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MUGWORT (Artemisia vulgaris)
  August 2014 Issue / Vol. 2, No. 15                                                                          Absinthe's cousin loves your liver.

Chef Mel Mecinas

Chef John Marcetti

August 2014 Chef's Larder

Chef Brian Widmer

Sommelier Petra Polakovicova

Dining at the White House
by Chef John Moeller
w/Mike Lovell

Talavera Restaurant Revue

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Synopsis: Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)

If the common names of a plant give a clue about its nature, then Mugwort has a real identity problem. Its names range from St. John’s Plant to Cronewort. So what is it, saint or sinner? The whole family has unfairly taken lot of flak for its charismatic cousin, A. absinthium, also called Wormwood and a main ingredient in absinthe. Absinthe became all the rage around the turn of the 20th century. At the peak of its popularity, 5 PM in France marked The Green Hour, when cafés would pour so much of the green-colored liqueur, its smell wafted down the streets. Since it was de rigueur to drink absinthe, breweries took a beating and wine sales went wan. What did this wonder-booze have going for it? Rating high in alcohol content (around 55- to 72-percent), it certainly made imbibers feel good. And it did, much to its artistic aficionados’ delight, live up to its reputation as a dream enhancer. But even sinners start out good. Wormwood, like its cousin Mugwort, has remarkable digestive properties, along with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. And in the early 2000s, Wormwood was redeemed. Scientific research not only proved it did not cause absinthism, it claimed absinthism didn’t even exist. Mugwort stimulates the liver to get bile flowing. It will move heat when the liver’s running hot. It has anti-inflammatory propensities, and it releases congestion in the body.