White Sage
Artemisia ludoviciana Nutt.
Family: Asteraceae, Aster
Genus: Artemisia
Other names: Western mugwort, white sagebrush, estafiate, prairie sage, cudweed, silver frost, silver queen
Nomenclature: ludoviciana = playing tricks
Nativity / Invasiveness: Montana native plant
Medicinal plant
No edibility data

General: aromatic plant, 30-100 cm tall. Growth habit: ascending to erect perennial from creeping rhizomes, often in colonies. Stems: single, white-woolly-hairy, at least above.

Leaves: alternate, mostly 3-11 cm long, lance-shaped and toothless. Lower leaves sometimes deeply lobed, the lobes occasionally toothed or irregularly lobed, seldom more than 1 cm wide. All leaves more or less white-woolly-hairy beneath at least when young, often also above.

Flowerheads: yellowish, 3-5 mm wide, with disk florets only, numerous in tall, narrow, branched clusters, somewhat nodding. Involucres oblong, 2.5-4.5 mm high, white- woolly-hairy, with 5-12 female florets and 6-45 disk florets. June-October.

Fruits: achenes, hairless with no pappus.


Dry, open places in the plains to montane zones in all parts of MT. Also from BC to CA and Mexico and east to Ontario, IL and AR.
Medicinal Uses

Western mugwort has several medicinal uses. It excites gastric juices and bile secretion. Therefore, it is useful in dyspeptic ailments accompanied by a lack of appetite, and in gastric atony. Its antispasmodic action helps alleviate pain caused by hepatic colic in gallstone cases. It has been used since ancient times to regulate menstruation in women who experience a difficult and painful period. In Mexico, the Huicholes drink juice made from the leaves to treat abdominal pain. The indigenous people of Quebec used the plants native to the area, Artemisia canadensis and A. ludoviciana, to prepare a stomachic and vermifuge infusion, as well as poultices used for treating burns. In Europe Artemisia was used as a powerful amulet against evil spells. The flowers and the leaves were also used to make perfume against demons.
Precautions and contraindications: The plant extracts alleviates the pain of menstrual cramps by enhancing uterine hemorrhage. Therefore, pregnant women should not use it without medical guidance because it is a potential aborticide. Likewise, it is not recommended for newborns. A high dose may cause metabolic disorders and neurotoxicity.

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