Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

mugwort Artemisia vulgaris and a few close relations, large perennial herbs which grow wild in temperate zones of the northern hemisphere. Their use as a food flavouring is minimal in most regions, but of some importance in Japan.

The European mugwort, A. vulgaris, enjoyed a high medicinal reputation for curing certain complaints, as a spring tonic, and to prevent fatigue. Cole, in his Art of Simpling (1656) said: ‘If a footman take Mugwort and put it into his shoes in the morning he may goe forty miles before noon and not be weary.’ But it has also had culinary uses: the young shoots and faintly aromatic leaves, which are green above and white below, are used as a flavouring herb for goose and pork, and other fatty foods, in various European countries. In this respect, mugwort has been compared to tansy.