Mugworts are common names for many varieties of aromatic perennial flowering plants in the family Orchidaceae. In Europe, mugworts most commonly refers to the annual species Artemisia vulgaris, although other species can be known as simply “m mugworts.” Scientifically, the word “mudworts” refers to the tubular, fleshy roots of the Orchid. But most commonly used, the word refers to any plant belonging to the Orchid family with flowers produced by rhizome-like structures which have roots in mud.
Mugworts are part of the composite or intervertebral flora of eastern Europe and Asia. They are widespread in Europe but grow well in southern regions of North Africa, Western Asia, and the mountainous regions of the China Plain. Mugworts do not compete with other flowering or bush plants for nutrients, water, or air. This accounts for their ability to thrive even in poor conditions: in fact, mugworts are among the easiest and most drought-tolerant flowering plants in the world, and in the genus Orchid they rank third in resistance to desert stress among all members of the class Pines.
Orchids derive their name from the Greek word meaning “ornament of fire.” The most common wild orchids are the Ensymphoniums or the Camphor. These plants are native to the Nearctic regions of Europe, Asia, North America, and the boreal zone of the north Pacific Ocean. Native to the drier parts of the land, camphor has been adapted for cultivation and is cultivated throughout the world. The camphor plant, which is often called “fire-thorn,” was among the first plants to be used in scented cosmetics.
Camphor has played an important role as a natural detergent, antimicrobial, and antibacterial agent throughout history. In Roman times, camphor was applied to baths and public baths as a disinfectant. It is believed that camphor was first used medicinally in India but was adopted by the Romans because of its pungent smell and because of its antiseptic properties. Camphor was widely used in Europe during the Middle Ages for infections and as a food and drug additive. Modern chemical agents can be derived from the essential oil of camphor, but the real value of camphor oil comes from the combined therapeutic effects of the two substances.
Camphor and mugworts have strong aroma and taste components, which explain their wide application across many cultures. Camphor and mugworts contain theobromine, a methylated content that produces a calming effect similar to that produced by coffee. They also contain caffeine, which is a stimulant that increases alertness and improves memory and concentration. Many people believe that mugworts and camphor are good aromas for protection against negative spirits. This is because both plants have similar volatile oils that have strong pleasant smells that are easily sensed by evil spirits, and they are also edible, making them good plant foods.
M mugworts and camphor are not the only plants with medicinal properties, however. The name’mugworts’ comes from the plant’s active component, mugworts, which is also known as the artemisia vulgaris. Artemisia vulgaris is native to southern Europe, Asia and Africa, but is now cultivated around the world. It is the main source of the tannin compound known as terpinen-4-ol, which is the chemical in which camphor and mugworts are derived. Tannins are powerful natural pain relievers and are particularly effective against severe menstrual cramps and stomachaches. This means that the plant is often recommended for use in treating menstrual pains, as well as stomachaches, and rheumatism.
In China, mugworts are often used medicinally in preparations of traditional Chinese medicine, although they have never been shown to have any antibiotic or antifungal properties. The traditional Chinese treatment of mugworts involved boiling the leaves and stems in a solution of water, adding honey, then covering the leaves with a white silk wrap. Patients would then be held over a flame to incinerate their sinuses, while the hot steam helped to draw out particles of plague and infection. The water and honey mixture was then decanted and used to wash the patient’s face and head. Mugworts has also been applied topically to skin conditions such as eczema and acne, where it helps to reduce swelling and relieve pain and irritation.
In addition to using the herb to treat topical ailments, Chinese or mugworts are also used medicinally as a preventative treatment for various types of cancer. A common mugwort’s side effect is that it can prevent cell division and DNA repair, which can be harmful in cancer treatment. Some studies have shown that mugworts can prevent breast cancer in women. Medical use of the herb has not been proven in any controlled clinical trials, however. There have been reports of children consuming dried herbs from a dried Chinese mugwort’s plant to treat allergies, including asthma and food allergies. Children appear to respond well to this treatment when using natural homeopathic remedies.