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Artemisia Vulgaris

Updated on April 12, 2011

Artemisia common (scientific name Artemisia vulgaris L., 1753) is a shrubby plant of the Asteraceae family, native to the temperate zones of Europe, Asia and North Africa but naturalized in North America.It is a herbal plant.



The etymology of the generic term (Artemisia) is safe and appears to derive from Artemisia, wife of Mausolus, King of Caria, but also, according to other etymologies, could come from the goddess of the hunt (Artemis), or from a Greek word " Artemesia "(= healthy), alluding to the medicinal properties of plants of the genus Artemisa.Il specific term (vulgaris) indicates that this is a common species.


The currently accepted scientific binomial (Artemisia vulgaris) has been proposed by Carl von Linné (1707 - 1778) Swedish biologist and writer, considered the father of modern scientific classification of living organisms in the publication "Species Plantarum" in 1753


 These are plants whose height can reach 50 to 20 dm. The organic form is emicriptofita scaposa (H SCAP), which are perennial plants with overwintering buds at ground level and covered with litter or snow, with a floral axis erect, often with few leaves. They are also latex-free (like the other Asteraceae), sesquiterpene lactones, however, contain essential oils and have an aromatic smell of vermouth




The roots are secondary to the rhizome.




Part underground: the underground part consists of a woody rhizome (rhizome taproot) big but short and with a slight aromatic smell, and the behavior of this rhizome is oblique.


Aboveground part: the aerial part of the stem is woody, erect, striated, and very ramosa glabra and grows up to 2 meters in height. The color is reddish.




The leaves are dark green and hairless above the surface while the lower surface is lighter, almost white-tomentose with simple hairs. It is very aromatic and gives off a characteristic odor, especially by rubbing the leaves. The lamina of lower leaves is well developed to form 1 to 2 pennatopartita divided into broad-toothed lacini (2 - 4 per side) located mainly in the apical (in the basal leaves is reduced to only the spine). Even segments of the first order of the upper leaves are toothed or more or less pennatosetti; higher segments are small and linear. Size of the lower leaves: width 80 to 10 cm, length from 9 to 12 cm.




The inflorescence is terminal and consists of small sub-sessile or stalked heads to oblong-ovate. The flower heads are collected in large clusters, forming a pyramidal panicle. The structure of the head is typical of Asteraceae: a housing holding the stalk from ovoid to campanulate composed of several scales available that serve as protection for the hawksbill glabrous receptacle which fits on two types of flowers: the outer ligulate (absent in this species), and the flowers central tubules. Average per head there are 70 to 10 female flowers outside and up to 80 flowers inner bisexual. The scales are gray-tomentose. Size of the head: width 1 to 1.5 mm, length 3 mm. Size of inflorescence: width from 5 to 15 cm, length 20 to 30 cm.




The flowers are actinomorphic, tetra-cyclic (that is formed by four whorls: glass - corolla - androecium - harem) and pentamers (calyx and corolla composed of 5 elements). Flower Size: 2 to 3 mm.


·         Formula flower: This plant is suitable for the following floral formula:


                 K 0 / 5, C (5), A (5), G (2), inferolateral, achene


·         Calyx: the sepals of the calyx is reduced to a crown of scales almost non-existent.


·         Corolla: The petals of the corolla is 5-shaped lacini; are welded to the bottom tube (corolla tubular type). The color of the corolla is greenish-brown. Size of corolla: 1.5 to 3 mm.


·         Androecium: stamens with free filaments 5 are welded but anthers that form a sort of sleeve enveloping the stylus.


·         Gynoecium: the two carpels, forming a unilocular inferior ovary bicarpellare. The ovary bears a single egg anatropo. The stylus is unique, hairless and ends in a profound stigma bifid.


·         Flowering: blooms in the summer months from July to October.




The fruit is an achene with pappus lacking. The shape is ellipsoid, compressed at the sides. Fruit size: 0.5 to 1 mm.






Contains various essential oils and various terpenoids such as' eucalyptus, and the thujone cineol, also contains flavonoids and coumarin derivatives


Artemisia vulgaris is a medicinal plant used in folk medicine and Chinese and Japanese for the preparation of moxa (from Japanese = moe kusa grass burning), a drug produced by chopping up the plant in a mortar to obtain a paste which is prepared with woolly balls and cones which, when placed on specific points of the skin (which correspond to acupuncture points), are made to burn.


Other medicinal properties of these plants (also according to the folk medicine) are


·         antiseptic (property to prevent or slow the growth of microbes);


·         antispasmodic (relieves muscle spasms, and relaxes the nervous system);


·         carminative (promotes the release of intestinal gas);


·         diaphoretic (perspiration helps the skin);


·         emmenagogue (menstrual flow rule);


·         expectorant (promotes the expulsion of bronchial secretions);


·         eupeptic (aids digestion);


·         bitter tonic (digestive);


·         antidiabetic (roots).


·         This plant is sometimes used as a vermifuge, and therefore is sometimes confused with Artemisia absinthium.




The leaves raw or cooked, added to the diet, thanks to their bitter aroma, aid digestion, which is why in many areas are prepared primarily as a condiment in fatty foods. The leaves are also used as a tea or to flavor beer




A variant vegetable (commonly known by gardeners as "Artemisia lactiflora") is very popular in gardening as it shows a rich foliage and a spike of small but very fragrant white flower heads


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    • susannah42 profile image

      susannah42 6 years ago from Florida

      Another good hub.

    • daffodil2010 profile image

      daffodil2010 6 years ago

      thank you. i agree with you

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

      Interesting hub....I always wonder how people figure out the medicinal purposes for sounds like Artemisia Vulgaris has lots of uses....voted up