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Artemisia ‘Wormwood’

Artemisia ‘Wormwood’ Plants

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’

This herb, with its lovely ferny gray-green leaves and delicate growing habit is a perfect addition to the garden. It really works to tie together other plants, a backdrop of lovely color and texture. Easy to grow, and is deer resistant!
Wormwood plants are a bushy, woody-based perennial or sub shrub which is grown for its aromatic silvery foliage. It rarely flowers. Foliage is finely divided and feathery in appearance. Typically grows in a shrubby mound to 2-3′ tall and as wide, but spreads by underground rhizomes and may reach 3-6′ wide if not restrained. Wormwoodgrows best in poor to moderately fertile, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Soil must be drained for this plant to grow well. Plant stems tend to fall in the summer, especially if grown in fertile soils and/or part shade. General foliage decline often occurs in high humidity summer climates. Prune artemesia plants in spring to control growth, but be careful to leave sufficient numbers of live buds on each stem to facilitate bushy growth. Never prune stems to the ground. Foliage may also be lightly sheared in summer to shape, but avoid pruning in fall.
A key ingredient in absinthe. Although give a ‘dark reputation’ due to its reported dangers, according to Amy Stewart in her New York Times bestseller, The Drunken Botanist, those rumors are greatly exaggerated: ‘The stories of absinthe causing hallucinations and wild behavior among France’s bohemian set in he late nineteenth century are mostly false; perhaps this was caused by the extraordinarily high alcohol content in absinthe … 70 to 80 percent ABV, making it twice as alcoholic as gin or vodka.”

Wormwood Plants

Wormwood is used for various digestion problems such as loss of appetite, upset stomach, gall bladder disease, and intestinal spasms. Wormwood is also used to treat fever, liver disease, and worm infections; to increase sexual desire; as a tonic; and to stimulate sweating. Some people apply wormwood directly to the skin for healing wounds and insect bites. Wormwood oil is used as a counter irritant to reduce pain. However, we STRONGLY suggest that you consult with a physician before using this herb medicinally.
The name derives from its use to expel roundworms and threadworms, although habitual use can cause convulsions.
Remember to drain soil properly. The plant tends to open up in summer and can be susceptible to root rot in moist soils, particularly poorly drained ones.

Overview

An ancient proverb claims, “as bitter as wormwood”, and indeed, wormwood is considered one of the most bitter herbs. It can be found growing wild in disturbed soils and is often cultivated in gardens, acting as a companion plant to deter pests and weeds. Historically, dried leaf bundles were hung inside the house and strewn in pantries and drawers for both its aromatics and to keep unwanted visitors away.

Wormwood is perhaps best known as an ingredient in absinthe, the famous alcoholic spirit noted for its strong effects. The herb has also been utilized for its bitterness, flavor, and green hue in many other liqueurs and aperitifs, including vermouth. Wormwood was employed in traditional European herbalism to support the digestive system. It’s uses date back to ancient Greece where it was utilized for intestinal parasites and as a general wellness tonic.

Plant Details

Artemisia absinthium is one of approximately 180 species in the genus Artemisia and a member of the of extensive Asteraceae family. Native to temperate climates in Europe, Asia, and Northern Africa, wormwood has since naturalized around the world. This herbaceous perennial has tall, branched stems with deeply segmented silver-green leaves. Wormwood can be found growing in gardens or in the wild amongst disturbed places and arid, uncultivated soils.

Herbal Wisdom

Wormwood, once a main ingredient in beer brewing, has since been replaced by hops. European folklore suggests that wormwood was utilized in making love potions and even acted as a remedy for accidental poisonings from mushrooms and other plants. Its scientific name, Artemisia, is derived from Artemis, the Greek goddess of wild creatures and the hunt. Greek legend states that the plant was delivered to Chiron, the father of medicine, by the goddess herself. The common name, wormwood, is suggested to have come from its historical use in expelling intestinal worms. Although, another reported root may originate from the Anglo-Saxon word “wermode” or “wermuth”, meaning “mind preserver”.

Try making your own homemade vermouth using this recipe from our blog.

Parts Used

Dried aerial portions.

Suggested Uses

Wormwood herb can be soaked in wine or other spirits. It can also be infused as a tea, incorporated into dream and sleep pillows, or macerated as a liquid herbal extract.

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PHOTO: Fabelfroh/Wikimedia Commonsby Jessica Walliser April 6, 2017

Sweet Annie (Artemisia annua), also known as sweet wormwood, is an annual plant that is a must-have for hobby farmers who grow flowers. Its long, plume-like flowering branches look beautiful in fresh bouquets and are easily dried to create lush wreath bases and dried flower arrangements. Plus, the sweet, fruity fragrance of this plant is nothing short of lovely.

How To Grow Sweet Annie

Native to parts of Europe and Asia, this imposing annual plant is very easy to grow—in fact, if you don’t take precautionary measures, sweet Annie’s prolific self-sowing ability can make it a bit too aggressive for some growers. But if you harvest the flowering branches at just the right time, you’ll limit or even eliminate seed dispersal and keep the plant from becoming a pest.

Sweet Annie is easily grown by directly sowing the tiny seeds into the garden a week or two before the spring’s last expected frost. Start with just a few seeds your first year; the plants grow quite large—up to 5 feet tall with an equal width—and take up quite a bit of garden real estate.

The seeds slowly germinate, sometimes taking a month to break through the surface of the soil. You can also start seeds indoors under grow lights if you’d like to push up your harvest by a few weeks.

Choose a planting site that receives at least six hours of full sun per day, more if possible. The soft, fern-like foliage of sweet Annie is a lush silvery-green, and the plants look quite beautiful swaying in the breeze. The full, highly-branched structure of this annual looks great at the back of a border or along the edge of the vegetable garden.

How To Harvest Sweet Annie

Sweet Annie is ready for harvest just as the first few flower buds start to open. Although the plants do not produce large, striking blooms, the sweet, luscious fragrance of the foliage and flowers more than makes up for it. Each feathery branch is covered with tens of thousands of small, yellow flowers.

To harvest, cut the branches from the plant just as the flower buds start to show a touch of yellow. If you let some of the flowers open, you’ll please the bees, too, but be sure to cut the spent flowers from the stalk before any seed is dropped, unless you want the plants to self sow.

Once the branches are cut from the plants (you’ll need a heavy pair of loppers or pruning saw to remove them—the mature stalks are thick and woody), you can use them as a filler in cut-flower bouquets or tie a few branches together with twine or a rubber band for drying. Hang the bunches in a dry, warm, dark room for two weeks. The flower buds and foliage dries to a medium green and eventually ages to a soft brown.

How To Use Sweet Annie

Once dry, sweet Annie branches can be used to make wreath bases or fill out dried flower arrangements. Use caution when handling the stems, however, because they generate quite a bit of fine dust when you’re working with them. This dust can irritate your lungs and cause an allergic, hayfever-like reaction in some people. The sap of the fresh-cut stems can also irritate the skin of some people, so wearing gloves to harvest is a good idea.

Sweet Annie is also grown as a medicinal herb. Its anti-malarial and anti-cancer properties continue to be studied by scientists around the world.

Sweet Annie seeds are available from Johnny’s Seeds and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.

Sweet Annie

Tall plants with fern-like leaves and a powerful, sweet aroma. At Soul Fire Farm, we grew this plant as a more adaptable cousin in our climate to Artemisia afra (the African wormwood also featured in Farming While Black) and also because in recent years we have heard of its tremendous power in self-determination and healing throughout Africa. In East, West, and South Africa people (including young people in school gardens) are growing it in an effort to reclaim some agency from the pharmaceutical companies that produce anti-malaria drugs.

However, after much more reading on this subject it seems the stories are far more complicated, as they always are. In some cases, home use of Artemisia annua is replacing needed medical care, and in other cases, it is being grown by large companies (under possibly problematic labor conditions) as a mono crop/cash crop for Artemisinin Combination-Based therapy that many people cannot afford. For this and other medicine plants, we have heard “the problems of the humans are not the problems of the plant” and we grow and share this plant and seed as a way to talk about both its uses towards self-determination, as well as the inadequacies of the pharmaceutical industrial complex.

While this species has naturalized in North America, it is originally from China where it is called qinghao and used medicinally to treat fever and malaria. Also known as sweet wormwood, sweet annie, sweet sagewort, annual mugwort, and annual wormwood.

Days to maturity: 190-240

Seeds per pack: 325

Planting / harvesting notes

Start indoors 6-8 weeks before frost and pot-up as needed. Whether starting indoors or outside (after frost), sow on surface of soil, barely cover, and keep moist until germination, which takes 1-2 weeks. While this plant is an annual, it self sows very easily and will return year after year.

Seed keeping notes

Allow seedheads to dry on the plant. Cut the stalks below the lowest seed clusters. If necessary, dry the seedheads further in the sun on a sheet or table away from moisture and precipitation. When fully dry, whack the seedheads in a bucket, allowing the ripest seed to fall. Sift through strainers to remove the largest chaff, and then winnow off the lighter chaff with your breath, a fan, or the wind.

Photo by Jessica Ferguson, who makes Sweet Annie wreaths for their aroma and as good omens and protection.

Who is Sweet Annie?

Sweet Annie (Artemisia Annua) is a highly medicinal flowering herb with an intensive aromatic scent. It is an annual plant that grows tall with fern-like, dark green foliage with cream-colored flower heads. Sweet Annie is also known as sweet sage wort, sweet woodworm, and Chinese woodworm. It is used as foliage for wreaths or as filler for mixed bouquets or as medicine.

This very fragrant herb produces a high amount of phenolic compounds which result in high antioxidant activity. Recent studies show that Artemisia Annua is one of the four medical plants with the highest Oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) level. It has been traditionally used for treating a variety of ailments including:

  • Fever
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Flatulence
  • Indigestion
  • Night sweats
  • Parasites
  • Malaria
  • Cancer

An extract of Sweet Annie called artemisinin has been researched and found to be significantly more effective at killing the malaria causing parasite than any pharmaceutical drug. The World Health Organization (WHO) is now promoting the manufacture and use of these extracts as a new, more effective and lower cost treatment. The Artemisia extracts are not just cheap and safe, it apparently the malaria bugs don’t become resistant to the drug, a major drawback of the synthetic drugs currently in use. Another study in the 2001 issue of the journal Life Sciences describes how the extract killed virtually all human breast cancer cells exposed to it within 16 hours.

This impressive herb is easy to grow and actually does better in poor dry soil. This may be perfect for you if you do not have a green thumb! You can find the seeds at johnnysseeds.com or strictlymedicinalseeds.com. This fast-growing plant prefers full sun and is extremely vigorous, essentially disease and pest free. Even grazing deer will rarely disturb Sweet Annie!

By Brian Hetrich, Greenhouse Manager

Artemisia absinthium (Wormwood) Herb Plant

Artemisia absinthium (Wormwood) Herb in 1L Pot

Artemisia absinthium, or Wormwood is known by a host of common names: Absinthium, Absinthe Wormwood, Common Wormwood, Green Ginger or Grand Wormwood. Wormwood grows best in poor soil in a warm sunny position, so occurs naturally on uncultivated, arid ground, on rocky slopes, and at the edge of footpaths and fields. Like most Artemesia , wormwood is an attractive and extremely aromatic foliage plant it can be at home in a mixed border as well as the herb garden. The stems are straight, growing up to 80cm tall, branched, and silvery-green. These branches hold spirally arranged leaves that are greenish-grey above and white below, and are covered with silky silvery-white hair. Its flowers are tubular and pale yellow in colour and appear from early summer to early autumn. Plants can become leggy if not pruned back in Spring they can be pruned back hard to 15cm above ground.

Herb Usage

Native to Europe and Britain, this herbaceous perennial plant produces a hard, woody rhizome which is most famously used in the liquor Absinthe. The leaves and flowering stems are dried and included in insect repellent sachets and fresh infusions are used to help insect bites and stings.

Buy Wormwood Online

Our Potted Wormwood herb plants are available to buy online between March and September.

Wormwood Seed

Named to honour Artemisia who was the sister and wife of the Greek/Persian King Mausolus, and who ruled after his death in 353BC. She built a magnificent tomb, called the Mausoleum (one of the seven wonders of the world) in his honour. Artemsia was a famous botanist and medicinal researcher!

Wormwood is very attractive to look at with its silver leaves which are stunning with the moonlight on them! Extremely bitter taste if eaten as a herb, but is an excellent repellent of mice, flies, moths, ants and insects. An infusion in years gone by was used to expel worms from the human body! Also used in the manufacture of vermouth.

A member of the daisy family.

  • Hardy, deciduous subshrub.
  • Perennial.
  • Yellow flowers July to September.
  • Bitter but aromatic, grey-green leaves.
  • Reaches 2-4 feet (60 – 1200 cm) tall.
  • Likes a poisiiton in full sun but will tolerate some shade.
  • Makes an attractive border plant.
  • Prefers a light, dry, well-drained soil.
  • Sow in spring or autumn in shallow drills (no more than 1″ (2 cm) deep. Aternatively you can leave them uncovered.
  • Thin seedlings as required.
  • Plant 18″-3 feet (45 – 100 cm) apart.
  • Do not plant near fennel, sage, caraway, anise as when it rains wormwood can release its growth-inhibiting toxin and will affect other plants.
  • Not suitable for indoor growing.
  • Can become invasive so needs to be kept under control.
  • Culinary Uses.
  • Used commercially to make vermouth and other aperitifs.
  • Medicinal Uses.
  • Can expell internal worms.
  • Can treat bronchitis and colds.
  • Cardiac stimulant.
  • The Chinese use the leaves to stop nosebleeds by rolling up the leaves and putting them in their nostrils.
  • Has disinfectant and antiseptic properties.
  • Can be used to stimulate appetite.
  • Can increase vitality
  • Reduce flatulence.
  • Can improve bad breath.
  • Can stimulate and tone the uterus, liver and gall bladder (it increases the flow of bile)
  • CAn help digestive disorders, liver and gall-bladder problems.
  • Can be used to treat epilepsy and nervous disorders.
  • Can treat fevers, bruises and sprains.
  • Can be used for pain relief and relaxes spasms.
  • Other Uses.
  • Can be used in bouquets and wreaths.
  • Can be used as a moth repellent.
  • If laid between rows of carrots and onions wormwood can deter the onion and carrot fly.
  • Can be used to make disinfectant or insecticide for older plants.
  • Grown near hen houses can deter lice.
  • Can deter Cabbage White butterflies.
  • Can deter fruit moths.
  • Hanging leaves in a granary are said to dispel beetles!
  • Boil to make a yellow dye.
  • If dried and burnt it can help develop psychic powers.

Disclaimer
As with all alternative medicines and plants with purported medicinal benefits it is important to inform your health care providers that you are using them; this helps to ensure safe and coordinated care. We can accept no liability for any side effect or contingency from any allergy or any other cause or harm that may arise. If in doubt please do consult a medical practitioner before using. Never exceed doses given and only for short periods of time in any event. Can cause nausea and damage to the nervous system. Avoid during pregnancy and if sensitive to the compositae family. Never give to children.

For the Love of Mugwort: 7 Uses for Mugwort

Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) is a divine lady who goes by several names, including wild wormwood, chrysanthemum weed, artemis, Old Uncle Henry, St. John’s plant, and cronewort.

As an easy-to-grow perennial that self-seeds readily, mugwort easily grows to 4 feet and more. She can grow in all types of soils, including poor and alkaline soils, but she does prefer good drainage. She can tolerate drought and likes full to part sun.

Identifying Mugwort

Her central stem is purplish like the color of a deep Bordeaux wine, while her feathery, deeply divided pinnate1)Pinnate: Literally meaning “resembling a feather.” It can refer to leaflet arrangement or a venation pattern. leaves are dark green on the upper surface and covered with downy hairs reminiscent of the moon’s silvery sheen on the underside. Her reddish or pale yellow flowers bloom from July to October. Although nondescript, they are delicate nevertheless.

While you can easily purchase seeds and grow her yourself, chances are that mugwort might be growing in your backyard already. Truth is, she grows all over temperate Europe, Asia, Africa, and even some parts of Alaska. She’s fond of growing in fields, in uncultivated soils, and along waysides and waste lands. Although she is considered an invasive weed in some parts of North America, you really want to get to know this tall lady a lot better considering all of her interesting properties.

Poison Hemlook Look-alike?

Wait a minute. Doesn’t mugwort look a lot like poison hemlock? Not really. As with any plant, you should be 100% sure of identification—however, here are five major differences:

1. Hemlock plants can grow as much as 10-12 feet high, while mugwort only grows to 4 feet. While I’ve met some mugworts as tall as 5-6 feet, I’ve certainly not seen any that were 12 feet tall.

2. Hemlock has white flowers with 5 petals that are arranged in umbrella-shaped clusters, while mugwort flowers are smaller, pale yellow or reddish, and arranged in a raceme.2)Raceme: An arrangement of flowers along a stem in which the flowers grow singly on short stalks that are arranged equally along the stem. The flowers open in succession from bottom to top.

Hemlock (Conium maculatum) flowers in umbrella-shaped clusters.

Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) flowers are arranged in racemes.

3. Hemlock’s central stem is green with purple splotches, while mugwort’s stem is all purplish in color.

4. Hemlock has toothed, fern-like leaves, while mugwort’s leaves are pinnately lobed with the underside of the leaves having a downy, silvery sheen.

5. When crushed, hemlock leaves have a musky odor reminiscent of mouse urine, while mugwort’s leaves have a pleasant smell reminiscent of sage and chrysanthemum.

7 Edible and Medicinal Uses of Mugwort

Now let’s look at the many interesting edible and medicinal uses of mugwort—the reasons why this wonderful lady is a sure keeper.

#1: Flavorful as a Bitter Aromatic

On the edibility scale, she’s considered a bitter aromatic, which means she helps to get the liver juices flowing. Some don’t mind her raw, so if you are keen on her taste, you can add a few of her leaves and flowers to salads. Others prefer her leaves and flowers in soups and stews, much as you would use flavorful herbs like cilantro, dill, or parsley. Along a similar vein, you can add some of her leaves and flowers as you would other herbs to flavor rice and grain dishes, fish, meat and poultry, and even deviled eggs. If you’re into green juices and green smoothies, you can add in a small handful of leaves and flowers along with other greens and fruits.

#2: Tea Substitute? Tea Medicine!

Interesting tidbit: Back in WWII, when tea became a pricey luxury, mugwort was used as a tea substitute in some parts of England. Nowadays, we know that a pot of mugwort tea hosts several cups of medicine: excellent to help with gas, flatulence, stomach acid, bile production, and overall digestion. Her root is considered a supreme stomachic. That same cup of tea can be enjoyed as a nightcap before bedtime, as mugwort also has nerve-soothing properties. She might even bring you some lucid dreams. Mugwort is also considered an emmenagogue, antispasmodic, and hemostatic, which means 1-3 cups of tea a day will help women with menstrual cramps or those who have heavy, prolonged bleeding.

To Harvest: Cut the top 1/3 of the plant when mugwort is in flower. You can hang the plant upside down to dry (such as from an indoor clothesline), or chop her into small pieces and spread her onto newspaper or on mesh sheets in a dehydrator. Roots are dug up and collected in the fall. Use a scrub brush and a bit of water to clean the roots, then spread them out on newspaper or on mesh sheets in the dehydrator and let them dry completely. All parts of the plant should be stored away from light (e.g., in paper bags).

To Make Mugwort Tea: Place 1 ounce dried mugwort in 4 cups of boiling water and let steep 5-10 minutes, then strain. If you let it sit for longer and make a standard infusion in a mason jar for 4 hours, the tea will be quite bitter. Feel free to halve this recipe if you want to make less tea. You can keep any unused tea in the fridge for up to 2-3 days.

To Make Mugwort Root Tea: Place 1 ounce chopped roots with 4 cups water in a glass or ceramic pot. Bring to a boil, then continue to simmer, covered, until reduced by half, about 20-30 minutes. Strain and drink.

If you’d like to benefit from mugwort’s medicine, but want to skimp on the bitter, consider taking her as tincture instead. It’s easy to make your own, too. . . .

To Make Tincture of Mugwort: Cut off the top 1/3 of flowering mugwort plants and chop the stems, leaves, and flowers into small pieces using scissors or pruners. Place slightly packed in a mason jar. What size mason jar you use depends on how much herb you have. Fill the jar with alcohol, screw the lid on, and let sit for 6 weeks in a cool, dry place. Strain and store in dark, amber-colored bottles. Standard dosage is 5-20 drops. Use this tincture before meals to help with stomach acid and liver bile production, or after meals to help with gas, bloating, and distention.

#3: Worms Be Gone!

Mugwort is in the same family as wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), and both are great at ridding the body of parasites and candida, including Staphococcus aureus, Bacillus typhi, B. dysenteriae, streptococci, E. coli, B. subtilis, and pseudomonads. While you can drink the tea for this purpose, you can also try a mugwort retention enema in combination with other naturopathic treatments.

Yes, folks, you read about mugwort enemas first on The Grow Network!

To Make a Mugwort Enema: Put 1 liter of slightly warm, finger-hot mugwort infusion* in a 2 liter enema bag. Lie on your right side, making sure that the nozzle has been well lubed, and hold in the mugwort infusion for 10-15 minutes. Candida/parasite cleanses work well on 10-days-on/5-days-off cycles, so use the mugwort enema for 10 days on, then take 5 days off. You can then repeat for another 10 days using the mugwort enema, or do a rotation and use other parasitic herbs for retention enemas. Commonly used herbs include pau d’arco, wormwood, and black walnut hulls. Since mugwort is in the daisy/Asteracea family, this would not be a suitable option for those with ragweed allergies.

*To Make Mugwort Infusion: Place 1 ounce of dried mugwort and 4 cups boiling water in a 1 liter mason jar. Screw on the lid, let steep for 4 hours, and then strain.

#4: Dream a Little Third-Eye Dream

Mugwort is said to open the third eye and to spark vivid dreaming, so let’s get to making a dream pillow! Yours can be as simple as filling a sock with dried mugwort leaves, or as fancy as stuffing the dried leaves into a embroidered silk sachet. A cotton or organza bag works just fine, too. Simply place your dream pillow underneath your head pillow, and dream away! You can add some dried lavender in with the mugwort leaves to help ease you into peaceful slumber.

#5: Clear the Bad Air

Science has officially recognized what folk medicine has known for centuries—that burning herbs to “clear the energy” does just that: It kills bad bacteria lingering around. Mugwort is antimicrobial, so whether you happen to be a health practitioner about to give a healing session (such as massage, reiki, reflexology, etc.), or you just want to get your house purged of nasty bacteria, consider using a mugwort smudge or incense.

To Make a Mugwort Smudge: Working with the fresh herb is best for this. You can use dried branches instead, but be aware that the dried leaves will create a fine mess when you go about twining them together with string. Chop off the top 1/3 of the flowering plant. Take off the smaller branches and lay them with the flowers at the top and the cut ends at the bottom. Trim the cut ends so that the pieces are about the same length. Take some cotton string and wrap the ends together, winding several times. Make a knot to secure the string in place. Then, continue wrapping the branches together, working up toward the flowery end. The string might have a zig-zag look, but don’t worry! Finish by wrapping the end bit with the flowers several times, then cut the string and secure it with a knot. Now let the smudge dry—drying will take some time.

To Use a Mugwort Smudge: While holding the end with the cut stems, light the opposite end with the flowers. Hold the smudge over an astray or other non-flammable object to collect the ashes, and walk around the room, letting the smoke from mugwort bring her clean, grounding energy. Do keep an eye on the smudge while you are doing this! To put out the smudge completely, douse the lit end in a mason jar filled with baking soda. You can reuse the smudge, if you like. You can also burn mugwort as an incense by placing a small bit of a dried branch in a non-flammable object like an incense holder, and lighting the branch at the flowering tip. Smudge rooms seasonally or as needed. Try smudging before meditation, or burning mugwort as incense during meditation.

#6: Remineralize With ‘Strong Bones Vinegar’

A great way to get some of the calcium and magnesium required by strong, healthy bones is by using mugwort vinegar. You can make “strong bones vinegar” at home by lightly packing a mason jar of any size with fresh mugwort leaves. Add apple cider vinegar to fill the jar, screw the lid on, and let it sit for 6 weeks before straining. As the leaves soak up the vinegar, you can add in more vinegar as needed. You can use plastic wrap or parchment paper to keep the metal lid from coming in contact with the vinegar and rusting. The apple cider vinegar will leach out the calcium and magnesium from the mugwort’s leaves. Some people like to shake the bottle on a daily basis, checking to see if any more vinegar is needed. If you’re like me (excuses: too busy or too lazy) and you only check it occasionally, your vinegar will turn out just fine anyway, so long as you leave it in a cool, dry place out of direct light.

Pour this vinegar over salads or add it to vinaigrettes. If you use an apple cider vinegar “with mother,” you will get the benefits of gut-friendly probiotics as well. And if you like this “strong bones vinegar,” try pairing the mugwort with chickweed (Stellaria media) or nettles (Urtica dioica), or use all three together to make a potent herbal bone vinegar.

#7: Natural Insecticide Help

You can grow mugwort as a companion plant to dissuade aphids and other bothersome insects in the garden. However, since she can inhibit the growth of nearby plants, consider keeping her in a pot. She grows very well in containers, and can easily attain 2 feet of height. Another idea you can try is to use a weak mugwort tea to spray on infected plants as a natural insecticide.

Read More: “This Natural Bug Repellent Is as Effective as DEET!”

Still not sold on the uses of mugwort? You might be when you consider these other uses that you can research further on your own (especially that last one):

  • Use mugwort stalks or leaves for kindling.
  • Add dried mugwort to a fire to help keep it smoldering.
  • Rub mugwort leaves on skin as an antidote to poison oak.
  • Since mugwort is an insect repellent, try adding essential oil of mugwort with other essential oils (such as neem, thyme, fennel, lemon eucalyptus, and others) to a carrier oil (such as coconut oil) to make your own natural insect repellent. Try using 20 drops total essential oils to 1 ounce oil.
  • Infused mugwort oil can be used to aid in circulation, such as on varicose veins.
    If you’re an acupuncturist/acupressurist, consider making your own moxa sticks from mugwort (“how to” instructions can be found on the Internet).
  • Make mugwort beer. Mugwort was used in beer recipes before hops became the standard. Look for recipes for “gruit ale” on the Internet.

Note: Large amounts and prolonged use of mugwort can cause nervous and liver damage. While some midwives might use mugwort to help induce labor, mugwort is not suitable for pregnant or lactating women. Mugwort’s flowers contain pollen, which can trigger hay fever symptoms in those susceptible. Contact dermatitis has been reported by some.

What’s your favorite use for mugwort? Let us know in the comments below!

Psst! Our Lawyer Wants You to Read This Big, Bad Medical Disclaimer –> The contents of this article, made available via The Grow Network (TGN), are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice; the content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information provided by TGN. Reliance on any information provided by this article is solely at your own risk. And, of course, never eat a wild plant without first checking with a local expert.

(This is an updated version of an article that was originally published on October 5, 2015. The author may not currently be available to respond to comments, however we encourage our Community members to chime in to share their experiences and answer questions!)

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References

1. Pinnate: Literally meaning “resembling a feather.” It can refer to leaflet arrangement or a venation pattern.
2. Raceme: An arrangement of flowers along a stem in which the flowers grow singly on short stalks that are arranged equally along the stem. The flowers open in succession from bottom to top.

This amazing shrub is a tall herbaceous perennial with a woody root. The leaves are smooth with a dark green tint on the upper surface, but covered with a dense cottony down beneath. The erect stem often has a red-purplish tinge.

It has been known since ancient times with a multitude of medicinal uses, it is one of the nine Saxon magic herbs. Mugwort has a mellow sage-like aroma and has strong bittering properties. Long before hops became the just about the only herb used to make beer, many different herbs and spices were used, and mugwort was often the brewer’s choice.

The Mugwort is closely allied to the Artemisia absinthe but is distinguished by the leaves being white on the under-surfaces and by the leaf segments being pointed, not blunt. It lacks the essential oil of the Wormwood.

Sowing: Sow in late winter/late spring or late summer/autumn.
Surface sow the seeds in pots or trays containing a good quality seed compost. Do not cover as they need light to germinate. Stand the containers in water to moisten and place in a polythene bag or cover with plastic.
The seeds need cold weather to break down germination inhibitors. This process, called stratification, can be left to nature or hastened by copying nature:

Hastening Germination:
Place the container in a polythene bag and put into the refrigerator (not the freezer) for 2 weeks. After this time place the containers outside in a cold frame or plunge them up to the rims in a shady part of the garden border.

The Natural Method:
Place the seed container outside against a north wall or in a cold frame and leave them there until the spring. If the seed containers are out in the open then some shelter has to be given against excessive rain.
In the spring bring the seed containers into the greenhouse or indoors on to a well lit but not sunny windowsill and keep the compost moist. This should trigger off germination.

Cultivation:
Transplant the seedlings when large enough to handle into pots and grow on. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Space 30cm (12in). Water regularly until mature.
Although frost has little effect on Mugwort, the herb is generally pruned in autumn. It self-seeds easily when happy, so deadhead it if you don’t want seedlings. Once they are established, they are easy to propagate by dividing the rhizomes in the early spring, before the plant leafs out.
Harvest before the first frost and dry in the shade or hang in the house to dry.

Culinary Uses:
Mugwort is botanically related to tarragon, and in addition to being made into tea, is employed as an aromatic culinary herb, such as in stuffing for roasted geese.

Medicinal Uses:
The mugwort is known to be milder in action than most other species of Artemisia and has a large number of uses. It has been traditionally used to treat digestive disorders, and used as a tonic for various remedies.
The Chinese have been using mugwort for centuries, and one of its best known uses is in the ancient art of acupuncture and is one of the main ingredients in ‘moxa’ or ‘moxibustion’.

Other Uses:
Various species of Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) feed on the leaves and flowers.
The fresh or the dried plant repels insects. A weak tea made from the infused plant is a good all-purpose insecticide.

Natural Dyes:
Artemisia species provide a wonderful range of greens from baby’s breath to nettle green..

Origin:
Mugwort is usually regarded as a native plant but there are many parts of the British Isles where it is met with under suspicious conditions that doubts arise as to whether it is really indigenous.
The writers of a considerable number of floras consider that it may have been introduced in times long past. It is often found near houses in circumstances which suggest that at one time it was cultivated as it had a high medicinal reputation it is not surprising that this was the case.
Taking all the evidence into consideration, it very probable that artemisia was one of the first herbs cultivated by man and that he took it with him on his travels.

Nomenclature:
The genus name artemisia ultimately derives from the Greek goddess Artemis (Roman Diana), the namesake of Greek Queens Artemisia I and II. A more specific reference may be to Artemisia II of Caria, a botanist and medical researcher who died in 350 BC. The genus includes over 400 plants, including the delectable herb tarragon.
Artemisia II of Caria, a botanist and medical researcher who died in 350 BC. She was the sister, the wife, (yes, that is correct) and the successor of Greek/Persian King Mausolus.Because of her grief for her brother-husband, and the extravagant and downright bizarre forms it took, she became to later ages “a lasting example of chaste widowhood and of the purest and rarest kind of love”, in the words of Giovanni Boccaccio. In art she was usually shown in the process of consuming his ashes, mixed with drink. To perpetuate his memory she built at Halicarnassus the celebrated Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, listed by Antipater of Sidon as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and whose name subsequently became the generic term for any splendid sepulchral monument, the word mausoleum.
The species name vulgaris simply means ‘common’, the most common form of the plant.
The common name of mugwort is derived from its use in warding off insects: the etymology is from the West German word muggiwurti from muggio for “midge” or “fly”, and wurti for “plant.”
Doesn’t the word Mugwort just sound like a witch’s plant? It was once able to arouse a host of strange ideas, magical conceptions and sacred associations amongst our forefathers and was often called ‘Mater Herbarum’ meaning ‘Mother Of Herbs’. It is sometimes referred to as Croneswort because it’s an old folk belief that it springs up at the doorsteps of healers.
This ancient plant has many old English names including Mucgwyrt, Mogwort, mughworde, muguart and muggerwarte. These days, common names include: Common artemisia, Wild wormwood, French tobacco, Mugweed, Carline thistle, Felon herb and Wild chrysanthemum.

Tom’s Garden

Artemisia douglasiana, Mugwort.

This California native mugwort, here growing in a container, is happy after this year’s wet winter. I acquired a couple of specimens last summer, and they looked pretty rangy during those dry months. Like many native plants, mugwort is pretty resilient, tolerating shade and aridity up to a point, but in nature it favors moist locations.

It’s an underappreciated perennial plant for the garden. While top leaves are whole, lower leaves are lobed in a sharply jagged cleft pattern. The evenly-spaced leaves are dark green above and silvery (and a little wooly) below. The plant is aromatic, especially when the leaves are crushed. It attracts butterflies and birds, and is said to be deer resistant. Stems grow erect from runners (which are not too difficult to control); some sources say they get to six feet tall, but I have never seem this plant above about three or four feet. Flowers (summer to fall) are insignificant.

Artemsias are in the Asteraceae (sunflower) family. Artemisia douglasiana is sometimes classed as Artemesia vulgaris var. douglasiana, but it is much more bitter and strongly flavored than the European mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris) referenced in many herbals. (There is also a Korean variety, which is closer to the European than to this native California mugwort.)

Also known as Dream Plant, the leaves of mugwort contain some of the same substances (notably thujone and cineole) as those of another Atemisia, wormwood (Artemisia absinthium). When smoked or drunk as a tea, they are said to produce vivid dreams, and to ward off the spirits of the dead. Native Californians sometimes wore mugwort necklaces for protection against such spirits. In the European tradition it was held that pillows stuffed with mugwort could reveal one’s future in dreams. One herbalist calls mugwort “ the star of any dream pillow.” A reference more to my taste is “The Natural History of Orange County, California and Nearby Places,” which cites several print sources.

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