Western Mugwort
Artemisia ludoviciana

Other names: Prairie Sage, White Sage, Louisiana Sagewort, Cudweed, Silver Frost, Silver Queen.
Family: Asteraceae, Aster or Composite
Genus: Artemisia

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
Flowering time: 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 plant, see below.
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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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