Isn’t it amazing how some plants speak to you, I’ve really built a relationship with Mugwort this year, she has supported me in many ways; as a witch, as a woman and as a person with mental health issues, not to mention the lucid dreaming.
I’m going to put my usual Health warning higher up this one as it is very important:
*Mugwort is not safe for use in pregnancy, when breastfeeding or for children* In fact, even if you are none of these things, it is not a herb that can be taken continuously. Prolonged use can have a negative affect on the nervous system , liver and even lead to seizures. Some people are allergic to Mugwort, it is part of the Asteraceae family so should be avoided if you have known allergies. As ever, I am not a Doctor. Seek advice and do your own research.
Also Known as Artemis Herb, Artemesia, Mother of Herbs, Sailors tobacco, chrysanthemum weed, felon herb, St Johns Plant, Common Wormwood, Cronewort, Moxa , Old Man and naughty man; Mugwort grows prolifically as a weed in many parts of the world. Our relationship with mugwort goes back centuries; listed first in the 9 sacred herbs by the Saxons it was called ‘Una’ the oldest herb. The romans put it in their sandals to prevent fatigued feet- I might try this one actually, I’ll let you know how it goes. the name ‘Mugwort’ comes from the fact that before hops, it was used to flavour beer which we drank in mugs, ‘wort’ was just the old word for plant so it was. My good friend George the brewer told me this. I believe he was going to try making some using traditional methods. (you can follow their upcoming adventures here)
Mugwort grows in waste spaces where there is plenty of sun. It grows up to 6 feet tall and quite bushy. The stems are woody and slightly purple. The leaves are feathery and clearly pinnately lobed. The underside of the leaves is almost silver in colour and fuzzy to touch. Its best identifying feature is the smell ;the closest thing I can compare it to is sage; which is interesting as it is the UK’s version of sage (the romans introduced sage) magically and in flavour. When it comes to misidentifying the most common ones to be aware of are ragwort (which doesn’t have the herby smell) and worm wood, which has silver leaves on the top and the bottom. If in doubt leave it alone and do some more research.
Mugwort has a multitude of medicinal uses; Most commonly it used for anything relating to menstruation as it encourages blood flow to the pelvis easing painful or irregular menstruation, easing PMT and menopausal symptoms. It is for this reason that it is not safe for use in pregnancy. In earlier times it was used to induce labour, one method in Ireland was to tie it to a mothers thigh if she was struggling to give birth. It was believed this had to be removed as soon as the baby was delivered lest the mother bleed out such was Mugwort’s ability to draw down blood. Mugwort oil can be applied topically to ease painful cramps and soothe the uterus.
Mugwort has mild anaesthetic, antibacterial and antifungal properties making it a valuable addition to many balms and remedies. Used topically, it can clear up bruising and scarring and offers mild pain relief (I can attest to this myself). Mugwort stimulates circulation, the oil can be applied to hands and feet if you have poor circulation there.
Internally, Mugwort has been used to treat digestive complaints such as IBS as it has calmative properties on the gut, stimulates appetite and stops diarrhoea. It is a mild nerve tonic (when taken in small doses), offering relaxation and easing stress and insomnia. It stimulates the liver and gall bladder, however there are other herbs far better suited to this without dangers of prolonged use Cleavers, Dandelions and Nettle are a good place to start.
This is where Mugwort really shines. Sacred to Artemis (It’s in the name-Artemesia) Goddess of the hunt, The Moon, fertility, Abundance Labour, witches (because we often follow in her footsteps in living in harmony with the earth, seek knowledge and aid others) and all things womenly, not that is only to be used by women, Artemis challenges gender roles wherever possible.
Mugwort gives us the gift of lucid dreaming (also a form of astral projection). When taken before bed it induces powerful dreams often containing the messages to the answers we seek (a form of hunting). I lucid dream anyway, but the messages aren’t always clear, it’s more like a video game. Mugwort gives me an entirely different experience. I use it during meditation, before any big ritual work or when I need to tap in to my intuition a bit stronger, which is probably why I’ve used it more this year: guidance.
I usually nibble on a bit of the flower or leaf but it can also be smoked; hence the name sailor’s tobacco. I have done this and it’s very pleasant, it has a very mild hallucinogenic affect but you won’t ‘trip balls’ I mean, I wouldn’t recommend it if you were driving heavy machinery but it is ideal for ritualistic purposes.
It can also be burnt as an incense which is really good for smoke cleanses and cense sticks. I mentioned before that Mugwort was the UK’s answer to sage. It has all the magical properties of sage plus a little extra oomph in terms of protection and ritual work. It is more ethical in that sense too, especially in replacement of white sage; which, I have mentioned in other posts, is sacred to Native Americans and as such should not be used let alone sold. (that is rant for another day). Personally I feel more connected to Mugwort anyway.
Mugwort and Samhain
The protective properties of Mugwort are a big feature particularly when embarking on a journey. Be it physical, emotional, astral or psychic. The hunt for adventure, awakening, knowledge and wisdom are all valuable and by taking Mugwort with you on these journeys, you take added protection and guidance. This is especially important around Samhain. As the veil thins; more paths (journeys) become interwoven. The possibility to fall foul of another or become lost is increased. It is also a time where we are naturally embarking on more psychic endeavours. Some journeys end, new ones begin. We delve into darkness to seek wisdom and answers.
You don’t need to consume mugwort to access it’s magical assistance. Carrying some with you in a pouch, or even a shoe like the Romans did will ensure you are protected on your various travels.
This gorgeous plant ally is amazingly giving. It has been used by our people for centuries. Now is a great time to acquaint yourself with it especially as we approach The Blue Moon on Samhain.
Blessings on your journeys my witchy darlings. May you find what you seek and a little more.
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Love Kate xxx