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Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)

Artemisia vulgaris Image
Synonyms / Common Names / Related Terms
Ai ye, arbre aux cent gouts, armoise, armoise commune, artemisia, Artemisia vulgaris, Artemisia vulgaris L., Artemisia vulgaris pollen, Artemisia vulgaris R., Artemisiae vulgaris herba, Artemisiae vulgaris radix, Asteraceae (family), baru cina, bijvoet, black stalk, borneol, Carline thistle, cernobyl (Czech), chernobyl (Russian), chornobyl (Ukrainian), chrysanthemum weed, cineole, common mugwort, common wormwood, darkgrass, Douglas mugwort, felon herb, fuchiba, Gemeiner Beifuss, genje jawa, hierba de San Juan, hiyam, hydroxy-coumarins, Japanese wormwood, linalool, lipohilic flavonoids, moxa, moxa rolls, nagadamni, pinene, polyn' obyknovennaya, prunasin, sailor's tobacco, St. John's plant, suket ganjahan, sundamala, thujone, triterpenes, tzu ai, vulgarin, wild wormwood, wormseed, yomogi, yomogiko.
Note: Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) should not be confused with wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus), or St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum L.), despite similar names.

Mechanism of Action
  • Constituents: The volatile oil of mugwort includes thujone, linalool, borneol, and pinene. The herb also contains coumarins, hydroxy-coumarins, lipohilic flavonoids, vulgarin, prunasin, and triterpenes.
  • Allergenicity activity: The major allergen of Artemisia vulgaris pollen is Art v1.2,3,4,5,6,7 Art v1 is a cross-reactive allergen.8 This glycoprotein allergen had a protein to carbohydrate ratio of 10:1 and the carbohydrate part contained mannose (70.7%), N-acetyl-glucosamine (17.0%), glucose (7.0%) and galactose (5.3%).6 The IgE-binding capacity, as determined by means of ELISA, was slightly higher for native (n)Art v1 than for recombinant (r)Art v1, and both allergens were able to induce T-cell proliferation in sensitized patients.7
  • Profilins are prominent allergens that have been isolated from Artemesia vulgaris.9,10,11 Lipid transfer proteins (LTP) are also present in mugwort pollens. Antigenic activity and IgE binding site of mugwort pollen is present on the surface of its exine.12 Allergoids of a pollen extract of Artemisia vulgaris have been obtained by means of potassium cyanate, and succinic and maleic anhydride.13 The most reduced allergenicity was seen in the succinyl derivative, while the preservation of IgG binding epitopes was highest for the carbamyl derivative.
  • Mugwort pollen grains incubated in protein-free buffer secrete significant amounts of eicosanoid-like substances, namely leukotriene B4-like and prostaglandin E2-like substances.14
  • Mugwort pollen has exhibited the greatest degree of cross-reactivity with sunflower pollen.15
  • When the allergenic potency of mugwort pollen extracts was evaluated, an early study found a poor correlation between the results of skin tests and the results of Phadebas RAST for determination of specific IgE to mugwort.16
  • Antiviral activity: Moxa smoke preparations have demonstrated no apparent anti-HIV activity.17,18
  • Cytotoxic activity: Art v1 is the major cytotoxic agent of moxa and shows cytotoxic activity against human tumor cell lines.1,17,18 Moxa smoke dose-dependently induced internucleosomal DNA fragmentation, activation of caspases 3, 8 and 9, and slightly modified the expression of apoptosis-related proteins (Bcl-2, Bad, Bax) in HL-60 cells, but to much lesser extents than attained by positive controls (UV irradiation, actinomycin D treatment).18 Electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy showed that moxa smoke generated semiquinone-type radicals under alkaline conditions, and scavenged O2(-), hydroxyl radical, singlet oxygen, and NO.18
  • A cyanogenic glucoside, prunasin (D-mandelonitrile-beta-D-glucoside), was isolated from mugwort and found to be a novel inhibitor of DNA polymerase beta.19

  • Insufficient available evidence.

  1. Hatsukari, I. et al. Partial purification of cytotoxic substances from moxa extract. Anticancer Res 2002;22(5):2777-2782. 12529996
  2. Bauer, R., Himly, M., Dedic, A., Ferreira, F., Thalhamer, J., and Hartl, A. Optimization of codon usage is required for effective genetic immunization against Art v 1, the major allergen of mugwort pollen. Allergy 2003;58(10):1003-1010. 14510717
  3. Himly, M., Jahn-Schmid, B., Dedic, A., Kelemen, P., Wopfner, N., Altmann, F., van Ree, R., Briza, P., Richter, K., Ebner, C., and Ferreira, F. Art v 1, the major allergen of mugwort pollen, is a modular glycoprotein with a defensin-like and a hydroxyproline-rich domain. FASEB J. 2003;17(1):106-108. 12475905
  4. Jahn-Schmid, B., Kelemen, P., Himly, M., Bohle, B., Fischer, G., Ferreira, F., and Ebner, C. The T cell response to Art v 1, the major mugwort pollen allergen, is dominated by one epitope. J. Immunol. 11-15-2002;169(10):6005-6011. 12421987
  5. Jimeno, L., Duffort, O., Serrano, C., Barber, D., and Polo, F. Monoclonal antibody-based ELISA to quantify the major allergen of Artemisia vulgaris pollen, Art v 1. Allergy 2004;59(9):995-1001. 15291909
  6. Nilsen, B. M. and Paulsen, B. S. Isolation and characterization of a glycoprotein allergen, Art v II, from pollen of mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris L.). Mol. Immunol. 1990;27(10):1047-1056. 2233755
  7. Schmid-Grendelmeier, P., Holzmann, D., Himly, M., Weichel, M., Tresch, S., Ruckert, B., Menz, G., Ferreira, F., Blaser, K., Wuthrich, B., and Crameri, R. Native Art v 1 and recombinant Art v 1 are able to induce humoral and T cell-mediated in vitro and in vivo responses in mugwort allergy. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 2003;111(6):1328-1336. 12789236
  8. Hirschwehr, R., Heppner, C., Spitzauer, S., Sperr, W. R., Valent, P., Berger, U., Horak, F., Jager, S., Kraft, D., and Valenta, R. Identification of common allergenic structures in mugwort and ragweed pollen. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 1998;101(2 Pt 1):196-206. 9500752
  9. Leitner, A., Vogel, M., Radauer, C., Breiteneder, H., Stadler, B. M., Scheiner, O., Kraft, D., and Jensen-Jarolim, E. A mimotope defined by phage display inhibits IgE binding to the plant panallergen profilin. Eur. J. Immunol. 1998;28(9):2921-2927. 9754579
  10. Valenta, R., Duchene, M., Ebner, C., Valent, P., Sillaber, C., Deviller, P., Ferreira, F., Tejkl, M., Edelmann, H., Kraft, D., and . Profilins constitute a novel family of functional plant pan-allergens. J. Exp. Med. 2-1-1992;175(2):377-385. 1370681
  11. Wopfner, N., Willeroidee, M., Hebenstreit, D., van Ree, R., Aalbers, M., Briza, P., Thalhamer, J., Ebner, C., Richter, K., and Ferreira, F. Molecular and immunological characterization of profilin from mugwort pollen. Biol. Chem. 2002;383(11):1779-1789. 12530543
  12. Park, H. S., Kim, J. W., and Hong, C. S. Immunoelectron-microscopic localization of IgE binding site of mugwort pollen. J. Korean Med.Sci. 1993;8(1):30-33. 8343219
  13. Cirkovic, T., Gavrovic-Jankulovic, M., Prisic, S., Jankov, R. M., Burazer, L., Vuckovic, O., Sporcic, Z., and Paranos, S. The influence of a residual group in low-molecular-weight allergoids of Artemisia vulgaris pollen on their allergenicity, IgE- and IgG-binding properties. Allergy 2002;57(11):1013-1020. 12358997
  14. Behrendt, H., Kasche, A., Ebner, von Eschenbach, Risse, U., Huss-Marp, J., and Ring, J. Secretion of proinflammatory eicosanoid-like substances precedes allergen release from pollen grains in the initiation of allergic sensitization. Int. Arch. Allergy. Immunol. 2001;124(1-3):121-125. 11306946
  15. Fernandez, C., Martin-Esteban, M., Fiandor, A., Pascual, C., Lopez, Serrano C., Martinez, Alzamora F., Diaz Pena, J. M., and Ojeda Casas, J. A. Analysis of cross-reactivity between sunflower pollen and other pollens of the Compositae family. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 1993;92(5):660-667. 8227856
  16. Stenius-Aarniala, B. S., Malmberg, C. H., Holopainen, E. E., and Bjorksten, F. In vivo tests with pollen extracts previously investigated by means of direct RAST titration allergen assay. Clin. Allergy 1978;8(4):411-418. 709789
  17. Hitosugi, N., Ohno, R., Hatsukari, I., Mizukami, S., Nagasaka, H., Matsumoto, I., Komatsu, N., Fujimaki, M., Nakashima, H., Satoh, K., and Sakagami, H. Diverse biological activities of moxa extract and smoke. In Vivo 2001;15(3):249-254. 11491021
  18. Sakagami, H., Matsumoto, H., Satoh, K., Shioda, S., Ali, C. S., Hashimoto, K., Kikuchi, H., Nishikawa, H., Terakubo, S., Shoji, Y., Nakashima, H., and Shimada, J. Cytotoxicity and radical modulating activity of Moxa smoke. In Vivo 2005;19(2):391-397. 15796203
  19. Mizushina, Y., Takahashi, N., Ogawa, A., Tsurugaya, K., Koshino, H., Takemura, M., Yoshida, S., Matsukage, A., Sugawara, F., and Sakaguchi, K. The cyanogenic glucoside, prunasin (D-mandelonitrile-beta-D-glucoside), is a novel inhibitor of DNA polymerase beta. J. Biochem. (Tokyo) 1999;126(2):430-436. 10423540

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