Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
This month I chose Mugwort for the Herb of the Month. It is a great additional to your medicinal garden. Word of warning that is spreads easily so is often grown in pots. It is commonly used as a smudge because of its spiritual potency.
Wild Wormwood, Sailor’s Tobacco, Maiden Wort, Chinese Honeysuckle, St John’s Plant
Mugwort is in the daisy family. It grows between 3-6ft tall. It is native to Europe and Asia but has now become naturalized throughout most of the world. Here in Canada, Mugwort has become an aggressive weed due to it easily spreading. Mugwort is a fairly easy to identify plant. Its leaves are green with a light silvery back. They are pinnately lobed. Mugwort stands tall with its leafy stem, the flowers are dainty and small with red to yellow heads. Mugwort is very similar to Wormwood but the underside of Mugwort’s leaves are white and the leaf segments are pointed where wormwood is blunt.
Leaves, Roots, Flowering heads.
Mugwort is used as a Anthelmintic, Diaphoretic, Diuretic, Emmenagogue, Nervine, Oneirogen and as a Stomachic. Mugwort is used as a tonic and is sought after for the female reproductive system. In TCM, Japan and Korean the leaves are used as medicine for rheumatism. Mugwort is calming and has been used as both a nervine and for depression and tension. Even when I walk through the garden and smell Mugwort is soothing to the soul. The roots are used in combination with other digestive bitters to aid the digestive system.
It is said that St John the Baptist wore a girdle of Mugwort when out in the wilderness for protection. Prior to the 15th Century, Mugwort was used to flavor beet before hops become the common practice. Indigenous people used Mugwort as a spiritual ally in addition to a medical one. Smudges made from Mugwort are still common today. Wearing a Mugwort necklace was worn to keep you from dreaming about the dead. Mugwort has long been used for lucid dreaming and is drank, smoked or kept in a sachet under your pillow.
As a flower essence Mugwort helps to harmonize one’s psychic potentials with their soul by bringing on more consciousness. It is good for meditation as it brings on spiritual awareness.
Mugwort should never be used during pregnancy or lactation or by people with pelvic inflammatory issues as it can cause uterine cramping and is passed through mother’s milk. Mugwort is a short term herb that should not be used for more than a week at a time. The pollen in Mugwort can cause allergies in some people.