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Mugwort: Health Benefits, Uses And Side Effects

Mugwort, also known as wormwood, is a root-based perennial plant that possesses high levels of antioxidants, which help reduce digestive and intestinal issues such as constipation, nausea, vomiting, and ulcers [1] . In some cases, mugwort is used in a process called moxibustion, which is done for reversing the breech position of foetuses before birth.

Mugwort is found in the form of essential oils, tea, seeds, dried herb, powder, and smudge sticks.

Health Benefits Of Mugwort

1. Fights cancer

The mugwort plant contains artemisinins which are considered to be toxic to certain cancer cells. Cancer cells contain higher level of iron than healthy cells do, which makes the cancerous cells more susceptible to the toxicity of artemisinin. According to a study, artemisinin reacts with iron to form free radicals that kill cancer cells [2] .

2. Treats joint pain

In traditional Asian medicine, mugwort is used in a process called moxibustion, which is used to treat joint pain, a common symptom of arthritis. Mugwort has certain active components that have pain-relieving effects in the case of arthritis.

3. Relieves menstrual pain

Mugwort has been used to relieve menstrual pain and also used to stimulate the menstrual cycle. A study has shown that moxibustion can treat primary dysmenorrhoea [3] . Another study shows that in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), moxibustion can treat menopausal hot flashes [4] .

4. Reverses breech birth position

Breech birth is when the baby's bottom and feet are positioned for delivery instead of the head, which usually occurs in normal delivery. According to a study published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, moxibustion can help a baby in the breech position by reversing the foetus in breech and increasing foetal movements to help the baby turn to a normal head-down position [5] .

Uses Of Mugwort

Mugwort is used in a process called moxibustion. This is done by turning the mugwort leaves into sticks about the size and shape of a cigar, and then burning it on or over an acupuncture point to release energy. In China, moxibustion has been practised for more than 3,000 years and it is believed that it can improve the autonomic nervous system, treat inflammation and cancer.

Mugwort can also bring on delayed menstruation. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid consuming mugwort because of this potential risk. In European and American herbal practices, mugwort is used to treat stomach problems like gas, abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhoea.

Mugwort also brings relief from nosebleeds, chills, fever, headaches, insomnia, and nerve problems.

Side Effects Of Mugwort

In some people, mugwort causes allergic reactions like sneezing, sinus, or rashes. People who are allergic to peaches [6] , apples, carrots, celery, sunflowers, and several other plants should avoid the intake of mugwort.

How Is Mugwort Used In Food

In Europe, mugwort was used to flavour beer and it's also used as a flavouring agent for fish and meat dishes.

How To Make Mugwort Tea

  • Take 1 teaspoon of dried mugwort leaves and add to a cup of boiling water.
  • Allow it to boil for 10 minutes.
  • Strain and drink it.
View Article References
  1. [1] Temraz, A., & El-Tantawy, W. H. (2008). Characterization of antioxidant activity of extract from Artemisia vulgaris.Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences,21(4).
  2. [2] Lai, H., Sasaki, T., Singh, N. P., & Messay, A. (2005). Effects of artemisinin-tagged holotransferrin on cancer cells.Life sciences,76(11), 1267-1279.
  3. [3] Yang, J., Yu, S., Lao, L., Yang, M., Chen, J., Luo, X., … Liang, F. (2015). Use of moxibustion to treat primary dysmenorrhea at two interventional times: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial.Trials,16, 35.
  4. [4] Park, J. E., Lee, M. S., Jung, S., Kim, A., Kang, K., Choi, J., ... & Choi, S. M. (2009). Moxibustion for treating menopausal hot flashes: a randomized clinical trial.Menopause,16(4), 660-665.
  5. [5] Coyle, M. E., Smith, C. A., & Peat, B. (2012). Cephalic version by moxibustion for breech presentation.Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (5).
  6. [6] Pastorello, E. A., Pravettoni, V., Farioli, L., Rivolta, F., Conti, A., Ispano, M., ... & Bianchi, M. (2002). Hypersensitivity to mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) in patients with peach allergy is due to a common lipid transfer protein allergen and is often without clinical expression.Journal of allergy and clinical immunology,110(2), 310-317.
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