Description of the mugwort plant
The mugwort plant is usually grown in the garden rather than in pots, because it can reach, as in the case of Artemisia arborescens, up to 2 meters in height. It is easily recognizable by its intense smell, similar to cedar, by its woody shrub, and by the intense green coloring of the leaves. The latter are long and tapered, with a decidedly evident serration on the edges. The mugwort plant produces white flowers, which are collected in large branches as to form small clusters. Flowering usually occurs in the summer until the first days of autumn, and especially in mountain areas where the dry climate favors its growth. The fruits produced by these flowers are no larger than a millimeter, and are mostly used as seeds for later cultivation. The best known species are: Artemisia vulgaris, used for the preparation of natural drugs against stomach pain, and Artemisia absinthium, which was used in the production of absinthe.
Uses of the mugwort plant
Mugwort was widely used in the nineteenth century in the preparation of the liquor called absinthe, very popular in that period among artists and writers. In reality mugwort has no hallucinogenic power. It was the use of laudanum, added in the ingredients of the liqueur itself, that made it worth banning. In the kitchen, the mugwort plant is not widely used except as an aromatic plant in the preparation of game dishes. In fact, its bitter taste, and its intense perfume similar to vermouth, do not leave much space for its consumption. In the medical and cosmetic field instead mugwort is very useful. Its flowers are used as decoctions to lower fever or to calm intestinal spasms. In addition, the plant has the power to stimulate the appetite for which the decoctions are also used in inappetent patients. Mugwort essential oil, on the other hand, is purchased by those with acne problems, or to help heal superficial wounds. Herbal cosmetics also prepare mugwort-based creams to improve the appearance of the skin, making it smoother.