A long-revered magical herb, Mugwort is so called because it was used in beer as a bitter and hypnotic additive, having similar effects to Hops. Magically, Mugwort is associated with dreaming, and is often included in dream pillows and sachets. Its Latin name honors Artemis, the goddess of the moon, and Mugwort’s silvery leaf undersides and sedative and dreamy nature are very Moony, indeed.
Mugwort is tonic to the nerves, calming and sedative, easing you into sleep, but also greatly increasing dreams. This may be due to one of Mugwort’s constituents which keeps the mind from deep sleep, so that the sleeper remains suspended in the more active dream state for the entire night.
In ancient Europe, Mugwort’s habit of growing profusely along roadsides showed it to have the signature of a traveler’s herb, protecting those who journey. In fact, Mugwort’s primary gift to dreamwork is as a protective from negativity when the spirit is outside the self and vulnerable. This plant helps us dream into the subtle worlds to see life from that perspective, but also helps bring us back should we lose our way.
Throughout all cultures and times, the world’s many Artemisias are revered for this gift of balancing the spirit and physical worlds, used as a wash or smudge to create a screen which keeps negative influence out but allows us communion with positive energies.
As a daytime tonic, Mugwort is supportive to digestion, especially for those who suffer poor digestion of fats or dairy. It is also helpful for allergies and allergic headaches, from hay fever or food. Mugwort is quite bitter, and stimulates the liver and movement of toxins, which it also supports energetically, the reason for its use in moxibustion by acupuncturists.
It is especially clearing to uterine stagnation, warming and acting as an emmenagogue, and so should be avoided in pregnancy.