Artemisia vulgaris


Artemisia vulgaris


No documentation

Vernacular Name

Felon Herb, Mugwort, Common Wormwood, Fuchiba, Yomogi


Artemisia vulgaris is a perennial plant that grows up to 2m and has a woody root system. The pinnate leaves are covered with small white hairs on the underside. It produces small yellow or red petalled flowers in late summer.

Origin / Habitat

A. vulgaris is found throughout most of the world, including North America, South America, Europe and Asia. It is known by its common name, Mugwort, and is a perennial plant that belongs to the Asteraceae family.(1) It has been used throughout history for a variety of medicinal purposes and is consumed as a vegetable and/or flood flavoring agent in certain parts of the world. The plant thrives in partial to full sunlight and drier soils.

Chemical Constituents

Acyclic (myrcene, linalool), Bicyclic (β-thujone), eucalyptol, sabinene, camphor, pinene), Monocyclic (phellandrene), Sesquiterpenes (β-caryophyllene, β-eudesmol), Flavonoids (luteolin, eriodictyol, apigenin), Coumarins (7-hydroxycoumarin). (3),(4),(5)

Plant Part Used

Dried leaves, roots and stems (6)

Traditional Use

A. vulgaris has been used by several tribes for various ailments. One is for the plant’s analgesic properties for women after childbirth as demonstrated by the Karok tribe. The Kiowa tribe also applied an infusion of A. vulgaris inside the nostrils to alleviate headache.(6)

One of the most popular uses throughout many tribes was using the plant as a gynecological aid. The plant was often utilized during excessive menstruation and after childbirth. A. vulgaris was applied to the newborn child’s navel as a heated poultice by the Pomo tribe.(6) Cramps, labor pain, amenorrhea and dsymenorrhoea were also treated with A. vulgaris. The herb was traditionally combined with Marigold, Black Haw and Cramp bark to treat female complaints.(7)

Other non-medicinal uses included cleaning solution and rugs and beddings.(8)


The dosages vary greatly by tribe and application. However the following may provide a general rule: 0.2–2.0g of aerial portions of the plants, dried, with equivalent used in varying preparations and use not to exceed 3 times per day.(2)



The antimicrobial activity of A. vulgaris has been assessed through disk diffusion method. Through initial identification of constituents of oil samples, followed by antimicrobial analysis of the oils of A. vulgaris and subsequent antimicrobial analysis of the primary constituents of the oils, a correlation was observed between the antimicrobial activity levels varying between oil obtained from root versus aerial sources and the absence of thujone constituents in the root oil. Furthermore, the root oil possessed a greatly reduced concentration of eucalyptol (1,8-cineole) when compared to the oil obtained from aerial portions of the A. vulgaris plant.(9) As the oil made from the aerial samples of A. vulgaris showed broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity comparable to established antibiotics as positive controls, the presence of the thujones and/or eucalyptol may be essential for manifestation of antimicrobial activity.(3),(10) Thereby, if used for antimicrobial purposes, it may be pertinent to procure oils made from the aerial portions of the A. vulgaris plant versus the root. Recent research employing Vero cell cultures and subsequent virus yield assay to determine the minimum concentration of essential oil that inhibited the virus titer by more than fifty-percent has indicated that the essential oil of A. vulgaris possesses antiviral properties and may inactivate the yellow fever virus.(11)

The extract of A. vulgaris has been evaluated for antinociceptive properties in vivo through employment of established methods such as hot plate and formalin tests, to assess analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of an agent following induction of acute or persistent pain. The administration of A. vulgaris extract did not alter results of the hot plate nor formalin test when compared to control animals. However, experiments in animal models show that administration of the extract reduces chemically induced abdominal contractions indicative of visceral pain (writhing) thereby supporting the ethnopharmacological use of Artemisia vulgaris in the treatment of gastrointestinal pain.(12) The observed reduction in pain may be attributable to a reduction in inflammation, as several flavonoid components of A. vulgaris (i.e. apigenin and luteolin) have been shown to inhibit nitric oxide production, an important mediator of inflammation.(13)

There have been some suggestions that A. vulgaris may be effective as an anticancer agent. However the research is limited in this area. Extracts of A. vulgaris have been examined using the Ames mutagenesis assay and were shown to have antimutagenicity against two mutagens, Trp-P-1 and Trp-P-2.(14)

One of the oldest medicinal uses of A. vulgaris known is its use in the treatment of female menstrual irregularities. As a result, the estrogenic activity of purified flavonoids from A. vulgaris has been examined through use of a steroid-responsive transcription system in S. cerevisiae.(15) Extracts (crude) of A. vulgaris were shown to possess weak estrogenic activity; activation of transcription by two of the purified flavonoid components of A. vulgaris (i.e. eriodictyol and apigenin) was consistent with that available in the literature for estradiol, indicating that these two flavonoids may modulate the emmenogogic properties associated with A. vulgaris use.(15)


No documentation

Interaction and Depletions

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation

Interaction with Drugs

No documentation

Precautions and Contraindications

Side effects

Neurotoxicity, such as hyperactivity, tremors, or epileptiform convulsions, following consumption of thujone-containing substances has been documented in humans but doses of thujone-containing products within these cases are not discernable.


No documentation

Age limitation

No documentation

Adverse reaction

No documentation

Read More

  1) Safety

  2) Western Herb


  1. United States Department of Agriculture: Natural Resources Conservation Service. The PLANTS Database. Available from: [Accessed on 7 April 2009].
  2. Bradley PR, ed. British Herbal Compendium: A handbook of scientific information on widely used plant drugs (v. 2). Bournemouth, UK: British Herbal Medical Association; 2006.
  3. Blagojević P. Chemical composition of the essential oils of serbian wild-growing Artemisia absinthium and Artemisia vulgaris. J Agric Food Chem. 28Jun2006;54(13):4780-4789.
  4. Barney JN. Isolation and characterization of allelopathic volatiles from Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris). J Chem Ecol. Feb2005;31(2):247-265.
  5. Lee SJ. Estrogenic flavonoids from Artemisia vulgaris L. J Agricul Food Chem. 1998;46:3325-3329.
  6. Moerman DA. Native American Ethnobotany. Portland, OR: Timber Press;1998.103.
  7. Hutchens AR. Indian Herbalogy of North America. Boston, MA : Shambhala;200-202.
  8. Moerman DA. Native American Ethnobotany. Portland, OR: Timber Press;1998.103.
  9. Lee SJ. Estrogenic flavonoids from Artemisia vulgaris L. J Agricul Food Chem. 1998;46:3325-3329.
  10. Chen CP. Screening of Taiwanese crude drugs for antibacterial activity against Streptococcus mutans. J Ethnopharmacol. Dec1989;27(3):285-295.
  11. Meneses R. Inhibitory effect of essential oils obtained from plants grown in Colombia on yellow fever virus replication in vitro. Ann Clin Microbiol Antimicrob. 6Mar2009;8:8.
  12. Pires JM. Antinociceptive peripheral effect of Achillea millefolium L. and Artemisia vulgaris L.: both plants known popularly by brand names of analgesic drugs. Phytother Res. Feb2009;23(2):212-219.
  13. Kim HK. Effects of naturally occurring flavonoids on nitric oxide production in the macrophage cell line RAW 264.7 and their structure-activity relationships. Biochem Pharmacol. 1Sep 1999;58(5):759-765.
  14. Hiramatsu N. Antimutagenicity of Japanese traditional herbs, gennoshoko, yomogi, senburi and iwa-tobacco. Biofactors. 2004;22(1-4):123-125.
  15. Lee SJ. Estrogenic flavonoids from Artemisia vulgaris L. J Agricul Food Chem. 1998;46:3325-3329.