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Autumn is in the air and it is a time of revelations. Things which have felt stagnant for so long, are beginning to soften, to open, to reveal their strange and healing magic to us. One way we can receive such revelations is through connection to our September herb, Mugwort. Known as “The Mother of Herbs”, Mugwort mothers us through transition. It invites us to take stock of our homes, to purify and safeguard our spiritual and physical environments. It invites us to dream so we may process the shifts of our lives, and receive divine guidance for the days ahead.

COMMON NAME

Mugwort

BOTANICAL NAME

Artemesia vulgaris

PARTS USED

Aerial parts (leaf, flower), roots

HISTORICAL

Mugwort is a shrubby perennial found in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. It is one of the fifteen most common Artemisia varieties used for medicinal and magical purposes. It is an herbaceous plant that today can be found along roadsides and hiking trails. 

Dating back to the Anglo Saxon period, Mugwort has been used to treat digestive disease, and menstruation-and-pregnancy related ailments. It is known to induce labor and has been an ally to midwives for centuries. Mugwort was most well known and utilized in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome as it tied into religious rites to Isis, Artemis, and Diana. Mugwort has a rich chemical composition, especially with essential oils. For this reason, Roman centurions laid Mugwort on their sandals, along the soles of their feet, to keep them in good health and shape.  

In China, Mugwort is a large component of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is used in ‘moxibustion’, which is a process where the heat from a burning roll of mugwort leaves is applied to acupuncture points to increase blood flow and promote healthy circulation.

MEDICINAL

Mugwort has stimulative and tonic properties that aid in a multitude of ailments both internally and externally. From a digestive standpoint, it can be used as a bitter tonic for the liver and stomach. Low doses over long periods of time have shown to improve digestion functioning by regulating appetite and increasing nutrient absorption. Mugwort also increases bile flow and can eliminate worms in the digestive tract. 

From a reproductive standpoint, Mugwort is known for its emmenagogue properties, which encourages shedding of the uterine wall and has the ability to regulate menstruation. When consumed as tea and vaginally steamed, it has been known to bring on menses. For those who are beyond their child bearing years and have reached menopause, Mugwort is also a helpful ally in reducing symptoms. 

Externally, Mugwort can be prepared as a liniment or wash and applied topically to relieve itching related to bug bites, dermatitis, and the like. It is also a wonderful antispasmodic that can help to relax cramping, ease tension built in the body, and alleviate abdominal pain.

MAGICAL

Mugwort is connected to the Crone archetype, the Wise Woman full of knowledge, maturity, and experience to share with their community. This deeply knowledgeable plant spirit has been used for dream enhancement, such as lucid dreaming, and divination across cultures and history. In Greek mythology, this plant is connected to Artemis, the Goddess of the Hunt and Goddess of the Moon; the hunter, Queen of witches, the herbalist. Known as the “Mother of Herbs” in the Middle Ages, if you find Mugwort growing in front of a house or painted on a door, it is an indication you have arrived at the home of an herbalist or midwife. 

Mugwort photosynthesizes with the moon, which is when it is recommended to harvest. Due to its connection with the moon and Artemis, it is known for its shared characteristics of strength and resiliency. 

Native American Indians utilize Mugwort as a smudge to purify the spiritual and physical environment. It is also believed to protect and safeguard as well. While bushels of Mugwort are used for cleansing and protecting environments, the leaves have been used for smoking purposes. Inhaling Mugwort is used in ritual and meditation to open the third eye and bring out a shift in consciousness.

RESOURCES & REFERENCES

Tierra, M., & Frawley, D. (1988). Planetary herbology: An integration of western herbs into the traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic Systems. Lotus Press. 

Chevallier, A. (1996). Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. DK Publishing. Miernowska, M. (2020). The Witch’s Herbal Apothecary . Quarto Publishing Group.

Sep 14, 2022

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