exposed to poison oak, plus it’s been used as a natural bug repellant.
The plant contains high levels of antioxidants, which help to alleviate digestive and intestinal issues like ulcers, vomiting, nausea and constipation. It’s even been known to elicit intense and vivid dreams. Components of mugwort are also being tested and studied as a possible alternative treatment for some cancers. Let’s dive into more details what’s mugwort has used for.
Soothing and treating joint pain-What’s Mugwort Used For
Mugwort in conjunction with the moxibustion technique not only succeeds with stimulating fetal movement inside the womb — it’s also a successful therapy for certain forms of arthritis.
In one study, the same ancient Chinese technique was blind-tested on participants with osteoarthritis. Out of 110 patients, half were given the real-deal moxibustion treatment, and the other half was given the placebo version three times a week for six weeks. Neither the patients, not the practitioners knew which patient was receiving which treatment.
The results! At the end of the treatment, there was a 53 percent reduction in pain for participants in the moxibustion group and only a 24 percent reduction in pain within the group who received the placebo. Knee function also improved 51 percent in the moxibustion group and only increased 13 percent in the placebo group. The effects of the therapy were not necessarily permanent, but the results are certainly promising.
Reversing breech birth position-What’s Mugwort Used For
In most cases, when a baby is just a few weeks shy of entering the world, the head of the baby will naturally begin moving toward the birth canal to prepare for delivery. But in approximately 1 out of every 25 full-term births, that does not happen. This is called a breech birth.
Ancient Chinese medicine starting using a method called moxibustion as a natural solution to this dangerous situation. So what is moxibustion? The leaves of the mugwort plant are formed into a short stick or cone and burned over the points of acupuncture, which inhibits the release of energy and circulates blood by creating a warming effect on the acupuncture site.
When moxibustion is being used to reverse a fetus in breech, the procedure stimulates a specific acupuncture point, BL67, located near the toenail of the fifth toe, creating blood circulation and energy that result in an increase in fetal movements. According to a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, 75 percent of 130 fetuses reversed positions after the mother was treated with moxibustion. It clearly shows the importance of what’s mugwort has used for centuries.
Flavoring beers of the past and the present
Most beer brewers use hops, or Humulus lupulus, to make their beer. But about 1,000 years ago, medieval brewers were using an alternate concoction of herbs called gruit, which included mugwort as one of the main ingredients.
In fact, the English have a slightly different memory how the name “mugwort” came about than the ancient Greeks or Chinese. Because the gruit beer was served and enjoyed in a mug, the herb is said to have gotten its name because of that obvious connection. The flowers are dried and boiled with other herbs to make a version of a herbal tea, then added to the liquid to create the flavor of the brew. Some say that the herbal mixture results in a sour flavor.
Like so many trends, this medieval trend of brewing beer has actually made a comeback. Certain popular breweries are creating gruit blends, including New Belgium, Dogfish Head, and gobs of other microbreweries around the world. There are even lots of recipes for brewing your own gruit beer.
Attacking cancerous cells and malaria
Completed and current ongoing studies on the possible uses of mugwort indicate that links to the fundamental component of the plant, artemisinins, as being toxic to certain cancer cells. Mugwort is a naturally occurring anti-malarial.
As scientists have continued to study the components that effect malaria, they’ve found links to artemisinins targeting mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum and the lysosome. Cancer cells contain a higher level of iron then healthy cells do, which in turn, makes them more susceptible to the toxicity in artemisinin.
In one study, scientists paired the iron heavy cancerous cells with the artemisinin. Once the combination was inside the cells, the result was enhanced toxicity — which means, more potential killing capacity towards the cancer. In the exact words of the hypothesis: “This tagged-compound could potentially develop into an effective chemotherapeutic agent for cancer treatment.”
While this isn’t a proven method for treating cancer yet, it’s certainly something to be on the lookout for as the results of more studies and research unfold.
All these benefits shows the incredible contribution of this herb and what’s mugwort has used for historically.