Aromatic Note: Middle note
A perennial herb in a genus of some 300 species. The leaves of this species have long been treasured for medicinal purposes and repelling insects.
Ancient Romans filled their sandals with the leaves, which were noted to soothe sore feet.
Considered a magical plant in Asia and Europe, Mugwort was often worn as a midsummer’s belt and later burned to transfer that person’s suffering into the fire. It was one of the nine sacred herbs in Druid times that were used to drive out evil spirits.
Mugwort was also known as the “Mother of Herbs” and was associated with Anglo-Saxon witchcraft and fertility rites.
Mugwort is burned as incense during the summer solstice, as a symbol of letting go of the old.
It’s common name, wormwood, comes from the German Wermut, which means “preserver of the mind,” as the herb was thought to improve mental functions.
Ironically, in 1908, Swiss researchers found that wormwood oil contained high doses of the chemical thujone, and discovered that thujone is addictive and in excess can cause hallucinations and even damage the central nervous system. The oil has since been banned in many countries.
Threatened Species Alert: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species now includes the Artemisia vulgaris species.
Status: Least Concern
Synonyms: wormwood, felon herb, Chinese moxa, midge plant, Bollan bane
Origin: Northern Temperate regions
Parts Used: dried leaves
Aroma Description: dry, woody, green, herbaceous, leather-like
Cosmetic Uses: perfumery, aromatherapy
Culinary Uses: used in China and Japan to flavor and color rice cakes and dumplings. Also used for teas. In Europe, Mugwort is used to flavor eel, carp, geese, duck, pork and mutton.
Medicinal Attributes: tonic herb which acts as a digestive stimulant, diuretic, and nerve tonic. It’s used to treat depression, digestive worm or parasite infections, and menstrual complaints. Widely used in Ayurvedic medicine for the female reproductive system, nervous complaints, and as a wash for fungal infections.
*Warning: Avoid if Pregnant.
Essential Oil: Yes, sold as Wormwood oil, steam distilled. The oil is banned in many countries due to the addictive nature of the chemical thujone, which is present in the oil. Much of today’s oil is without thujone and experiencing a revival of this ancient herb.