Monograph-Sagebrush, White(Artemesia ludoviciana)
Images of White Sagebrush
Artemisia ludoviciana is a species of sagebrush known by several common names, including silver wormwood, Louisiana wormwood, white sagebrush, and gray sagewort.
It is native to North America where it is widespread coast to coast, but many subspecies are found only in the western United States. This is a rhizomatous perennial herb growing to heights between 30 centimeters and one meter. The stems bear linear leaves up to 11 centimeters long. The stems and foliage are covered in woolly gray or white hairs. The top of the stem is occupied by a narrow inflorescence of many nodding flower heads. Each small head is a cup of hairy phyllaries surrounding a center of yellowish disc florets and is about half a centimeter wide. The fruit is a minute achene. This plant was used by many Native American groups for a variety of medicinal, veterinary, and ceremonial purposes.
Western mugwort has several medicinal uses. It excites gastric juices and bile secretion. Therefore, it is useful in dyspeptic ailments accompanied by a lack of appetite, and in gastric atony. Its antispasmodic action helps alleviate pain caused by hepatic colic in gallstone cases. It has been used since ancient times to regulate menstruation in women who experience a difficult and painful period. In Mexico, the Huicholes drink juice made from the leaves to treat abdominal pain. The indigenous people of Quebec used the plants native to the area, Artemisia canadensis and A. ludoviciana, to prepare a stomachic and vermifuge infusion, as well as poultices used for treating burns.
In Europe Artemisia was used as a powerful amulet against evil spells. The flowers and the leaves were also used to make perfume against demons.
Precautions and contraindications: The plant extracts alleviates the pain of menstrual cramps by enhancing uterine hemorrhage. Therefore, pregnant women should not use it without medical guidance because it is a potential aborticide. Likewise, it is not recommended for newborns. A high dose may cause metabolic disorders and neurotoxicity.
Montana Plant Life
Edible Parts: Condiment; Seed; Tea.
Leaves and flowering heads are used as a flavouring or garnish for sauces, gravies etc. A herb tea is made from the leaves and flowering heads. Seed[105, 161, 177, 183]. No further details are given but the seed is very small and fiddly to use.
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Astringent; Deodorant; Poultice; Skin.
The leaves are astringent. They were commonly used by the N. American Indians to induce sweating, curb pain and diarrhoea. A weak tea was used in the treatment of stomach ache and menstrual disorders. Externally, a wash of the leaves was applied to itching, rashes, swellings, boils, sores, etc. The wash was also applied to eczema and as an underarm deodorant. A poultice of the leaves can be applied to spider bites, blisters and burst boils. A snuff of the crushed leaves has been used to treat headaches, the sinuses and nosebleeds.
Deodorant; Ground cover; Repellent.
The plant makes a useful ground cover plant once it is established. The leaves can be placed in the shoes as a foot deodorant. An infusion of the leaves has been used as an underarm deodorant. The soft leaves can be used as a toilet paper. The plant can be burnt to repel mosquitoes.
Plants for a Future
Ethnobotanic: Burning white sage and “smudge
sticks” (the process of harvesting sage stems and
tying the stem together into a “smudge stick”), was
and is used for cleansing and purification (Gilmore
1977, Kindscher 1992). White sage or “man sage”
was perhaps the most important ceremonial plant of
the Cheyenne (Hart 1976). The sage was spread
along the borders and on the altar in almost every
ceremonial lodge (including the stone peoples lodge
or sweat lodge) with the flowering end toward the
fire. The leaves were burned as an incense to cleanse
and drive away bad spirits, evil influences, bad
dreams, bad thoughts, and sickness. A small pinch of
baneberry (Actea rubra) was often mixed with it for
this purpose. The smoke was used to purify people,
spaces, implements, utensils, horses, and rifles in
various ceremonies. The Lakota also make bracelets
for the Sun Dance from white sage (Rogers 1980).
The Cheyenne use the white sage in their Sun Dance
and Standing Against Thunder ceremonies (Hart
1976). Other tribes who used white sage include the
Arapaho, Comanche, Gros Ventre, Creek, Navaho,
Tewa, and Ute (Nickerson 1966, Carlson and Jones
1939, Hart 1976, Thwaites 1905, Denig 1855, Elmore
1944, Robbins et al. 1916, Chamberlin 1909).
The Dakota and other tribes used white sage tea for
stomach troubles and many other ailments (Gilmore
1977). The Cheyenne used the crushed leaves as
snuff for sinus attacks, nosebleeds, and headaches
(Hart 1976). The Crow made a salve for use on sores
by mixing white sage with neck-muscle fat (probably
from buffalo) (Hart 1976). They used a strong tea as
an astringent for eczema and as a deodorant and an
antiperspirant for underarms and feet. The Kiowa
made a bitter drink from white sage, which they used
to reduce phlegm and to relieve a variety of lung and
stomach complaints (Vestal and Shultes 1939).
Usually, they chewed the stem and leaves and
swallowed the juice.
The Kiowa-Apaches used a thin, sharp-pointed
section of the stem as a moxa to relieve headaches or
other pain (Jordan 1965). The Chinese also use an
Artemisia species as a moxa to relieve pain such as
arthritis. The Kiowa also used an infusion of white
sage plants for the lungs, to cut phlegm, and for
stomach trouble. The Mesquakie used the leaves as a
poultice to “cure sores of long standing” (Smith
1928). They also made a tea of the leaves to treat
tonsillitis and sore throat and a smudge of the leaves
to drive away mosquitoes. The Omaha used the
leaves in a tea for bathing and used the powdered
leaves to stop nosebleeds (Gilmore 1913).
Both the Pawnee and the Bannock women drank
Artemisia ludoviciana tea during their moon time, or
menstrual periods (Dunbar 1880). During the time
that women lived away from their lodges in a
menstrual hut, they drank the bitter tea made from
either the leaves of white sage or the root of A.
frigida (Gilmore 1930).
The Blackfeet use the white sage in sweat-lodge
rituals and as an ingredient in a stream vapor inhaled
for respiratory problems. The “Giver of Breath”
heals the ability to breathe with this powerful plant
According to Moerman (1986) Artemisia ludoviciana
was used for the following:
The Fox used a poultice of leaves to heal old
sores, a burning smudge to drive away
mosquitoes and to “smoke ponies when they
have the distemper”, and an infusion of leaves to
heal tonsillitis and sore throats.
The Omaha used the leaves as a bath for fevers
and to prevent nosebleeds.
The Paiute used a decoction of the plant as a
soaking bath to relieve aching feet, to heal
stomachaches, as a poultice for rheumatism or
other aches, as a poultice or compress for
headaches, to stop diarrhea, in a sweatbath for
rheumatism, and to relieve the itching and
discomfort of rashes and skin eruptions.
The Shoshone took white sage for colds, coughs,
headaches, stomachaches, as a compress for
fevers, to stop diarrhea, as a physic, as a
regulator of menstrual disorders, and for
The Washoe used white sage as a cooling,
aromatic wash for headaches, colds, and coughs.
Monograph from Desert Tortoise Botanicals
Scholarly Research on White Sagebrush