Artemisia vulgaris is a versatile plant that is used medicinally to cure stomach, endocrine, and intestinal issues as well as increase energy and promote vivid dreams.

Scientific Name: Artemisia vulgaris 
Common Name: Mugwort; common wormwood
Plant Family: Asteraceae (Aster family)

Etymology: Mugwort’s name may have been derived from the old English word moughte, meaning “moth,” referring to the plant’s folk use to repel moths. Additionally, wort means plant or root, and mug means gnat, meaning the name could refer to the plant’s use to repel gnats and other bugs. The botanical name Artemisia is from the Greek goddess of the hunt, fertility, and forests.

Traditional Uses

Medicinal uses of Mugwort are plentiful. Roman soldiers were known to put Artemisia vulgaris leaves in their sandals to keep their feet from tiring. Additionally, mugwort was used to control and regulate fertility and menstruation. By applying mugwort topically or internally, the uterine system can be supported, this includes menstruation, giving birth, and resting threatened miscarriages. In Japanese and Korean medicine, Mugwort was used for cases of rheumatism or arthritic spots on the body. Mugwort is also antifungal, meaning it can be used to treat pinworms, athletes’ foot, ringworm, and tinea versicolor.

Additionally, Native Americans used mugwort as a spiritual and medicinal ally. It was believed that rubbing mugwort on the body would keep ghosts away and that keeping mugwort close while sleeping would keep ghosts away. Mugwort can also be used as an aid for lucid dreaming and dream exploration. 

Edible Parts

Mugwort leaves are slightly bitter and very aromatic, they can be eaten raw or cooked. The young shoots can be cooked, and leaves, flowers, and roots can be used in tea. Additionally, mugwort can be dried, rolled, and ingested through smoking.

Gathering and Using

The flowering tops of Mugwort should be collected once they bloom, and the leaves of mugwort plants should be collected before the plant flowers. The leaves can be dried and tied into bundles to be put in a dark and dry place. Mugwort roots can be dug in autumn when they should be washed and left to dry. Roots are finished drying once they are dry and brittle, snapping when bent. This can be achieved through finishing the drying process over a fire or stove.

Permaculture Functions and Considerations 

Edible roots, leaves, and stems, medicinal uses, wildlife food, biomass, organic matter, pollinator habitat, carbon sequestration. Interestingly, mugwort has various health benefits to goats and other livestock because of its deworming properties.  


You can expect to find Artemisia vulgaris growing in moist and well-drained soil such as in sandy lands, loamy, and clay soils. It prefers well-drained soil, and it is best to in semi-shade or no shade.

How to Identify

Mugwort can be identified through its dark green leaves. The leaves are deeply lobed and hairless on top with a white/silver underside covered in downy hairs. The stems are purple and red, and the wooly flowers are red or pale yellow.

Wildlife Support

Mugwort is known for its flowers and leaves attracting bees and butterflies as well as other wildlife.

Additional Information

Artemisia vulgaris is a hermaphrodite, meaning it has both male and female organs! Mugwort is pollinated by wind.



Planting Considerations

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-9
  • Native Range: Temperate regions of the northern hemisphere & Britain
  • Forest Garden Layer: herbaceous
  • Height: 4 ft
  • Spread: 6 ft or more
  • Growth rate: fast
  • Sun: semi-shade or no shade
  • Bloom: yellow from rarely summer-early fall
  • Attracts: birds, butterflies, honey bees, other wildlife
  • Tolerates: drought, shallow soil, frost, alkaline soil
  • Drawbacks: can spread very far and very fast — could become a weed or invasive, putting other native plants at risk. 
  • Soil moisture: moist and occasionally dry
  • Soil texture: can grow in sandy, loamy, and shallow rocky soils, prefers well-drained soil
  • Soil pH: neutral soil (6-8 pH)

Plant profile by Rachel Beall '25