Many people think of mugwort as an herb for sleep and dream support, however, there are many mugwort benefits beyond sleeping and dreaming that are worth exploring. A tall, gangly member of the aster family (Asteraceae), mugwort is the name given to several species in the Artemisia genus, including Artemisia vulgaris, common mugwort, and Artemisia argyi, Chinese mugwort (Herbal Academy, n.d.).
Mugwort (Artemisia spp.) is antifungal and antimicrobial and is often used in making tinctures, cordials, and other formulas (Szaro, 2020). It has a long tradition of being associated with ovo-uterine health for its application as an emmenagogue and was often included in midwives’ birthing kits to help expel the afterbirth (Grieve, 1931/1971; Wood, 2008).
Mugwort is mildly invirogatingto the nervous system, reducing tension related to fatigue and increasing circulation in the nerves and muscles (Wood, 2008). This works internally and topically too! In Medicine of the Earth, author Susanne Fischer-Rizzi (1996) says, “After a strenuous hike or a long day on one’s feet, a mugwort foot bath will relax and invigorate tired legs and feet” (Fischer-Rizzi).
Folklore tells that ancient Romans allowed mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) to grow on roadsides so that weary travelers could place it in their shoes to soothe tired feet (Nowakowski, 2016). The Mugwort Liniment recipe, below, embodies the connection between tired feet and the beneficial aspects of the mugwort plant.
Witch hazel (Hamamelis spp.) is a well-known over-the-counter astringent, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory, and the perfect medium for the mugwort leaves. This is an inexpensive herbal foot spray that you can store in the refrigerator.
Organic witch hazel (Hamamelis spp.) extract
Dried mugwort (Artemisia spp.) leaves
1-2 tablespoons dried lavender (Lavandula spp.) buds (optional, or substitute rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus) leaves and/or peppermint (Mentha × piperita) leaves)
- Take a clean, dry jar and fill it half full with dried mugwort.
- Add a tablespoon or two of lavender (Lavandula spp.) buds, rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) leaves, or peppermint (Mentha x piperita) leaves if desired.
- Fill the jar the rest of the way with witch hazel extract.
- Place a lid and a label on the jar, and allow it to extract for two to four weeks in a cool, dark location.
- When the liniment is ready, strain the herbs out of the liquid and transfer your liniment to a clean spritz bottle.
- Label the spritz bottle with the name of your formula, the date, and a reminder that it’s “For external use only!”This is very important if you used a commercial witch hazel extract, most of which contain isopropyl alcohol which is highly toxic to ingest.
- To use,spritz it as desired on tired feet and legs after a long hike or a day on your feet. Follow with a gentle self-massage for additional support.
See the articles below to learn more about mugwort benefits:
For another classic and time-tested liniment recipe, check out “How to Make Jethro Kloss’ Herbal Liniment.
Fischer-Rizzi, S. (1996). Medicine of the earth. Portland, OR: Rudra Press.
Grieve, M. (1971). A modern herbal. (Original work published 1931). New York, NY: Dover Publications.
Herbal Academy. (n.d.). Mugwort monograph. The Herbarium. Retrieved from https://herbarium.theherbalacademy.com/monographs/#/monograph/1026
Nowakowski, R. (2016). The healing power of moxa [Online article}. Retrieved from https://daoisttraditions.edu/healing-power-moxa/#:~:text=Mugwort%20gets%20its%20botanical%20name,area%20to%20treat%20menstrual%20pain.
Noveille, A. (2016). 3 balancing herbal recipes for bodies in pain [Blog article]. Retrieved from https://theherbalacademy.com/herbal-recipes-for-bodies-in-pain/
Szaro, M. (2020). How to use mugwort for dreams, sleep, and more [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://theherbalacademy.com/how-to-use-mugwort/
Wood, M. (2008). The earthwise herbal: A complete guide to old world medicinal plants. Berkeley, CA. North Atlantic Books.