What is Mugwort Tea? A Comprehensive Guide to Its Benefits and Uses

Hi there, tea lovers!

I’m excited to share with you today about a fascinating tea you might have yet to hear of – Mugwort tea.

Mugwort tea is a hidden gem steeped in history and tradition, especially within Chinese culture.


From its health benefits to its unique flavor, there’s so much to explore with this special brew.

What is mugwort tea?

Mugwort tea, crafted from the leaves of the mugwort plant, is a calming infusion. Originating in Europe and Asia, mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) is a member of the daisy family, known for its silver-fuzzy leaves with a unique sage scent.

Mugwort tea
Mugwort tea

With its summer blooms of yellow or reddish-brown flowers, this unique plant can grow up to six feet tall and gives off an intense bitter taste when consumed.

what is Mugwort

Mugwort tea is a type of herbal infusion made from the leaves of various species within the Artemisia genus, most commonly Artemisia vulgaris, or common mugwort, and Artemisia argyi, often called Chinese mugwort.

What is the origin of Mugwort

Mugwort’s history dates to the Iron Age when it flavored beverages. Its name likely came from Old Norse “Muggi” for “Marsh” and German “Wuertz” (or “Wort” in English), symbolizing its insect-repelling roots, especially against moths.

So, where does mugwort grow? Mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris) is an invasive perennial forb found across North America, with the eastern United States and Canada being the most abundant. It grows in nurseries, turfgrass, vineyards, waste areas, woodland borders, and along roadsides.

Artemisia norvegica and Artemisia verlotiorum, found in Norway and China, respectively, are other mugwort species. They’ve been used globally for centuries in cooking, medicine, and spiritual practices, dating back to the Iron Age. Today, mugwort remains a vital component in traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Korean medicine, utilized for both culinary purposes and extracting oils and tinctures from its leaves.

Artemisia vulgaris

Where does mugwart tea grow? Artemisia vulgaris, also known as common mugwort, is native to temperate regions of Europe, Asia, North Africa, and Alaska. It has also naturalized in North America, where some regard it as an invasive weed. Mugwort thrives on nitrogenous soils, such as waste places, roadsides, and other weedy and uncultivated areas​.


How to use traditional mugwort

what is Mugwort tea

  • Culinary Uses: Mugwort is a flavoring ingredient in various Asian dishes. Its unique, aromatic, and slightly bitter taste pairs well with fatty fish, meat, and poultry.
  • Digestive Aid: It’s traditionally taken orally for digestive problems. Some people believe it helps with their digestion.
  • Menstrual Health: Mugwort has been used for addressing irregular menstruation. However, it’s not advised to use during pregnancy due to its potential to stimulate uterine contractions.
  • High Blood Pressure: Some traditional medicine systems promote mugwort for managing high blood pressure.
  • Sedative Properties: Mugwort is also used as a sedative, possibly helping to alleviate sleeplessness.
  • Laxative and Liver Tonic: In some instances, it’s used as a laxative and a liver tonic, although scientific evidence is limited.
  • Topical Application for Scars: Mugwort lotion applied to the skin is promoted for itching caused by hypertrophic scars.
  • Insect Repellent: Historically, mugwort has been used as an herb to repel insects, especially moths, from gardens.

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Benefits of mugwort tea

Possible Cancer-Fighting Benefits

Limited research indicates that certain types of mugwort, such as California mugwort (Artemisia douglasiana), may show promise in dealing with cancer cells.

Mugwort benefits

In 2013, a study discovered that this type of mugwort can effectively eliminate both healthy and cancerous human cells. To ensure safety, it’s advisable to have a traditional healer or herbalist oversee its use due to its potent nature.

Additionally, a 2018 review of multiple studies indicated that moxibustion, a technique involving mugwort, may help ease chemotherapy side effects and improve patients’ quality of life. However, further research is needed to validate these findings.

Given the current knowledge, individuals are advised to be cautious when consuming California mugwort extracts, whether in the form of a tincture or tea, due to the potency of its cell-killing properties.


Moxibustion: Aiding Breech Births and Reducing C-Section Deliveries

Mugwort’s application in moxibustion, a traditional Chinese practice involving the burning of the herb over specific body parts, is its most notable use.

Mugwort tea benefits

The primary goal of moxibustion is to correct or prevent breech births, potentially decreasing the necessity for cesarean deliveries.

Various studies, including a 2012 review and a 2019 report, suggest that moxibustion can be beneficial alone or in conjunction with acupuncture or postural techniques. Intriguingly, using moxibustion resulted in a decreased need for oxytocin, a hormone that aids in reducing stress, providing calm, and managing pain during labor. This reduction in the need for oxytocin signifies the potential mugwort benefits of using moxibustion.

Easing Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

Mugwort, in the form of moxibustion, has shown significant promise in managing osteoarthritis, particularly concerning knee pain.

A 2017 review found substantial evidence supporting the efficacy of moxibustion in reducing pain and managing symptoms in individuals suffering from knee osteoarthritis. These findings align with a 2016 review, further emphasizing moxibustion’s potential as an alternative treatment for knee osteoarthritis. The results suggest that applying mugwort in this traditional practice could bring tangible relief and improved mobility to those battling this debilitating condition.

Enhancing Digestive Health

Anecdotal evidence suggests that there are many mugwort tea benefits for digestive health. For instance, it has been associated with stimulating a low appetite, aiding in the relief of colic, and combating indigestion.

Additionally, it’s been linked to helping manage diarrhea and travel sickness and reducing stomach acidity. Although much support for these claims is rooted in personal experiences and traditional uses, digestive complaints about mugwort tea pregnancy can address its potential role in promoting digestive health and well-being.

Supporting Women’s Health: Easing Menstrual and Menopausal Discomfort

Mugwort has traditionally been used to soothe the uterus, with some claiming it can induce a late menstrual cycle and alleviate associated cramps. This belief highlights mugwort’s potential role in women’s health, particularly menstrual discomfort.

In addition, a study conducted in 2009 provided evidence that moxibustion may reduce both the frequency and severity of hot flashes associated with menopause. This study, which involved 51 perimenopausal and postmenopausal women, suggests a potential application of mugwort in managing menopausal symptoms.

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Mugwort’s Potential in Combating Infections

Recent research has revealed mugwort’s potent antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it a promising tool against various infections. For instance, one study found that mugwort essential oil effectively combats Candida, a common fungus causing various infections.

Moreover, research on mugwort’s aerial parts, like leaves and stems, shows it can inhibit several bacteria and fungi, including E. coli and Salmonella, underscoring its broad-spectrum antimicrobial potential.

However, it is crucial to note that mugwort’s chemical composition may vary based on its geographical location, leading to differences in the properties of essential oils derived from different regions. Thus, two bottles of mugwort essential oils from different areas may exhibit different properties, underscoring the importance of understanding the origin of your mugwort essential oil.

Alleviating Itchiness: Promising for Soothing Skin Discomfort

Research suggests that mugwort may possess properties that can alleviate itchiness, especially when applied to scars. This highlights mugwort’s potential in dermatological care and its potential benefits for skin health.

A specific study conducted on a small scale tested a lotion containing both mugwort and menthol on individuals with hypertrophic scars resulting from severe burns. The results showed that this combination reduced itchiness, providing a level of relief for the participants.

However, it’s important to note that most studies have only examined mugwort’s itch-relieving properties when combined with other ingredients, necessitating further research to isolate and understand mugwort’s contribution.

Potential to Reduce High Blood Pressure

Mugwort has potential benefits in managing hypertension, as it may aid in reducing elevated blood pressure and promoting blood flow. These antihypertensive mugwort tea effects have been observed in the context of a traditional therapeutic technique called moxibustion. 

In moxibustion, a bundle of herbs, including mugwort, is set alight directly or indirectly over specified points on the body, known as acupuncture points, following the principles of ancient Chinese medicine. Often, this method is utilized in conjunction with acupuncture, where fine needles are punctured into these points.

Nevertheless, understanding the influence of moxibustion on blood pressure still needs to be comprehensive. Small sample sizes have limited the investigations conducted thus far, and they have yet to examine the enduring effects of the therapy.

Side Effects of Mugwort Tea

While mugwort is generally deemed safe for most individuals, certain groups should avoid its use. These include pregnant women, as the herb can induce uterine contractions that may lead to miscarriage. Due to an absence of safety research, it’s also advised against use in children or during breastfeeding.

Side effects of Mugwort tea

Those with ragweed allergies should exercise caution when using mugwort due to a heightened likelihood of eliciting an allergic response.

Mild allergic reactions to mugwort might encompass symptoms such as:

  • Hives or rashes
  • Itchiness
  • Tingling sensation in the mouth
  • Swollen lips
  • Headaches
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea or vomiting

In more severe cases, allergic reactions to mugwort could present as:

  • Sudden, severe hives or rashes
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeats
  • Swelling of the face, throat, or neck
  • Lightheadedness or fainting

Severe symptoms suggest anaphylaxis, a medical emergency that can lead to shock or death if not treated promptly. Celery, birch, or carrot allergy sufferers should also watch out for mugwort, as it’s linked to the “celery-mugwort-spice syndrome,” which can sometimes trigger anaphylaxis.

Supporting this, a study from the Netherlands in 1984 found that 87% of individuals allergic to celery were also allergic to mugwort. Additionally, 52% of those allergic to carrots and 26% of those allergic to caraway also demonstrated mugwort allergies.

Different Forms of Mugwort: Tea, Smoke, and More

Mugwort in Tea Form

Mugwort tea is a popular way to consume the plant, with the dried leaves steeped in hot water. The resulting brew is believed to have various health benefits, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not fully endorse these. This form is easily prepared and consumed, offering a convenient way to incorporate mugwort into a daily routine​​.

Smoking Mugwort

Mugwort can also be used in a smoked form. Dried mugwort leaves can be rolled into cigarettes or burned as incense. When smoked, mugwort induces a calm and lucid dream state. However, similar to mugwort tea, the supposed benefits are not fully confirmed by regulatory bodies​3​.

Mugwort Essential Oil

Extracted from the mugwort plant, this essential oil is used in aromatherapy and massage. It contains components such as thujone and cineole. However, details about its benefits and uses are still being investigated.

Regrettably, I couldn’t locate extensive data on alternative mugwort forms like tinctures or extracts within the time constraint. Additional research time is required for a comprehensive and precise overview. I trust the provided information has been useful thus far, and I’m ready to delve deeper if required.


In our journey, we’ve discovered mugwort’s many uses, benefits, and potential side effects. I’ve found mugwort tea to be a soothing addition to my routine. I invite you to explore mugwort for yourself but always remember to consult with a healthcare professional first. Here’s to discoveries in the world of tea!

Thank you for reading Spiritea Drinks article.