Artemisia vulgaris

The mugwort ( Artemisia vulgaris ) is a species of plant family of Asteraceae genus Artemisia . Occasionally called artemega , girdle , yuyo chrysanthemum , grass of San Juan and madra .


It is a herbaceous perennifolia plant of 1 to 2 m (rarely 2.5 m), with woody roots. The leaves are 5 to 20 cm in length, very dark green, pinnate , with dense white hairs tomentosos on the underside. The erect stem has a purplish red tint. Small flowers (5 mm long) are radially symmetrical with many yellow or dark red petals . It has numerous narrow chapters (floral heads) open in bunches of racemes . It blooms from July to September in the Northern Hemisphere .

Distribution and habitat

It is native to temperate areas of Europe , Asia , North Africa , it is in North America where it is a weed . It grows very well on nitrogenous soils, especially sootted and uncultivated soils.


Illustration of s. XIX.

The sagebrush has tujona , which is toxic. Pregnant women, in particular, should avoid consuming sagebrush. It is currently used little for its toxicity, but is remembered for its culinary use, herbal medicine , and herb for smoking.


Leaves and buds, well chopped before July bloom, were used for a bitter flavoring agent for fatty meat and fish. In Germany , it was used for turkeys, especially for fattened for Christmas .

It was used in Korea and Japan for festive rice cakes, giving them a greenish color.

In the Middle Ages the sagebrush was part of the herbal gruit mixture , to flavor the beer before the introduction of hops .

Medicinal Properties

Artemisia vulgaris .

The medicinal properties of the sagebrush were discovered by the populations of the temperate zones, where it grows spontaneously. In the Greek text of Dioscorides , sagebrush is cited as a remedy against internal worms . Indians from New Mexico to Colombia use similar species to cure bronchitis and colds . Still the Chinese today introduce a wrapped sagebrush leaf in their noses to stop epistaxis or nose bleeding.

In the old Germanic folklore muggiwurti means “plant of the flies”, referring to its use since ancient times to repel insects. 1

The plant has volatile oils: ( cineola or sage oil, tujona ), flavonoids , triterpenes , coumarin derivatives . It is used as anthelmintic , although it is stronger Artemisia absinthium .

In traditional Chinese medicine pulverized, roasted, and recomposed in a form called moxa , used as well in the technique called moxibustion .

Folklore and witchcraft

In the Middle Ages, sagebrush was used as a magical protective herb. Also to repel insects, especially butterflies, from gardens. And in more remote times as a remedy against fatigue and protect travelers against evil spirits and wild animals. Roman soldiers put it inside their sandals to protect their feet from fatigue.

Much use in witchcraft, it was because it was said to induce lucid dreams and astral travel . Smoking, or consuming the plant, or with a tincture , before sleeping, would increase the intensity of sleep, the level of control, and help to remember them upon awakening. Safer, a sprig of dry sagebrush beneath the pillow fulfilled the same effect.

Incompatibilities with medicines

There are medicines with which this plant interacts in a negative way. As in the case of Almogran for the treatment of migraine , and some drugs for the treatment of AIDS.


The sagebrush has an aromatic smell. The poor people used it, sometimes mixed with other herbs, as a substitute for tobacco . He has smoked it mixed or replacing marijuana , because it generates evocative dreams in a state of consciousness. 2

[Edit] Taxonomy

Artemisia vulgaris was described by Carlos Linnaeus and published in Species Plantarum 2: 848. 1753. 3


There are two theories on the etymology of artemisia : according to the first, is named after Artemis , twin sister of Apollo and Greek goddess of hunting and the healing virtues, especially of pregnancy and childbirth . According to the second theory, the genre was granted in honor of Artemisia II , sister and wife of Mausolo , king of Caria , 353-352 a. C., that reigned after the death of the sovereign. In its homage the Mausoleum of Halicarnaso , one of the seven wonders of the world was erected . She was an expert in botany and medicine .

Vulgaris : Latin epithet that means “vulgar, common”. 4

  • Absinthium spicatum (Wulfen ex Jacq.) Baumg.
  • Artemisia affinis Hassk.
  • Artemisia coarctata Forselles
  • Artemisia javanica Pamp.
  • Artemisia officinalis Gaterau
  • Artemisia opulenta Pamp.
  • Artemisia vulgaris subsp. Coarctata (Fors ex Besser) Ameljcz.
  • Artemisia vulgaris var. Coarctica Besser 5

Common name

  • English: absinthium, altamisa, anastasia, artamisa, artamisia, artemega, artemisia, common artemisia, artemis vulgaris, artemisia, girdle, brown brush, saints flower, walker grass, San Juan grass, madra, mother yerba, madrona, manzanillón , Santolina, tomaaja, tomaajas, St. John’s wort. 6

See also

  • Descriptive terminology of plants
  • Annex: Chronology of botany
  • History of Botany
  • Characteristics of apocinaceae


  1. Back to top↑ Lust, J. (2005) “The Herb Book” p.604
  2. Back to top↑ Patent for alternative cigarette
  3. Back to top↑ « Artemisia vulgaris » . Missouri Botanical Garden . Accessed November 21, 2012 .
  4. Back to top↑ In Botanic Epithets
  5. Back to top↑ Artemisia vulgaris in PlantList
  6. Back to top↑ « Artemisia vulgaris » . Royal Botanical Garden : Anthos Project . Accessed November 27, 2009 .