The mugwort does not attract much attention from a purely visual point of view. Nevertheless, it is endowed with extremely strong healing potential. Mugwort can provide immense relief, especially for digestive problems and gynecological problems. Mugwort also relieves cramps of all kinds – from stomach aches, and abdominal pain to asthma attacks – thanks to its anticonvulsant effect. But how is the mugwort prepared? And where do you get it from? We have summarized the most important details about mugwort for you.
How mugwort talks to people
At first glance, mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) may seem like an inconspicuous plant. But a second look reveals that mugwort is a very special plant. Its red stalk signals to people that mugwort can stimulate blood flow and can therefore also be used to treat many women’s ailments or to speed up childbirth – at least that’s what people believed according to the doctrine of signatures.
The doctrine of signatures says that all medicinal plants have certain characteristics that show people immediately which diseases they can heal. So e.g. For example, the walnut helps against headaches because it looks brain-like. And the stinging nettle with its hairs is said to work against hair loss – which in both cases actually corresponds to reality, as scientific studies have meanwhile found out.
Mugwort – wear under the waistband if you have stomach cramps
With regard to mugwort, too, it has long been shown that the doctrine of signatures was also right because mugwort contains substances that stimulate the uterus and thus both promote menstruation and can accelerate birth. Mugwort is said to work so well that – according to knowledgeable herbal healers – it is enough to simply wear a sprig of mugwort under the waistband of menstrual cramps – and the pain and cramps go away.
Equally interesting is the tip to put fresh mugwort under the pillow, which should not necessarily lead to sweet dreams, but to clarifying and particularly colorful dreams. Some also smoke mugwort for this effect. It is uncertain whether the dreams will be colored, but mugwort is said to protect against depression and bad moods in any case. After 1 to 3 grams, mild euphoria, followed by relaxation and calm, sets in.
It’s a good thing that mugwort can be found in almost all areas of the northern hemisphere – and then wild too, so that everyone can use its healing powers.
The glorious past of mugwort
Together with lettuce, marigold, chamomile, and many others, mugwort belongs to the daisy family. It loves overgrown places and therefore thrives primarily on roadsides, railway embankments, or embankments. Perhaps that is also the reason why it is often only seen as a weed and is hardly noticed in the medical sense. In the olden days, mugwort was held in very different esteem.
Nice-sounding names such as Thorwurz or Solstice herb are reminiscent of its glorious history. The ancient Greeks and Romans used mugwort, for example, to support childbirth and aching feet, which the German name “Bei-Fuss” also indicates.
The Germans considered mugwort one of the most powerful plants and wove belts from the roots to protect themselves from diseases. It will hardly be possible to find out whether mugwort really protects or whether it is more the belief in it. What is certain, however, is that mugwort – sown between vegetable plants – protects them from pests.
And although mugwort is said to have a high allergic potential, a study has shown that it even has anti-allergic properties.
Mugwort – lady’s herb and digestive elixir
The most important ingredients of mugwort include the so-called sesquiterpene lactones – certain bitter substances – and the essential oil with the main components camphor and thujone.
It is these substances that are responsible for the main properties of mugwort: they have an appetizing, digestive, anthelmintic, antispasmodic, antibacterial, and diuretic effect; they stimulate the uterus, promote blood circulation and bile flow and relax tired feet. The areas of application for mugwort are therefore extremely diverse:
- Stomach and intestinal problems
- loss of appetite
- worm infestation
- colic (including bile)
- water retention
- Asthma (because mugwort has an antispasmodic effect)
- Menstrual problems (painful and painful menstruation)
- Circulatory disorders (cold hands and feet)
Mugwort against women’s diseases
Mugwort has been considered THE “medicinal herb for women” since ancient times. Whether to support childbirth, diseases of the abdominal organs, cystitis, chronic ovarian inflammation, discharge or pain, and irregular periods: mugwort tea promises relief.
The classic mugwort tea is prepared as follows:
- Pour 200 ml of hot water over 1 teaspoon of mugwort leaves and leave the infusion covered for 5 to 7 minutes.
- Strain the tea.
- Drink 1 to a maximum of 3 cups per day.
- Since the bitter substances contained are decisive for the effect, the tea should be drunk unsweetened and in small sips.
- If you have menstrual cramps, you can start taking mugwort tea 5 to 8 days before the start of your period.
Important: Mugwort tea must not be overdosed and must not be used in case of fever, pregnancy (risk of premature birth), or breastfeeding. Mugwort is one of the most powerful medicinal plants and should therefore not be drunk regularly for too long. That means: After a tea cure of a maximum of 6 weeks, take a break of at least three weeks!
Not only women benefit from the healing power of mugwort, but also all those who are struggling with gastrointestinal problems.
Mugwort solves digestive problems
Since mugwort is one of the typical bitter plants, it is a great home remedy for all kinds of digestive problems. Whether it’s loss of appetite, pain in the upper abdomen, cramps, heartburn, flatulence, or diarrhea: the healing effects of mugwort are also very extensive in this area.
In order to prevent digestive problems after certain high-fat meals, the dishes can be seasoned with dried or fresh mugwort – which increases digestibility and improves wholesomeness.
Mugwort spice mix
A spice mixture containing mugwort can be prepared as follows:
- 50 g dried mugwort leaves
- 50 g dried savory leaves (Satureja hortensis)
- 10 grams of pepper
- Mix the herbs and pulverize them with the mortar.
- Store the spice in a cool, dark place. It has a shelf life of about 1 year.
- The mugwort spice mixture is also a great alternative for people who have to or want to do without salt for health reasons.
- The spice should be cooked with it so that its full effect can unfold.
- Collect and cultivate mugwort
Of course, you can buy mugwort – like most medicinal plants – in the pharmacy or in the herb shop. However, you can also collect it in the wild or – even better – plant it in your garden or on your balcony.
All you need is a sunny spot with nutrient-rich soil. Seeds or young plants are available from special nurseries with an extensive range of medicinal and wild plants.
Mugwort in TCM – the annual mugwort
Another species of mugwort, annual mugwort (Artemisia annua), has long played an important role in traditional Chinese medicine as a remedy for malaria.
Mugwort is the number 1 antimalarial remedy
Artemisinin is the name of the secondary plant substance that occurs in the flowers and leaves of annual mugwort and has long been the focus of malaria research. Since the 1970s, various semi-synthetic drugs based on the model of artemisinin have been developed, which are mainly used in south-east Asia and Africa in the form of drugs to treat malaria.
The WHO recommends artemisinin combination preparations as the active ingredients of the first choice for the treatment of malaria. The problem, however, is that the malaria pathogen regularly develops resistance to antimalarial drugs. dr Bernhard Fleischer from the Bernhard Nocht Institute in Hamburg points out:
“It’s only a matter of time before these drugs stop working.”
However, researchers led by Stephen M. Rich from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst have discovered that the resistant pathogens form three times more slowly with a purely plant-based mugwort preparation than with the isolated active ingredient artemisinin. In addition, the mugwort plant may even be far more effective against malaria than all chemically produced drugs combined.
Mugwort: Plant more effective than antimalarial drugs
The study, published in the Public Library of Science journal PLOS ONE, found that dried and ground mugwort leaves killed significantly more malaria parasites than pure artemisinin—at the same potency.
The scientists attribute this to the fact that after taking the herbal remedy, around 40 times more artemisinin circulated in the blood of the test subjects than after administration of the pharmaceutical product. They also point out that, apart from the active ingredient artemisinin, the leaves of mugwort contain a number of other substances that also have an antimalarial effect.
However, the healing power of annual mugwort is apparently not limited to tropical diseases: several studies now indicate that annual mugwort is also effective against cancer.
Mugwort kills cancer cells
Scientists from the BioQuant Center at Heidelberg University and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have found that annual mugwort can drive tumor cells to death.
The research team led by Nathan Brady reported in the Journal of Biological Chemistry that artemisinin triggers a chemical reaction in the tumor cells. Free radicals are formed which destroy cancer.
“All cancers are responsive and sensitive!”,
so Brady. The positive is that artemisinin is toxic to cancer cells but does not harm healthy cells.
Annual mugwort – although it comes from the Far East – has long been available in our pharmacies as a dried herb. Mugwort seeds are also available in specialist shops, so you can grow annual mugworts in your own garden without any problems.
So whether annual or common, it is definitely worth paying close attention to mugwort. Because all the positive properties of the old medicinal plant have not yet been discovered. For example, it is currently suspected that mugwort – together with teasel (a type of thistle) – can also be extremely helpful in Lyme disease. It was not without reason that our ancestors revered the powerful mugwort as the “mother of all medicinal plants”.