Mugwort has a long and interesting history dating back as far as 3BC, spanning several continents and cultures. This aromatic herb has been used for a variety of things such as medicine, food, spiritual and healing practices, beer brewing and even as an insect repellent.
There is a rich historical use of mugwort in Japan, Korea and China for its healing properties. One of the most well known uses of mugwort in traditional Chinese medicine is moxibustion. This process is designed to strengthen the blood, stimulate the flow and qi and promote overall well being. Someone who has cold or stagnant energy can benefit greatly from this treatment as it helps to expel cold and warm the meridians. Moxibustion is a process in which moxa, a small cone made of ground mugwort, is directly or indirectly burned on or near the body's acupuncture points. This technique is also used in some western medicine practices to turn breech babies into the head-down position before childbirth begins.
The native Chumash use this herb as a remedy for toothaches and as a topical herb to treat poison oak and other skin rashes. They also use mugwort to balance hormones during menopause and have also found it helpful for premenstrual syndrome.
"I rub it before I touch a woman in childbirth. It is the essence of dreams for the mother and child, when I bring life forward. I use it so that their dreams will come true." Celia Garcia, Chumash
The Chumash also use mugwort as a dream time herb. They also use it when working on matters of addiction and attention deficit disorders.
"Mugwort is dream sagebrush, used to neutralize thought and let the brain rest. Some people say they can't stop their thoughts and dream. If you can't dream, you can't sleep. It is so vital to health to just go to sleep." Celia Garcia, Chumash
Artemesia douglansia contains volatile oils which give it a strong bitter aroma with mint overtones. Many of these monoterpenes are pain relievers. This species also contains thujone, a powerful compound that can induce hallucinations and in high amounts, cause renal damage. Thujone is concentrated in the essential oil and should be used with caution but the leaves and stems can be enjoyed without too much concern.
Mugwort is one of the first plants we distilled for hydrosol and we distill several fresh batches each year. This plant is so giving, her leaves grow on, well into the hot summer months. In nature, this plant tends to grow near rivers and streams and it seems only fitting that it is intimately connected to dream work and childbirth. Mugwort is a gift to women, a gift to life and the beauty of our inner worlds. I am so grateful to be sharing some of our garden mugwort with you, in the form of hydorsol and of the dream pouch.
As a gift to you this month of May, orders over $50 will receive an immunity herb pouch filled with freshly dried mugwort. This dreamtime herb has been abundantly giving and giving in the garden and we lovingly trimmed and dried the leaves to share with you. I drew the symbol on each one, a symbol of immunity, both physical and energetic.
Each night, inhale deeply with dreamtime intentions. Place the pouch under your pillow every night for one month. You can keep a dream journal if you feel called to track the influence of mugwort in your own personal dream space. This ritual can be expanded, after a few months of working with mugwort, you can replace the herbs in your immunity pouch. What plants have been talking to you? What can you easily harvest and dry? Maybe it's a small patch of mint or lemon balm you have going, or maybe you try some rosemary or eucalyptus leaves. Find the aromatic herb that you want to work with a fill your dream time pouch.
Photo of Cecilia Garcia, Chumash
Quotes from Healing with Medicinal Plants of the West, James Adams, Michelle Wong, Enrique Vullaseñor