Mugwort tea is used to treat stomach ailments such as indigestion, constipation, and bloating. It has long been used as a remedy to treat worms and intestinal parasites in people and animals as well. Herbalists and alternative healers also recommend using the tea to bring on a late or absent menstrual cycle. North American Native herbal traditions used mugwort tea to stimulate dream intensity as well. Other uses include treating gout, nervousness, colds, asthma, depression, and insomnia.
Compounds in mugwort leaves help relieve constipation, diarrhea, bloating, indigestion, and other ailments associated with the digestive tract. Mugwort tea is used to help improve digestion and the production of digestive juices that help return the digestive system to a normal balance. The anti-fungal and anti-bacterial elements of the tea help treat stomach problems brought on by harmful bacteria, a plight often suffered by travelers.
This type of tea also is a vermifuge and often considered a standard herbal treatment for intestinal worms. Intestinal worms can weaken the body by taking important nutrients from the system. In extreme cases, worms can cause severe illness and even death in people and animals. A strong tea made from the leaves and flowers of the mugwort can help slow and prevent infestations of intestinal worms.
Delayed menstruation or the absence of a menstrual cycle also is commonly treated with mugwort tea. Compounds in the tea help to balance hormonal levels and regulate an irregular menstrual cycle. Pregnant women should avoid mugwort tea, as the same compounds that stimulate a late period can also bring on a miscarriage. Chances of a miscarriage are highest if the tea is consumed in the first three months of pregnancy. During childbirth, however, mugwort tea can be beneficial by helping to stimulate contractions.
Mugwort is the common name for the plant species Artemisia vulgaris, which are perennial herbs or weeds that grow in temperate areas of the Northern hemisphere. The plants grow 5 feet (about 1.5 m) tall and flower in mid to late summer. Tea is made from the leaves, either fresh or dried, or from the flowers. Mugwort can be harvested at any time during spring and summer when the plant is actively growing. The leaves also can be harvested before the first frost and dried for use through the winter months.
Herbs, including mugwort, are not always safe just because they are natural. In large doses, the chemical compounds in mugwort can be toxic. Anyone seeking to use mugwort to treat a medical condition should consult a trained herbalist or a health care professional.