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Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)

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Also listed as: Artemisia vulgaris
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • Ai ye, arbre aux cent gouts, armoise, armoise commune, artemisia, Artemisia vulgaris, Artemisiae vulgaris herba, Artemisia vulgaris L., Artemisia vulgaris pollen, Artemisia vulgaris R., Artemisiae vulgaris radix, Asteraceae (family), baru cina, bijvoet, borneol, Carline thistle, chernobyl, chornobyl, chrysanthemum weed, cineole, common mugwort, common wormwood, Douglas mugwort, felon herb, fuchiba, Gemeiner Beifuss, genje jawa, hierba de San Juan, hiyam, hydroxy-coumarins, Japanese wormwood, linalool, lipohilic flavonoids, moxa, moxa rolls, nagadamni, pinene, polyn' obyknovennaya, prunasin, sailor's tobacco, St. John's plant, suket ganjahan, sundamala, thujone, triterpenes, tzu ai, vulgarin, wild wormwood, wormseed, yomogi, yomogiko.
  • Note: Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) should not be confused with wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus), or St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum L.), despite similar names.

Background
  • Mugwort is a perennial herb native to Europe, Asia, and northern Africa. It pollinates mainly from July to September, although it may flower throughout the year, depending on the climate. The Chinese have used dried mugwort leaves (moxa) in moxibustion for centuries. Moxibustion is a method of heating specific acupuncture points on the body to treat physical conditions. Mugwort is carefully harvested, dried and aged, and then shaped into a cigar-like roll. This "moxa" is burned close to the skin to heat the specific pressure points.
  • Mugwort leaf and stem have been used medicinally as a digestive stimulant and to promote menstruation. The nervine action of mugwort is thought to aid in depression and ease tension. Traditionally, mugwort was believed to provide protection from fatigue, sunstroke, wild animals, and evil spirits.
  • No clinical studies have been performed on the use of mugwort as a medical treatment, although an extract from the related Artemisia annua suggests some promise in treating malaria. Dried mugwort (moxa) has been used in moxibustion to treat cancer, but there is no scientific evidence to support this use. Most research on mugwort has focused on its allergenic properties, as its pollen affects 10-14% of the patients suffering from pollinosis in Europe.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Abortifacient (inducing abortion), addiction (opium), anorexia, anthelminthic (expels worms), antidepressant, antifungal, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, anxiety, asthma, bowel cleansing, cancer, carminative (digestive aid), cathartic, cholagogue (stimulates bile flow), circulatory disorders, convulsions, diaphoretic (promotes sweating), digestion, emmenagogue (promotes menstruation), epilepsy, expectorant, fatigue, fever, food uses, gastric ulcers, gout, headaches, hysteria, infertility, insomnia, irritability, liver disorders, malaria, muscle spasm, nosebleeds, restlessness, rheumatic disorders, snakebites, stimulant, stress, sunstroke, tonic.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older):

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for mugwort. Traditionally, 2 cups of mugwort tea (1oz. of fresh mugwort leaf infused 5-10 minutes, covered, in one pint boiling water) daily for six days has been used.

Children (younger than 18 years):

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for mugwort, and use in children is not recommended.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to mugwort, any of its constituents, or to other members of the Compositae/Asteraceae family including ragweed, chrysanthemums, chamomile, marigolds, and daisies. Allergic responses have been associated with exposure to mugwort including bronchoconstriction/asthma, upper and lower respiratory tract sensitization, seasonal allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis, pollinosis, contact dermatitis, urticaria, and atopic eczema.
  • Cross-reactivity has been noted between birch, cabbage, grass, hazelnut, olive pollen, honey, mustard, royal jelly, sage, sweet bell pepper pollen, and sunflower. Cross-reactivity has also been demonstrated between mugwort and kiwi, peach, mango, apple, celery, and carrots. A florist with a pre-existing sunflower allergy developed a life-threatening glottal edema after occupational contact with mugwort.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • There is limited information regarding the adverse effects of mugwort. Mugwort has caused breathing difficulties and skin allergic responses, such as contact dermatitis, urticaria, conjunctivitis, atopic eczema, bronchoconstriction/asthma, upper and lower respiratory tract sensitization, seasonal allergic rhinitis, pollinosis, and anaphylaxis. According to traditional use and expert opinion, large doses of mugwort may cause abortion, nausea, vomiting, or damage to the nervous system.
  • Mugwort is on the German Commission E (Germany's regulatory agency for herbs) list of unapproved herbs. Avoid if allergic to birch, grass, hazelnut, olive pollen, honey, mustard, royal jelly, sage, sweet bell pepper pollen, tobacco, and sunflower because cross-reactivity has been noted. Avoid with food allergies to kiwi, peach, mango, apple, celery, and carrots due to cross-reactivity.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Mugwort is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence. Mugwort is on the German Commission E (Germany's regulatory agency for herbs) list of unapproved herbs. Traditionally, mugwort has been used to induce abortion (abortifacient).

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Mugwort contains coumarin derivatives, which may increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants ("blood thinners") such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, anti-platelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Mugwort contains coumarin derivatives, which may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or taking herbs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Bauer R, Himly M, Dedic A, et al. Optimization of codon usage is required for effective genetic immunization against Art v 1, the major allergen of mugwort pollen. Allergy 2003;58(10):1003-1010.
  2. Darsow U, Vieluf D, Ring J. Evaluating the relevance of aeroallergen sensitization in atopic eczema with the atopy patch test: a randomized, double-blind multicenter study. Atopy Patch Test Study Group. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1999;40(2 Pt 1):187-193.
  3. Figueroa J, Blanco C, Dumpierrez AG, et al. Mustard allergy confirmed by double-blind placebo-controlled food challenges: clinical features and cross-reactivity with mugwort pollen and plant-derived foods. Allergy 2005;60(1):48-55.
  4. Gilani AH, Yaeesh S, Jamal Q, et al. Hepatoprotective activity of aqueous-methanol extract of Artemisia vulgaris. Phytother Res 2005;19(2):170-172.
  5. Jimeno, L., Duffort, O., Serrano, C., et al. Monoclonal antibody-based ELISA to quantify the major allergen of Artemisia vulgaris pollen, Art v 1. Allergy 2004;59(9):995-1001.
  6. Kurzen M, Bayerl C, Goerdt S. [Occupational allergy to mugwort]. J Dtsch Dermatol.Ges. 2003;1(4):285-290.
  7. Osterballe M, Hansen TK, Mortz CG, et al. The clinical relevance of sensitization to pollen-related fruits and vegetables in unselected pollen-sensitized adults. Allergy 2005;60(2):218-225.
  8. Palacin A, Cumplido J, Figueroa J, et al. Cabbage lipid transfer protein Bra o 3 is a major allergen responsible for cross-reactivity between plant foods and pollens. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2006;117(6):1423-1429.
  9. Ramezani M, Fazli-Bazzaz BS, Saghafi-Khadem F, et al. Antimicrobial activity of four Artemisia species of Iran. Fitoterapia 2004;75(2):201-203.
  10. Rossi RE, Monasterolo G. A pilot study of feasibility of ultra-rush (20-25 minutes) sublingual-swallow immunotherapy in 679 patients (699 sessions) with allergic rhinitis and/or asthma. Int J Immunopathol.Pharmacol 2005;18(2):277-285.
  11. Sakagami H, Matsumoto H, Satoh K, et al. Cytotoxicity and radical modulating activity of Moxa smoke. In Vivo 2005;19(2):391-397.
  12. Schmid-Grendelmeier P, Holzmann D, Himly M, et al. Native Art v 1 and recombinant Art v 1 are able to induce humoral and T cell-mediated in vitro and in vivo responses in mugwort allergy. J.Allergy Clin.Immunol. 2003;111(6):1328-1336.
  13. Tuekpe MK, Todoriki H, Sasaki S, et al. Potassium excretion in healthy Japanese women was increased by a dietary intervention utilizing home-parcel delivery of Okinawan vegetables. Hypertens.Res 2006;29(6):389-396.
  14. Vermeulen AM, Groenewoud GC, de Jong NW, et al. Primary sensitization to sweet bell pepper pollen in greenhouse workers with occupational allergy. Clin Exp Allergy 2003;33(10):1439-1442.
  15. Wopfner N, Gadermaier G, Egger M, et al. The spectrum of allergens in ragweed and mugwort pollen. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2005;138(4):337-346.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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