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Photograph of mugwort
Doug Goldman, USDA-NRCS Plants Database

Common Names: mugwort, common wormwood, wild wormwood, felon herb, chrysanthemum weed, St. John’s plant, sailor’s tobacco

Latin Names: Artemisia vulgaris


  • Mugwort is a perennial plant that is native to Europe and parts of Asia and Africa. It now grows in many parts of the world, including North America.
  • Historically, mugwort has been used in traditional systems of medicine in different parts of the world.
  • Today, mugwort taken orally (by mouth) is promoted for digestive problems, irregular menstruation, and high blood pressure. It is also promoted as a sedative, laxative, and liver tonic.
  • Mugwort lotion applied topically (to the skin) is promoted for itching caused by hypertrophic scars (visible, raised scars that can sometimes cause restricted movement of muscles, joints, and tendons).

How Much Do We Know?

  • Very little research has been done on mugwort in people.

What Have We Learned?

  • One preliminary study shows that a topical lotion containing mugwort and menthol relieves itching associated with hypertrophic scars from severe burns. Because it’s only one very small study, definite conclusions cannot be made.
  • There’s not enough evidence to say whether mugwort is beneficial for any other conditions.

What Do We Know About Safety?

  • Little is known about whether it’s safe to take mugwort orally or to use it topically.
  • Mugwort should not be used during pregnancy because it may start menstruation and cause the uterus to contract. Little is known about whether it’s safe to use mugwort while breastfeeding.

Keep in Mind

  • Take charge of your health—talk with your health care providers about any complementary health approaches you use. Together, you can make shared, well-informed decisions.

For More Information

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Key References

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NCCIH has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your health care provider(s). We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by NCCIH.

Last Updated: January 2021