Native to Japan, Korea and China, this plant is also known as Japanese Mugwort, Korean Mugwort and Korean Wormwood. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked (blanched or boiled to removed bitterness) and added to salads, soups and rice, and are widely used in Asian cuisine in a number of different ways. In Japan the leaves are a fundamental ingredient of kusa mochi (“grass cake”), a Japanese confectionery, to which it imparts its fresh, springlike fragrance and vivid green coloring. Boiled leaves are also then pounded and added to glutinous rice dumplings called mochi. In Korea it is also used as both a culinary and medicinal herb, in dishes such as soups, pancakes and rice cakes.
Yomogi has been used in traditional Asian medicine for the treatment of inflammation, diarrhea, bacterial infection, and circulatory disorders and many studies have demonstrated its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is one of the species used as moxa in moxibustion, and is also an excellent smudging plant used as a cold-hardy substitute to white sage, producing a smooth and cooling smoke that is said to purify the air and dispel negativity.
Yomogi is a vigorous perennial growing to 1.2m in height. Like many other members of this genus it can spread by underground stolons so it is good to plant it next to a mowing strip or in an area where you can benefit from its ‘generosity’ by harvesting stems to use as mulch for other plants. It is however very amenable to trimming and will also be quite happy in a pot. Also happy on light, poor soils and is drought hardy. Full sun or part shade. 9cm pot. Certified organic plant.