Mugwort has a long history of use in herbal medicine especially in matters connected to the digestive system, menstrual complaints and the treatment of worms.
The fresh or the dried plant repels insects, it can be used as a spray but caution is advised since it can also inhibit plant growth. A weak tea made from the infused plant is a good all-purpose insecticide.
An essential oil from the plant kills insect larvae. The down on the leaves makes a good tinder for starting fires.
Easily grown in a well-drained circumneutral or slightly alkaline loamy soil, preferring a sunny position and a moist soil. Plants are longer lived, more hardy and more aromatic when they are grown in a poor dry soil.
Established plants are drought tolerant. Mugwort is an aggressive and invasive plant, it inhibits the growth of nearby plants by means of root secretions.
Surface sow from late winter to early summer in a greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. When large enough to handle, prick out the seedlings into individual pots. If growth is sufficient, they can be planted out into their permanent positions in the summer, otherwise grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter and then plant them out in the spring.
Leaves - raw or cooked. Aromatic and somewhat bitter. Their addition to the diet aids the digestion and so they are often used in small quantities as a flavouring, especially with fatty foods. They are also used to give colour and flavour to glutinous-rice dumplings (Mochi). The young shoots are used in spring.
In Japan the young leaves are used as a potherb.
The dried leaves and flowering tops are steeped into tea. They have also been used as a flavouring in beer, though fell into virtual disuse once hops came into favour.