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Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)

Mugwort ( Artemisia vulgaris )

Family : Daisy family (Asteraceae)
Subfamily : Asteroideae
Tribe : Anthemideae
Sub tribus : Artemisiinae
Genre : Artemisia
Type : mugwort
Scientific name
Artemisia vulgaris

The Common mugwort ( Artemisia vulgaris ), also spice mugwort or Common mugwort called, is a plant of the genus Artemisia in the family of the daisy family (Asteraceae, Compositae outdated). Mugwort pollen is a common cause of allergic reactions .


Illustration from Koehler's Medicinal Plants , Volume 3, 1898
Detail of mugwort leaves
Total inflorescence with several baskets, each containing numerous yellowish tubular flowers.

The perennial herbaceous plant reaches stature heights of 60 centimeters up to 2 meters. The mostly upright stems are at most sparsely hairy. The pinnate leaves are coarse, usually 2.5 to 5 (rarely up to 10) centimeters long and 2 to 3 centimeters wide. The upper side of the leaf is green, the underside tomentose.

In terminal, panicle inflorescences , many cup-shaped partial inflorescences stand together. The inconspicuous, whitish-gray, yellowish or red-brown flower heads are 2.5 to 3.8 millimeters in height and 2 to 3 millimeters in diameter. The flower heads contain only fertile , radially symmetrical tubular flowers , seven to ten female flowers on the outside and eight to 20 hermaphrodite inside (rarely five to). The egg-shaped bracts are hairy tomentose. The yellowish to reddish-brown tubular flowers are 1 to 3 millimeters long.

The smooth, dark brown to black, ellipsoidal achenes are 0.5 to 1 millimeter long and 0.1 to 0.3 millimeters wide.

The flowering period extends from July to September. The fruit ripening begins in September.

The number of chromosomes is 2n = 18, 36, 40 or 54.

Possible confusion

The leaves of the highly toxic blue monkshood show a certain similarity. In contrast to the mugwort leaves, however, they are not tomentose on the underside. The mugwort (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) is also similar to mugwort.


The mugwort is a persistent, short-lived hemicryptophyte , it has roots 60 to 155 mm deep.

The flowers are subject to wind pollination , pollen is released in the morning between 6 and 11 a.m. it blooms in the first year of life.

The fruits are only 1.5 millimeters long and 0.1 mg heavy, bald achenes without pappus , their bracts form a capsule that opens when it is dry and is scattered by the wind. In addition, there is a processing spread z. B. by small birds. The whole plant can produce up to 500,000 fruits per year. The seeds are long-lasting light germs .

The flowering mugwort is a major cause of hay fever .


Artemisia vulgaris is believed to be found wild in Europe, the temperate regions of Asia and North Africa. Artemisia vulgaris is a neophyte in North America and Greenland .

The mugwort is a typical " root crop - weed " and probably spread together with the Neolithic agriculture. It has been found in Central Europe since band ceramics . The original distribution of mugwort can no longer be determined today after it was spread by humans over almost all northern regions of the world.

Mugwort is common in all federal states of Austria and Germany. In the Allgäu Alps, it rises on the Haldenwanger Alpe near the Geißhorn in Bavaria to an altitude of 1650 meters.

Mugwort occurs wild on nutrient-rich soils, especially ruderal fields. Artemisia vulgaris is a characteristic species of the class Artemisietea.

The cultivation for the extraction of oil for the perfume industry takes place in North Africa ( Algeria , Morocco ) and southern Europe ( France , Balkans ).


Artemisia vulgaris was first published in 1753 by Carl von Linné in Species Plantarum . Synonyms for Artemisia vulgaris L. are Artemisia opulenta Pamp. , Artemisia samamisica Besser and Artemisia superba Pamp.


There is a European ( Artemisia vulgaris var. Vulgaris ) and an Asian variety ( Artemisia vulgaris var. Indica ), which differ in the composition of the essential oil. However, the composition also varies greatly locally.

The most important ingredients in mugwort herb are the sesquiterpene lactones , which are responsible for the bitter taste, and up to 0.2% complex essential oil . Mugwort contains the following classes / substances:


The harvest time ranges from July to October. As long as the flower heads are still closed, cut off the upper tips of the shoots. As soon as these open, the leaves become bitter and are no longer suitable for seasoning. The harvest time for the root is late autumn .

Mugwort is one of the traditional Grutbier herbs and is used as spice plant for fat, used heavy meat dishes. The bitter substances contained in it stimulate the formation of gastric juice and bile and thus support digestion. Perfume oil ("Essence d'Armoise") is obtained from the dried plants by steam distillation .

Mugwort is also used in phytotherapy . Some ingredients (for example thujone ) are toxic and make prolonged use or high doses questionable. Because of the toxicity of its essential oils , it is warned against the use of mugwort in aromatherapy . The drug is called Artemisiae herba or Herba Artemisiae , it is the dried stem tips with the flower heads collected during the flowering period. In traditional Chinese medicine , it is used in moxa therapy .


The German name Beifuß ( Old High German pīpōʒ, Middle High German bībuoʒ, bībōz) is derived from the Old High German verb bōʒen "stoop, hit". The connection is unclear; it may be that the leaves were pushed for use or because of the repulsive ( apotropaic ) effect they are said to have on so-called dark forces. Anvil is also related .

The folk etymological reinterpretation on foot (already visible in the Middle High German minor form bīvuoʒ) is related to a superstition that mugwort would give endurance and speed when running, as Pliny already reported.

Common names

Other common German-language names are broom herb, fly herb, goose weed, St. John's belt herb, maiden herb, midsummer herb, woman's herb, wild wormwood or wisch. In German-speaking countries, the following other common names are or were used for this plant species, sometimes only regionally: Beifess ( Transylvania ), Beipes ( Erzgebirge ), Beiposs ( Middle High German ), Beiras (Middle High German), Beivoss, Bei Weich (Middle High German), Bibes ( Old High German ), Biboess (Middle High German), Bibot ( Altmark , Old High German), Biboz, Bibs ( Inselsberg ), Bibus (Middle High German), Biefes ( Eifel , Altenahr ), Bifaut ( Pomerania ), Bifood ( Holstein ), Bifoss ( Middle Low German ), Bifot (Pomerania, Mecklenburg ), Bigfood (Holstein), Bivoet, Bivuz (Middle High German), Biwes ( Ruhla ), Bletechan (Middle High German), Buchen (Middle High German), Buck, Buckela ( Bern ), Bucken, Budschen, Bugel (Middle High German), Bugga (Middle High German), Bugge (Middle High German), Buggel (Middle High German), Buggila (Middle High German), Bybot (Middle Low German), Byfas (Middle Low German), Byfass (Middle Low German), Byfoss (Middle Low German), Byfu s, Byssmolte (Middle High German), Byvoet (Middle Low German), Bywt, Flegenkraut (Altmark), Gänsekraut ( Silesia ), Gurtelkraut (Middle High German), Hermalter (Middle High German), Himmelker (Middle High German, mentioned around 1519), Himmelskehr, St. Johannisgürtel ( Austria , Switzerland ), St. John's wort ( Vorarlberg ), maiden herb (Altmark), Men's War, Magert ( Bremen ), Melcherstengel ( Augsburg ), Müggerk ( East Friesland , Oldenburg), Muggart, Muggerk (Oldenburg), Muggert (East Friesland), Mugwurz, Muterkraut, Muzwut, Peifos, Peipoz, Pesenmalten (Middle High German), Pesmalten, Peypoz (Old High German), Pipoz (Old High German), Puckel (Middle High German), Puggel (Middle High German), Gross Reinfarn (Middle High German), Reynber (Middle High German), Rotbuggele (Switzerland) , Siosmelta (Old High German), Schossmalten ( Salzburg , Linz ), Sonnenwendel, Sonnenwendgürtel, Sunbentgürtel, Sunibentgürtel (Middle High German), Suniwendgürtel (Middle High German), Sunnenwendelgürtel, Weiberkrau t, Weibpass (Middle High German), Wermet (Bern), Wermut (Middle High German), Wipose (Middle High German), Wisch (Eifel) and Wil Wurmbiok ( Wangerooge ).


It remains unclear and controversial which plant species were referred to in the medicinal plant books of ancient and medieval authors with the names "Artemisia", "Biboz", "Peipoz", "Peyfues" and "Bucken". In addition to Artemisia vulgaris in antiquity, Artemisia campestris and Artemisia arborescens as well as Artemisia maritima come into question . This name was only reliably assigned to the plant species mugwort ( Artemisia vulgaris ) from the turn of the 15th to the 16th century through illustration and description .

Described as the “mother of all herbs” ( mater herbarum ) ( Macer floridus 11th century), mugwort was the main remedy for the treatment of gynecological diseases. Secondly, it should heal indigestion and urinary obstruction.

Mugwort in rite and mythology

According to Pliny , hikers who carry "Artemisia" with them should not get tired on the journey.

The first herb book in German, the Prüller herb book written in the first half of the 12th century , described the ritual use of mugwort herb in obstetrics:

“Biboz… iſt wib zediu gŏt. da ſi there enjoy. bint irz uf the book. ſi enjoy ſa zeſtunte. nim iz from scire. daz daz ineider it close. "(" ... Mugwort is good for the woman who is recovering from childbirth. Tie her mugwort on the stomach and she recovers quickly. Take it away again immediately so that there is no incident of internal organs. ")

In the German Macer (13th century) a distinction was made between a mugwort with a red stem and a mugwort with a white stem. The leaves of the red-stemmed mugwort, stripped down, should help with late menstruation, those of the white-stemmed, stripped upwards, if the menstruation is too long.

Mugwort should have a special relationship with the summer solstice . Hence its names "Sunbent belt", "Sant Johans herb" and "Himmelker". Girded with a wreath of mugwort was the bonfire danced around. This wreath was then thrown into the fire “together with all hostility”.

In earlier times the mugwort herb was used in Central Europe at the summer and winter solstice (especially during the twelve Rauhnächten ) together with other dried herbs to ward off evil spirits in houses and stables as a fumigant. The origin of this tradition is believed to be in ancient ritual acts of the Germanic peoples.

Mugwort is the first of the nine herbs in the Old English text Nine Herbs Charm , see there for details.

In the Middle Ages mugwort was considered a very effective remedy for and against witchcraft. In addition, it was part of many so-called magic recipes. At the ridge stapled with their tops down, mugwort defends allegedly flashes and keeps disease away. The same applies to the Thorellensteine or fool's coal , which is believed to be found on the roots of the plant on St. John's Day.

Mugwort roots for epilepsy

“Beyfůssz: or Buck. ... The magi dig this root vff S. Johanns abent / ſo the ſonn vndergadt / ſo find ſye darbey ſchwartze köenlin at the root hanging. Vnnd the alſo / I went ſelb / i eint a special secret what would be dealt with with it. ... "

- Otto Brunfels : Herbal Book . Strasbourg 1532, p. 237.

"This worthy kraut Beifůß / or Bucken / S. Johans kraut vnnd gurtel / iſt also come into the ſuperſtition vnnd magic / alſo that quite a few diß kraut / on a certain day and ſtand dig like verbs / ſůchen kolen vnd fools ſteeb "

- Hieronymus Bock : Herbal Book . Strasbourg 1539, part I, chapter 113.

"Artemisia ... The root is rarely used, some make a lot of white from the beefyx, which are nothing other than the old, dead black roots of them, they are supposed to be a reliable remedy against the falling disease , and are collected around St. John's Day in the summer. ... "

- Onomatologia medica completa or Medicinisches Lexikon… Gaum, Ulm u. a. 1755, column 140.

In the 19th century (1824 - approx. 1900) mugwort roots were used in German-speaking countries to treat epilepsy .

In the Federal Gazette No. 122 of July 6, 1988, Commission E of the former Federal Health Office published a (negative) monograph on mugwort herb and mugwort root. It does not recommend therapeutic use.

Historical illustrations

See also



  • Leila M. Shultz: Artemisia. In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee (Ed.): Flora of North America North of Mexico . Volume 19: Magnoliophyta: Asteridae, part 6: Asteraceae, part 1 (Mutisieae – Anthemideae). Oxford University Press, New York / Oxford a. a. 2006, ISBN 0-19-530563-9 , Artemisia vulgaris , p. 533 (English, online ). (Section description)
  • M. Qaiser: Flora of Pakistan 207: Asteraceae (1) - Anthemideae. University of Karachi et al. a., Karachi et al. a. 2002, p. 123, Artemisia vulgaris , online . (Section description)
  • Anne Iburg (ed.): Dumonts little spice dictionary. Edition Dörfler im Nebel Verlag, Egolsheim 2004, ISBN 3-89555-202-X .
  • Siegfried Bäumler: Medicinal plant practice today: portraits, recipes, application. Special edition of the 1st edition from 2007, Urban & Fischer, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-437-57271-5 .
  • Christoph Jänicke, Jörg Grünwald, Thomas Brendler: Handbook Phytotherapy: Indications - Applications - Effectiveness - Preparations. Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-8047-1950-3 .

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Ruprecht Düll , Herfried Kutzelnigg : Pocket dictionary of plants in Germany and neighboring countries. The most common Central European species in portrait . 7th, corrected and enlarged edition. Quelle & Meyer, Wiebelsheim 2011, ISBN 978-3-494-01424-1 , p.  117-118 .
  2. ↑ Mugwort pollen can lead to pollen allergy. Retrieved June 5, 2018 .
  3. Pollen allergy and hay fever. Hexal, accessed June 5, 2018 .
  4. ^ Artemisia vulgaris in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), USDA , ARS , National Genetic Resources Program. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Retrieved February 18, 2018.
  5. Leila M. Shultz: Artemisia Linnaeus. : Artemisia vulgaris , p. 533 - the same text online as the printed work , In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee (Ed.): Flora of North America North of Mexico. Volume 19: Magnoliophyta: Asteridae, part 6: Asteraceae, part 1 (Mutisieae – Anthemideae). Oxford University Press, New York and Oxford, 2006, ISBN 0-19-530563-9 .
  6. ^ Manfred A. Fischer, Karl Oswald, Wolfgang Adler: Excursion flora for Austria, Liechtenstein and South Tyrol . 3rd, improved edition. Province of Upper Austria, Biology Center of the Upper Austrian State Museums, Linz 2008, ISBN 978-3-85474-187-9 , p. 924 .
  7. Erhard Dörr, Wolfgang Lippert : Flora of the Allgäu and its surroundings. Volume 2, IHW, Eching 2004, ISBN 3-930167-61-1 , p. 610.
  8. ^ Erich Oberdorfer : Plant-sociological excursion flora for Germany and neighboring areas. 8th edition. Stuttgart, Verlag Eugen Ulmer, 2001. ISBN 3-8001-3131-5
  9. Carl von Linné: Species Plantarum . tape 2 . Lars Salvius, Stockholm 1753, p. 848 ( digitized versionhttp: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/ IA% 3D ~ MDZ% 3D% 0A ~ SZ% 3D ~ double-sided% 3D ~ LT% 3D ~ PUR% 3D ).
  10. ^ A b c d Colin W. Wright: Artemisia . CRC Press, 2003, ISBN 978-0-203-30306-1 , pp. 118 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  11. ^ JK Aronson: Meyler's Side Effects of Herbal Medicines . Elsevier, 2008, ISBN 978-0-444-53269-5 , pp. 65 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  12. Amritpal Singh: Herbal Drugs as Therapeutic Agents . CRC Press, 2014, ISBN 978-1-4665-9860-7 , pp. 147 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  13. a b Ursel Bühring: Practical textbook Medicinal Herbology Basics - Application - Therapy . Georg Thieme Verlag, 2014, ISBN 978-3-8304-7750-1 , p. 244 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  14. Eating and drinking: Mugwort: small product knowledge
  15. Synonyms for medicinal plants ( Memento from January 5, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  16. ^ Georg August Pritzel , Carl Jessen : The German folk names of plants. New contribution to the German linguistic treasure. Philipp Cohen, Hannover 1882, pp. 44-45 (online).
  17. ^ Friedrich Staub, Ludwig Tobler: Schweizerisches Idiotikon. Dictionary of the Swiss German language. Edited by Albert Bachmann, Otto Gröger a. a., Frauenfeld 1881 ff., Volume IV, p. 1091.
  18. Heinrich Marzell : Dictionary of German plant names. 5 volumes, Leipzig, from volume 3 Stuttgart / Wiesbaden, volume I, p. 436 f.
  19. Julius Berendes (ed.): Des Pedanius Dioskurides medicament theory in 5 books. (1st century) Enke, Stuttgart 1902, Book III, Cap. 117: Artemisia; Cap. 118: Fine-leaved Artemisia (digitized version )
  20. Pliny. Naturalis historia . Book XXV, § 73–74 (Chapter XXXVI) (digitized Latin) ( digitized edition Külb 1840–1864 German)
  21. Galenus . De simplicium medicamentorum temperamentis ac facultatibus , lib. VI, cap. I / 62 (2nd century) (Kühn edition 1826, Volume XI, p. 839): Artemisia (digitized version)
  22. ^ Pseudo-Apuleius . (4th century), (after Howald Sigerist 1927: Chapter 10: Artemisia monoclonos; Chapter 11: Artemisia tagantes; Chapter 12: Artemisia leptofillos). Print Rome 1481 (digitized version)
  23. Macer floridus . (11th century) Printed in Basel 1527, Chapter 1: Artemisia (digitized version)
  24. Approximately instans . De simplicibus medicinis. (12th century) Print Venice 1497, No XXIV: Artemisia (digitized)
  25. Hildegard von Bingen . Physica . (12th century), printed Strasbourg 1533, p. 37: Artemisia (digitized version)
  26. Innsbrucker (Prüller) herbal book . (12th century). State Library Munich Clm 536 sheet 86v Biboz (digitized version ) . Friedrich Wilhelm . Monuments of German prose. Munich 1914-16, Volume I (text), pp. 42-43 (digitized version) ; Volume II (commentary), p. 109 (digitized version) .
  27. ^ Franz Pfeiffer (ed.). Konrad von Megenberg . Book of nature . (14th century) Stuttgart 1861, p. 385: Peipoz. (Digitized version)
  28. ^ German Macer . (13th century) Heidelberg University Library Cpg 226, Alsace 1459–1469, sheet 179v-180r Artemisia byfuß (digital copy ) . Bernhard Schnell , William Crossgrove: The German ›Macer‹ (Vulgate version) ... M. Niemeyer, Tübingen 2003, Chapter 1.
  29. Herbarius Moguntinus . Mainz 1484. Chapter 12: Arthimesia Bifoiß (digitized version )
  30. Gart der Gesundheit . Mainz 1485. Edition Augsburg (Schönsberger) 1485: Chapter 1: Arthemisia Beifuß (digitized version )
  31. Galangal spice treatise (14th / 15th century) Heidelberg Cpg 620, collection of recipes - Northern Bavaria around 1450, sheet 85v: Arthemisia puggel (digital copy ) . For the complicated history and tradition of the galangal spice treatise, see: The German literature of the Middle Ages. Author Lexicon. Vol. III, Col. 476-479: G. Keil: Henrik Harpestraeng. and Vol. VI, Col. 988-990: WC Crossgrove: Niederdeutscher Gewürztraktat.
  32. Gabriel von Lebenstein . (14th / 15th century) Edition Eis / Vermeer 1965, pp. 62–63: Pejppos, Peyfues. --- Munich. Bavarian State Library, Clm 5905, Bl. 55r: Peyfucs water (digitized version )
  33. Michael Puff . Little book about the burnt-out waters (15th century) Printed by Augsburg (Johannes Blaubirer) 1481 Sheet 6v: Mugwort Sunbent belt or red swaddling (digitized)
  34. Hieronymus Brunschwig . Small distilling book . Strasbourg 1500, sheet 31v: Bucken (digitized version )
  35. ^ Heinrich Marzell : Our medicinal plants: Their history and their position in folklore. 2nd edition (under the title History and Folklore of German Medicinal Plants ), Stuttgart 1938, 283–288.
  36. Pliny. Naturalis historia . Book XXVI, § 150 (Chapter LXXXIX). Latin - lxxxviii online edition Chicago ; German Denso Edition II, p. 440
  37. A similar popular application of mugwort was described in the German Macer in the 13th century : “… Swelch wip works with a child, sudet si den bibos with wine or with bire unde uses that: si geniset at the stunt. Or you tie the boiled crůt to your right thigh [= to your right thigh], si geniset zuhant. Man sal is at hand when the kint is born but nemen. Sumet one icht, is is narrow. " ( Heidelberg University Library. Cpg226, Alsace 1459-1469, sheet 179v / E ) In 1485 the garden of health took over this version from the German Macer: " ... What woman with a child gait ader in work lyt a child's sudet sye den byfuss with wyn ader with beer vnd den also in it she recovers zů hant. or one binds ir daz god innnn krut to ir right hand diech you recover zů hant. One sal also zů hant wan daz kint born wirt daz krut abenemen. If you sum up the great damage. " (digitized)
  38. Lorenz Fries . Synonima… Strasbourg 1535, A 9 (digitized) .
  39. Mugwort (artemisia vulgaris). Retrieved March 16, 2016 .
  40. Cf. also Dieter Beckmann, Barbara Beckmann: Alraun, Mugwort and other witch herbs: everyday knowledge of past times. Frankfurt am Main / New York 1990.
  41. ^ Anne Iburg (ed.): Dumonts small spice dictionary. Pp. 51-52
  42. Otto Brunfels . Herb book Strasbourg 1532, page 237: Beyfuss or Buck (digitized version )
  43. Hieronymus Bock . Herbal Book , Strasbourg 1539, Part I, Chapter 113: Mugwort (digital copy)
  44. Onomatologia medica completa or Medicinisches Lexikon… Gaum, Ulm u. a. 1755, column 140 (digitized version)
  45. ^ Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland . The forces of Artemisia vulgaris against epilepsy. Journal of Practical Medicine. 1824 LVIII. Volume (IV. Piece, April 1824, pp. 78-88) (digitized version )
  46. ^ Johann Heinrich Dierbach . The latest discoveries in the Materia Medica. Groos, Heidelberg / Leipzig 1828, pp. 217–228 (digitized version )
  47. ^ Theodor Friedrich Ludwig Nees von Esenbeck and Karl Heinrich Ebermaier. Manual of Medicinisch-Pharmaceutischen Botany. Arnz & Comp., Düsseldorf 1831, Volume II, pp. 731-733 (digitized version ) .
  48. N. Anke. Dean of the Medical Faculty in Moscow. Rad. Artemisiae vulgaris. A pharmacological treatise . In: Medicinische Zeitung Russlands, 13th vol. (1856), pp. 17–20 (digitized version) ; Pp. 25–29 (digitized version)
  49. (Negative) monograph of Commission E (digitized version)

Web links

Commons : Mugwort ( Artemisia vulgaris )  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Mugwort  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations