Mugwort – Artemisia vulgaris Family: Asteraceae Part used: leaves, flowering tops Artemisia vulgaris L. is a vigorous, hardy, woody perennial found throughout Europe, although it is less common in the north. It is a commonplace weed in disturbed ground and waste places, where it forms dense stands. It is an aggressive weed in Canada, where it has spread rapidly as it propagates easily from small fragments of rhizome. The Flora of Turkey (Davis 1975) gives 22 Artemisia species, including Artemisia absinthium, Artemisia vulgaris, Artemisia santonicum and Artemisia abrotanum. Erect, branched, ribbed reddish stems (50-180 cm high) bear alternate, stalked, pinnately lobed leaves, which are smooth and green on the upper side and white and downy beneath. Upper leaves are unstalked, entire and lanceolate. Dense, tapering panicles of inconspicuous, oval, rayless, reddish flowerheads (2-3 mm across) occur in July to September. Both leaves and flowerheads are very variable. Other species used Tarragon Artemisia dracunculus, southernwood Artemisia abrotanum. A study in Italy of 14 wild Artemisia species found similar volatile oils in all but wide variation in concentration. Artemisia abrotanum was the only species Read more […]
Archive for category Mugwort'
So what do our classical writers say about the uses of artemisia in gynaecology and do those attributed to mugwort differ? Dioscorides recommends a decoction of the herb in a bath to draw down the menstrual blood and to bring out the foetus and the afterbirth. This is achieved by a warming and thinning effect, which could also procure an abortion. A pessary made from the juice of artemisia mixed with myrrh Commiphora molmol, or three drachms (12 g, increasing to 15 g in Ibn Sina’s entry) of the leaves given in drink will similarly draw out the menstrual blood or contents of the womb. The herb liberally plastered onto the lower abdomen will bring on a period and the decoction added to the bath water will treat uterine closure and inflammation. Pliny mentions only the pessary as cleansing for the uterus, with oil of iris or figs as a substitute for myrrh. Galen records that both artemisias have a heating effect in the second degree or above and are moderately drying in the first or second degree. They are of thin parts and can be used for fomentations of the uterus. Apuleius mentions no gynaecological uses and may be writing of Mattioli’s Artemisia tenuifolia instead. Having cited the classical texts, Bauhin moves Read more […]
There are writers other than Grieve who consider mugwort a nervine. Ibn Sina records the benefit of artemisia in headache due to a cold cause and in nasal catarrh while the Salernitan herbal, reflecting Arabic influences, recommends a hot opiate taken with a decoction of artemisia for migraine. Bauhin cites the empiric Wirtemberg, who guarantees relieving within an hour a headache due to cold by washing the head with a decoction of mugwort in wine, then laying on the hot leaves. This is a version of a cure for migraine from Arnold de Villanova, Bauhin points out, mentioning also that mugwort in wine or lavender water can be used in cases of paralysis. Other uses in Bauhin’s day include inducing sleep, treating scabs on the head, clearing jaundice and preventing dropsy, and reversing prolapse of the anus. In this last case, the anus is first fumigated with myrrh Commiphora molmol and colophonia before a hot poultice of mugwort cooked in red wine is applied. Quincy classifies uterine medicines under nervous simples, where these ‘hysterics’ must be differentiated from carminatives and from cephalics and cordials, now under one heading for ‘what is cordial must be cephalic as the head hath a principal share in agreeable Read more […]