14. January 2013 · Comments Off on Yarrow’s Garden Blog~Mugwort · Categories: Flower Essences, Health and Healing, Plant Medicines, Yarrow's Garden Blog

MUGWORT(Artemisia vulgaris)~

As I sit here sipping a cup of pleasantly sweet mugwort tea, I have begun to envision this century-old healing plant and its many uses throughout history. Its warm and comforting nature begins to pulse gently into my neck and shoulders, relaxing my solar plexus, and carrying me gently beyond the everyday doings of daily life. Slightly sweet, warming and stimulating, I can feel a gently energetic movement into my hands and feet and throughout my musculature. I notice also that my breathing has softened and relaxed.  The name Artemisia speaks in praise of the Moon Goddess, Artemis, ancient goddess of nature and patroness of women.  A restorative by nature, mugwort, is a soothing friend to today’s woman, caught up in the many roles of career, child rearing, managing home, a business or a family, with little time to spare for nurturing herself. Mugwort attends to those situations where women may have suffered abuse, been swallowed into poverty, or healing from a difficult pregnancy or abortion. Tending to withdraw, they suffer from depression or have otherwise insulated themselves from their own emotions. Mugwort helps to restore and soulfully heal the female nature.

artemisia-vulgaris-1Historically Artemisia has been used successfully for premenstrual symptoms, stimulating a sluggish menstruation, to speed labor, or to assist in expelling the placenta after birthing. It is typically the leaf and stem of the plant that are used as medicine, either fresh or dried.  In those cases it is taken as a tea or herbal bath. Mugwort oil can be used topically to massage the abdomen and uterus for alleviating stagnation and bloating typically associated with PMS, stimulating the movement of uterine release. An herbal compress may also be helpful. Topically in a salve, compress or wash mugwort can be used to treat rashes, itching, bruising and swelling, insect bites and boils. As a foot soak, it is both warming and soothing.

Mugwort has been used by the Chinese for centuries in tea formulations for prolonged menstrual bleeding, for a restless fetus, for threatened miscarriage, and any abdominal pain due to cold. These may seem contradictory; however, herbs can have different effects depending upon the dosage. The dry leaf can also be rolled by hand into a ball and placed and lighted atop acupuncture needles for warming and introducing “qi” into the body at specific acupuncture points. This technique is called moxibustion and is an excellent way to expel cold from the body..

Also called Cronewort, Artemesia is known to assist in regulating hormones and reducing hot flashes in menopausal women. It can be prepared as a tea or tincture for these purposes.  On a more esoteric level, an oil infusion of Cronewort can be used as a ceremonial anointment for scrying, visioning or active dreaming. As a tea or flower essence taken at bedtime, Mugwort can enhance vivid dreaming and dream recall. The plant is said to encourage and support intuition, creativity, and dream visioning.

Artemisia vulgaris is a member of the Sunflower family (Asteraceae). As shown in the photo, the leaf is deeply lobed, dark green on the upper surface and a silvery grey underneath. Stems are maroon, purple or brown. Plants can grow between 5-8 feet in height. Once established, mugwort requires little attention, average soil, and light to moderate water.

Originating in Asia and Mediterranean regions, Artemesia is not native to the Rocky Mountains, but is easy to cultivate here. A moderately organic sandy loam with no special soil amendment offers ample growth medium. Once established mugwort is a robust grower, seeds readily and can quickly become the center of attention if not managed. Its stems offer a colorful texture to the dormant winter garden.

Mugwort is available as a loose tea, tincture and infused oil through Three Sisters Apothecary.

NOTE: Photo compliments of PROTA4U.

Christina MacLeod, Westcliffe, Colorado, January 14, 2013