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Artemisia vulgaris


Artemisia vulgaris L.

Family Name: Asteraceae (Compositae)
Synonyms: Artemisia vulgaris var. coarctata
Common Name: Common Mugwort, Common Wormwood, Moxa, Green-ginger, Sailor's Tobacco, 艾叶, 艾草, 五月艾


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Shrubby
Maximum Height 1.5 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 0.6 m


Native Distribution Northern Africa, Europe, Western Asia, China
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Grassland / Savannah/ Scrubland, Disturbed Area / Open Ground)
Preferred Climate Zone Temperate

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Perennial up to 1.5 m tall which becomes woody at maturity.
Foliage Deeply lobed, simple leaves (5-10 cm long, 2.5-7.6 cm wide) resemble a pinnately compound leaf with oblong, irregularly lobed 'leaflets'. The upper leaf surface is green and hairless to sparsely hairy, while the lower surface is white to grey and softly hairy. Upper leaves tend to be more deeply lobed than lower ones. Leaves have a distinct aroma.
Stems Stems are usually reddish brown.
Flowers Compound flowers known as heads are composed of tiny, reddish brown florets. The heads are arranged in a narrow panicle that looks like a spike inflorescence.
Fruit Dry, indehiscent, 1-seeded fruits are known as achenes.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Leaves
Food (Herb or Spice): Leaves aromatic and bitter-tasting, eaten raw or cooked, used as flavouring herb for fatty fishes, stuffing for meat, and as greenish colouring agent for rice dumpings in Japan and Korea.

Scientific Evidence of Medicinal Properties

In pre-clinical trials, Common Mugwort showed pain-relieving (Thangjam et al., 2020), anti-cancer (Ali et al., 2020), anti-inflammation (Afsar et al., 2013), antioxidant (Walid 2015) and cholesterol-lowering properties (Kayamkani 2015) and anti-malarial properties (Kodippili et al., 2011) in animals.

Traditional Medicinal Uses

Research supports the traditional use of Common Mugwort to improve blood circulation. Other traditional uses include using it to remove intestinal worms.

It is important to note that some therapeutic effects from traditional medicinal uses of plants are not currently supported or verified by scientific research. 




Cultural / Religious: In the Middle Ages, some people believed the herb would protect travelers from fatigue and evil spirits. There are references in some of Shakespeare's plays that the herb was used to wean infants off breast-feeding.
Others: Whole plant (fresh or dried) repels insects. An infusion of the plant can be used as a general-purpose insecticidal spray which is especially effective against insect larvae. 

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Fragrant (Foliage, Stems)
Landscape Uses Container Planting, General, Flowerbed / Border
Thematic Landscaping Economic Garden, Naturalistic Garden
SGMP Treatment
Usage Hazard - Cons Irritant - Sap, Irritant - Nasal Allergy
Usage Hazard - Cons Remarks The consumption of large doses of this plant could be harmful. Depending on the country of origin, essential oil prepared from the plant may contain differing amounts of thujone (Misra and Singh 1986), a compound which may be toxic over prolonged use. It also contains compounds that may induce abortion and may be hazardous to pregnant women. Always consult your doctor before consuming a plant for medicinal purposes. 
Plant & Rootzone Preference or Tolerance Remarks Tolerates soil pH 4.8 - 8.4.

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Butterfly Host Plant, Butterfly-Attracting, Bee-Attracting
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Butterfly, Moth))
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic (Explosive Dehiscence)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water, Little Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Easy to Grow, Disease / Pest Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Well-Drained Soils, Poor Infertile Soils, Alkaline high pH Soils
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting
Planting Distance 0 to 0


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green, Silver / Grey
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Thin
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Pinnately Lobed / Pinnatifid
Foliar Apex - Tip Acuminate
Typical Foliar Area Microphyll ( 2.25cm2 - 20.25 cm2 )
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Herbaceous
Root Type Underground (Fibrous Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Brown, Cream / Off-White, Red, White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Inflorescence Type Head / Capitulum
Flowering Opening Time Time-Independent
Flowering Habit Polycarpic
Inflorescence Size Remarks White flowers mature to reddish-brown.

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Indehiscent Dry Fruit , Achene
Seed Quantity Per Fruit Few (1-5)



Afsar, S.K., Kumar, K.R., Gopal, J.V. & Raveesha, P. (2013). Assessment of anti-inflammatory activity of Artemsia vulgaris leaves by cotton pellet granuloma method in Wistar albino rats. Journal of Pharmacy Research 7: 463–467.

Ali, S., Ejaz, M., Dar, K.K., Nasreen, S., Ashraf, N., Gillani, S.F., Shafi, N., Safeer, S., Khan, M.A., Andleeb, S., Akhtar, N. & Mughal, T.A. (2020). Evaluation of chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic effect of Artemisia vulgaris extract against diethylnitrosamine induced hepatocellular carcinogenesis in Balb C mice. Brazilian Journal of Biology 80(3): 489–496.

El-Tantawy, W.H. (2015). Biochemical effects, hypolipidemic and anti-inflammatory activities of Artemsia vulgaris extract in hypercholesterolemic rats. Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition 57(1): 33–38.

Kayamkani, A.K. (2020). A preclinical antihyperlipidemic evaluation of Artemsia vulgaris root in diet induced hyperlipidemic animal model. International Journal of Pharmacological Research 5(4): 110–114.

Thangjam, N.M., Taijong, J. & Kumar, A. (2020). Phytochemical and pharmacological activities of methanol extract of Artemsia vulgaris L. leaves. Clinical Phytoscience 6: 72.


Image Repository



Master ID 393
Species ID 1689
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 18 October 2022.