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definitely ethnocentric notes:
Common Names: Mugwort, Sagewort, Wormwood
Identification: A composite with a light colored fuzzy pubescence that
sticks out among other plants. If
you compare small plants, you might confuse a fuzzy Antennaria or Oregon
Sunshine, Eriophyllum, for
the Artemisia, but the Artemisia will grow much taller. If you're in an area
where one species of Mugwort
grows, it's easy to identify Mugworts. If you're in an area like the
Northwest, there are many species of
Mugwort that are difficult at best to correctly identify. The leaf shapes
are highly variable, and in any
given stand you can find a stem that will key out to a completely wrong
Artemisia. If you do try to key
these plants out, look at the whole stand of plants when they are in full
bloom and take the average
characteristics. Do not use new growth or fall vegetative growth, as these
will be atypical. You will need
to use certain ecological characteristics, like growing below the high water
mark. Many times a
chromosome count is the only way to be sure of the exact species.
Habitat: Most Mugworts grow in riparian areas throughout the Northwest, at
varied elevations. They are
usually a sign of water. I have seen Mugworts in dry waterless hills in
Southern California, and followed
them up to a secret spring full of archeological treasures.
Associated Plants: On rivers, the usual riparian species.
Tending the Stand: If you harvest perennial Mugworts with rhizomes, no
tending should be necessary.
Harvesting: Harvest aboveground parts. The oil content drops drastically
when flowering, but it will still
smell strongly, so use your own judgment. Harvest aboveground parts. If you
are using the herb for aroma
only, notice the brown, dried up leaves on the lower stem still smells fine,
and can be used. If you are
planning to use the Mugwort internally, you may wish to discard these.
Processing: For dreams or smudging, just bundle and hang near your usual
dreaming location. The dried
leaves can be hand rubbed to a nice "owl pellet" consistency for dream
pillows. Tincture fresh, or dry for
oil and tea.
Uses: Mugwort is used to promote lucid dreaming. It may cause nightmares or
restless dreams. Some say
it causes a specific type of dream, but I believe it depends on the stage of
dreaming the dreamer is capable
of at the time. It may require completely inundating yourself with its
essence for a prolonged period. If
you do use it as a smudge, remember that its smoke smells more like
Marijuana than most other plants. It
is inadvisable to smudge your car with it.
Mugwort smells good and has a volatile oil, making it a useful aromatic
bitter for general stomach upset,
flatulence, indigestion, etc.
Mugwort, the mug plant, was used for brewing beer before the use of hops. We
tried a good dark stout
Mugwort beer on some of our trips.
It is possible to use Mugwort for worms, but I feel it would be better to
stick with the true Wormwood,
Artemisia absinthium, or other effective antiparasitics.
Wormwood has been used as an emmenagogue. It is used in as a
warming tonic to increase uterine circulation, with a clearing effect on
many clogged uterine conditions.
This makes it more than a simple emmenagogue. This plant should not be used
Related Plants: Artemisia tridentata and other shrubby Artemisias are the
ubiquitous Sagebrushes of the
desert regions. Artemisia absinthium is Wormwood, used for worms and the
illegal narcotic alcoholic
beverage, Absinthe. Artemisia dranunculus is Dragon Sagewort, commonly known
as the spice Tarragon.
It has a a green leaf with no shine or pubescence. There is a threatened
Artemisia that grows on the
Deschutes River (that's in Oregon).
Mugwort is a very interesting plant deep in historical references. It is
to promote prophetic dreams. I don't find this to be true all the time. It
me that Mugwort intensifies the dreaming process. It all depends on where you
are in this process.
If you don't dream, Mugwort will help you to dream, but you may not remember
them. If you don't remember your dreams Mugwort will help you to remember
them. If you remember your dreams, Mugwort will help you to have conscious
dreams. Conscious dreams are dreams where you are aware that you are
dreaming and in full control of the situation. If you are consciously dreaming
already, the plant will increase the frequency and control.
None of this implies that the dreams will be pleasant. Some people don't
remember their dreams for a reason. Mugwort can cause nightmares and
restless dreams leading to lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep. I know of an
essential oil company that puts a warning on their Artemisia oil: Caution, may
Certainly, Mugwort can lead to prophetic dreams if that is what you are
into. I do
not prefer that course of dream work. It is all up to you. One of my long term
students feels that Mugwort is the most reality altering of all the