Common Mugwort: Artemisia Vulgaris Information and Uses


Mugwort, also known as common mugwort, is a member of the daisy family and is often touted as the “dream herb” because it can cause vivid and lucid dreaming for some people when made into a tea or smoked.

However, the plant is considered to be poisonous and highly toxic with enough exposure. One should also use caution when handling the plant, as it may cause skin irritation, rash, or allergy problems for some people.

About Common Mugwort and Its Uses

Grown in a number of different places, mugwort is native to Europe, Asia, and Northern Africa, but is also common in North America regions as well. A herbaceous perennial, the plant attracts a number of bees, butterflies, and moths.

It is very important when you are identifying common mugwort that you do not confuse it with other plants, many of which are of a higher toxicity level.

Mugwort is closely related to and sometimes also called the common Wormwood plant. They are both of the same plant family and genus, but there are multiple species. See Bitter Herbs and Their Uses for more details on the differences.

common mugwort plant

There are a number of species of mugwort. Here are some of the other well-known types of mugwort:

  • Artemisia argyi – Chinese mugwort
  • Artemisia douglasiana – Douglas mugwort or California mugwort
  • Artemisia glacialis – alpine mugwort
  • Artemisia indica – Oriental mugwort
  • Artemisia japonica – Japanese mugwort
  • Artemisia norvegica – Norwegian mugwort
  • Artemisia princeps – Japanese mugwort (“yomogi”),
  • Korean mugwort
  • Artemisia stelleriana – hoary mugwort
  • Artemisia verlotiorum – Chinese mugwort
  • Artemisia vulgaris – common mugwort

Popular Uses for Mugwort

It is important to note when working with mugwort which species you are working with. Some of these uses have not been well studied, and others are merely listed for historical and informational uses. Always check with an experienced herbalist or doctor before using any species of mugwort.

mugwort plant uses

Mugwort has been historically used for stomach and digestive system issues, such as colic, cramps, irregular bowels, and parasites. Other historical medical uses include as a liver purifier and in the treatment of epilepsy and convulsions.

Mugwort has been used as a sedative, and in some cases for anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, irritability and hysteria.

Note: The constituents of mugwort are known to stimulate the uterus and so should not be used by women who are pregnant as it may cause miscarriage.

Spiritual uses include using it for meditation and to induce vivid and lucid dreaming states to promote better dream recall. Mugwort can be used as smudge stick or incense for many different spiritual practices.

Other examples include divination, journeying and spell work.

Another common use is to use mugwort as a dried herb in pillows and sachets to promote dreams, sleep, and relaxation in the environment.

One should not smoke or ingest mugwort unless under the supervision of an experienced herbalist and the user is aware of all potential adverse reactions.

Growing Notes About Mugwort

Mugwort grows very easily and in most climates. It can spread rapidly, and in some cases can be considered an invasive species. Some states may have it on a banned list because of its invasiveness.

It is important when cultivating mugwort that one harvests the leaves and buds before the plant flowers between mid-summer and late summer/early fall and then goes to seed. It is recommended to only grow mugwort in a contained area, such as a potted container.

The plant should only be grown if you know you will be able to maintain it and ensure it does not propagate too quickly. Mugwort can be very difficult to remove once established due to its strong root system.

Plant Warnings & Dangers

This plant is known to be toxic in certain concentrations. It should only be used for ingestion or inhalation under the supervision of an experienced herbalist or medical practitioner.

Pregnant women, nursing women, infants, children should not use this plant. If you have a known medical condition, you should not use this plant unless directed under the supervision of a physician.

Mugwort is a member of the daisy family of plants. Many people are allergic or have sensitivities to the daisy family of plants. This plant can cause topical sensitivities when a person comes into contact with the plant, such as itching, swelling, redness, hives, or other symptoms of allergic reaction.

As mentioned above, this plant is considered to be invasive. This means it can spread rapidly and be difficult to remove. Use caution when planting, and check with your local jurisdiction laws to know if this plant is considered to be a threat where you live.

Fun Facts About Mugwort

Mugwort was once known as “sailor’s tobacco”, due to sailors smoking it on ships when the supply would run out of tobacco.

This plant also has many historic instances of being used for esoteric spiritual practices. It has been used for many spiritual traditions throughout the world for thousands of years.

Do you have any questions about mugwort? Any experiences with using this plant you would like to share? Comments are welcome below!

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  1. I am interested in this plant so I can sleep more then 3 hours and stop taking my Ativan and Xanax.
    I have them potted and would like to know how to use it.

    1. Hi Yolanda, it is best to consult with a certified herbalist – mugwort can be dangerous when not prepared or used properly.

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