Artemisia argyi

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Artemisia argyi
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Artemisia
A. argyi
Binomial name
Artemisia argyi
  • Artemisia chiarugii Pamp.
  • Artemisia handel-mazzettii Pamp.
  • Artemisia nutans Nakai
  • Artemisia nutantiflora Nakai ex Pamp.

Artemisia argyi, commonly known as silvery wormwood[1] or Chinese mugwort, is a herbaceous perennial plant with a creeping rhizome. It is native to China, Korea, Mongolia, Japan, and the Russian Far East (Amur Oblast, Primorye).[2][3] It is known in Chinese as àicǎo (艾草) or ài yè (艾叶) and in Japanese as gaiyou. It is used in herbal medicine for conditions of the liver, spleen and kidney.[4] It is a common flavoring and colorant in the Chinese dish qīng tuán (青团).


Artemisia argyi is an upright, greyish, herbaceous perennial about one metre tall, with short branches and a creeping rhizome. The stalked leaves are ovate, deeply divided and covered in small, oil-producing glands, pubescent above and densely white tomentose below. The lower leaves are about six centimetres long, bipinnate with wide lanceolate lobes and short teeth along the margins. The upper leaves are smaller and three-partite, and the bracteal leaves are simple, linear and lanceolate. The inflorescence is a narrow leafy panicle. The individual flowers are pale yellow, tubular, and clustered in spherical turned-down heads. The central flowers are bisexual while the marginal flowers are female. The petals are narrow and folded cylindrically and the bracts have a cobwebby pubescence.[2] The whole plant is strongly aromatic.[5]


This wormwood is a xerophile, growing on dry mountain slopes, steep river banks, the edges of oak woods, coastal scrub, wasteland and along road and railway verges.[2] The plants do better and are more aromatic when they grow on poor dry soil.[6]

Medicinal use[edit]

Wormwood leaves are gathered on a warm dry day in spring and summer when the plant is in flower and dried in the shade. In traditional Chinese medicine, they are considered to have bitter, pungent and warm properties and to be associated with the liver, spleen and kidney meridians.[7] The leaves are used as an antiseptic, expectorant, febrifuge and styptic.[8] The herb is considered to increase the blood supply to the pelvic region and stimulate menstruation, help treat infertility, dysmenorrhea, asthma and coughs.[7] Another use is in moxibustion, a form of healing in which the herb is burned in cones or sticks or on the tip of an acupuncture needle.[7] Boiling water can be poured onto the ground up leaves and used in a decoction, alone or with other substances, and the fresh leaf can be crushed and blended and a juice extracted.[7] A volatile oil can be extracted from the leaves and used in the treatment of asthma and bronchitis for which purpose it is sprayed onto the back of the throat and brings rapid relief.[9] The leaves have an antibacterial action and have been shown to be effective against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus dysenteriae, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus typhi, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas.[8]


  • Ninety six volatile constituents have been identified from the leaves of A. argyi and certain other species of wormwood including alpha-thujene, 1,8-cineole, camphor and artemisia alcohol.[10]
  • Nearly fifty volatile constituents have been identified from A. argyi flowers and it is suggested that therapeutic use of the flowers may be just as effective as using the leaves.[11]
  • A methanol extract prepared from aerial parts of the plant strongly reduced the mutagenicity of Salmonella typhimurium.[12]
  • An extract of A. argyi was shown to have antifungal activity against Botrytis cinerea and Alternaria alternata which cause deterioration of fruit and vegetables in storage.[13]
  • Flavones isolated from an extra of the herb were shown to have an anti-tumour effect.[14]
  • A study examined the clinical efficacy of moxibustion, analyzed the chemical compositions of the leaf of different strains of A. argyi, examined the best mode of delivery and how to enhance the therapeutic effects of this treatment.[15]

Traditional use[edit]

The fine fibers of the plant have been used as a binding agent for the seal stamping paste. It has the ability to hold the oil and cinnabar pigment without drying for decades. These fibers also allow the stamp image to remain stable without blurring. Traditionally, no other fiber surpasses Chinese Mugwort in these qualities. The stamps, held with deep esteem, have a history of thousands of years use in China. They adorn documents, calligraphy, and artwork. [16]


  1. ^ English Names for Korean Native Plants (PDF). Pocheon: Korea National Arboretum. 2015. p. 359. ISBN 978-89-97450-98-5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 May 2017. Retrieved 25 January 2016 – via Korea Forest Service.
  2. ^ a b c AgroAtlas
  3. ^ Flora of China Vol. 20-21 Page 697 ai Artemisia argyi H. Léveillé & Vaniot, Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 8: 138. 1910.
  4. ^ Acupuncture Today
  5. ^ Flora of China
  6. ^ Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. 1994 ISBN 0-7090-5440-8[page needed]
  7. ^ a b c d Acupuncture Today: Mugwort Leaf
  8. ^ a b Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas. Institute of Chinese Medicine, Los Angeles 1985[page needed]
  9. ^ Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China. Reference Publications, Inc. 1985 ISBN 0-917256-20-4[page needed]
  10. ^ Pan, JG; Xu, ZL; Ji, L (1992). "Chemical studies on essential oils from 6 Artemisia species". Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 17 (12): 741–4, 764. PMID 1304756.
  11. ^ Li, N; Mao, Y; Deng, C; Zhang, X (2008). "Separation and identification of volatile constituents in Artemisia argyi flowers by GC-MS with SPME and steam distillation". Journal of Chromatographic Science. 46 (5): 401–5. PMID 18492349.
  12. ^ Nakasugi, Toru; Nakashima, Mika; Komai, Koichiro (2000). "Antimutagens in Gaiyou (ArtemisiaargyiLevl. Et Vant.)". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 48 (8): 3256–66. doi:10.1021/jf9906679. PMID 10956099.
  13. ^ Wenqiang, Guan; Shufen, Li; Ruixiang, Yan; Yanfeng, Huang (2006). "Comparison of composition and antifungal activity ofArtemisia argyi Lévl. Et Vantinflorescence essential oil extracted by hydrodistillation and supercritical carbon dioxide". Natural Product Research. 20 (11): 992–8. doi:10.1080/14786410600921599. PMID 17032625.
  14. ^ Seo, Jeong-Min; Kang, Hyun-Mi; Son, Kwang-Hee; Kim, Jong Han; Lee, Chang Woo; Kim, Hwan Mook; Chang, Soo-Ik; Kwon, Byoung-Mog (2003). "Antitumor Activity of Flavones Isolated fromArtemisia argyi". Planta Medica. 69 (3): 218–22. doi:10.1055/s-2003-38486. PMID 12677524.
  15. ^ Analysis and study on modern pharmacy and pharmacology of moxibustion.
  16. ^ [1]