Herb of the Month - April/Mugwort






Artemisia vulgaris


Family: Compositae

Names: By Foot, felon herb, St. John’s Plant, Maiden Wort, Mother’s wort, womb’s wort, Mugwurz, powerwort, solstice girdle, thorwort; Echter Beifuss, Mugwurz, Gánsekraut, Belfuss, Beifuβ (German); armoise, armoise commune,
herbe de St. Jean, Ceinture de Saint-Jean (French); artemisia, assenzio, amarelle, erba di San Giovanni, amarelle, campaccio, assenzio selvatico (Italian); zona diri Johannis, Artemisa común, ajenja, artemisia, hierba de San Juan (Spanish); Hao-shu, ai-hao, ch’i-ai, i-ts’ao, k’iai, chih-ts’ao, chiu-ts’ao (Chinese); bijvoet (Dutch); Harilik puju (Estonian); Berendjasef (Farsi); Pujo (Finnish); Liath lus (Gaelic); Fekete üröm, Anyafû, Taplóüröm (Hungarian);
Nat (Laotian); Bylica pospolita (Polish); Gråbo (Swedish); artemisia verdaderia (Portuguese); afsantin-e-hindi (Arabic)

Description: A single-stemmed plant with floppy leaves. The height is up to 6 feet and a width of 1-2 feet. The flowers are tiny, redbrown, wooly, clustered on stem tips. The leaves are elongated oval, but deeply toothed on end into points; green top with fuzzy silver white underneath, to 4 inches long. Blooms from July to August. Native to Europe and Asia and naturalized in the US

Cultivation: This is a perennial to Zone 2-3. It germinates in 10-24 days. Space 1 foot apart in a soil with temperature of 65-70F. Soil preferred is dry or moist and it likes nitrogen and a pH of 5-8.5. Needs full sun. Can be propagated by seed or dividing clumps. In moist garden soil, it will spread rapidly by runners. Harvest stems to be used for moxa sticks from July to September when Mugwort
is flowering. Cut plants a little above the ground and hang them singly upside down to dry in an airy, shaded spot. When dry strip the leaves and flowers from the stems. Mugwort root is best dug up in November.


Constituents: Volatile oil containing linalool, 1,8-cineole, B-thujone, borneol, nerol, neryl acetate, linalyl acetate, myrcene, vulgarole, cadinenol, muurolol, spathulenol and others; Vulgarin, a sesquiterpene lactone; flavonoids: quercitin-3-glucoside, quercitin-3- rhamnoglucoside and 5,3’-dihydroxy-3,7,4’- trimethoxyflavone; coumarin derivatives: 7,8- methylendioxy-9- ethoxycoumarin; triterpenes such as 3B-hydroxurs-12-en-27,28-dionic acid, B-amyrin, B-sitosterol

Actions: bitter digestive tonic, uterine stimulant, stimulating nervine, menstrual
regulator, antirheumatic, anthelmintic, antispasmodic, carminative, choleretic, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, orexigenic, stomachic, vermifuge

Character: bitter, pungent, drying, quite cold.

Meridians/Organs affected: liver, spleen, kidneys

History: Once known in Europe as the Mother of Herbs or Mater Herbarum, mugwort appears in ancient lore long before Dioscorides praised it in the 1st century. It was one of the 9 healing herbs of the Anglo-Saxons and is thought to be the girdle worn by St. John the Baptist in the Bible. When black tea prices rose in early-19thcentury Cornwall, England, it became a popular tea. Roman centurians reputedly placed it in their sandals to keep the soles of their feet in
good shape. The origins of its name appear to be as confused as the intoxicated state mugwort produces. Some suggest it originated with mygge, meaning “midge”—any small insect, such a a gant—or with the old English magat,
or “maggot.” However, it is the wool moth that mugwort deters, and a better possibility would be mothe, Anglo-Saxon for “moth.” On the other hand, a few authors claim it comes from the Irish mugan, a mug that holds beer— mugwort beer. Dioscorides recounted that the goddess Artemis (who inspired the plant’s
genus name) was believed to give succur to women in childbirth. A 13th century Welsh herbal The Physicians of Myddfai recommended “If a woman be unable to give birth to her child let the mugwort be bound to her left thigh. Let it be instantly removed when she has been delivered, lest there should be haemorrhage.”

An 18th century Spanish herbalist, Diego de Torres, recommended the application of a mugwort plaster below the navel as an effective method of inducing labor. In Poland, Mugwort collected from nine different fields would increase a woman’s fertility. A baby was bathed in mugwort and thyme in order to give the child strength. It was tucked in the eaves of the house in order to
protect it against “uncleanliness” on St. John’s Eve. Both mugwort and wormwood were placed in the coffin in the belief that it would delay decomposition of the body. A few long branches were sprinkled with sour milk and hung from a beam generally near the ceiling of the house. The flies then clustered on the branch and stopped plaguing the inhabitants. When enough flies had settled on the branch, two people cautiously approached it with an
open sack and captured the insects. The sack would then be taken outside and disposed of.
Villagers wiped their hands in mugwort in order to keep the bees from stinging. .
Throughout the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and into modern times, European practitioners used mugwort almost exclusively as a woman’s remedy. A few who describe the healing properties are Hildegardof Bingen, Paracelsus and Culpepper. It was used to increase fertility, ease birth, stimulate the
afterbirth, alleviate menstrual pains and balance menstrual irregularities. Mugwort is included in the bunch of herbs offered for Mary’s blessing on the Day of the Assumption in the southern Catholic regions of Germany. Some people burn Mugwort as incense in the stables on Assumption Day to protect the animals from disease. The name “by foot” comes from the belief that when bound to the legs it takes away the tiredness of travelers. One other intriguing sentiment about Mugwort is that it can aid in the magick of criminal detection. A
"superstition" exists that in Japan, placing a cone of Moxa in the footprint of a thief would cause the thief to get a "hot foot", that is he would feel a burning sensation as if the cone were on his foot.
During the Middle Ages, Russian physicians used it against epilepsy, while the Mongols massaged it into their calves to prevent cramping and muscle fatigue caused by horseback riding for a long time. During this time in all Northern European countries, on the feast day of St. John, dancers would leap around a fire wearing a crown made from mugwort to protect them from disease during the coming year. The French name armoise is taken from the Greek goddess Artemis who represents the emancipated woman. Language of Flowers: Happiness, tranquility, travel, “be not weary”
 

Medicinal Uses: A digestive and tonic herb, mugwort has a wide variety of traditional uses. Milder in action than most other Artemisia species, it can be taken over the long term at a low dose to improve appetite, digestive function, promotes liver detoxification and absorption of nutrients. In addition to encouraging the elimination of worms, mugwort increases bile flow. Mugwort has
long been used in the West to promote menstruation (yet is found in Chinese formulas to prevent miscarriage). Use a standard infusion of two teaspoons per cup of water steeped for 20 minutes, take ¼ cup flour times a day. A tea or compress was used to speed labor and help expel the afterbirth. Mugwort decreases external inflammation and, in both China and Europe, a poultice is traditionally placed on rheumatic and arthritic pains.
In Russia, it is extracted in vodka for swellings, wounds, and various skin problems. It is also a fairly effective poison oak treatment. Mugwort is also an antiseptic and has been used in the treatment of malaria. Mugwort is known to serve as substitute for tobacco, bearing the folk name, "Sailor's Tobacco". Likewise, it has been considered as a substitute for cannabis, in the sense that it has very mild relaxing, rather than inebriating properties, and the ability to offset symptoms of withdrawals from various substances of abuse. It is often cited as a herbal treatment for opium addiction. Additionally, it tends to have aromatic properties when burned that are reminiscent of cannabis when burned, therefore
adding to its potential as a cannabis substitute. It makes a good foot bath for tired feet and legs. Cleansing to the liver, it promotes digestion. Mugwort is an emmenagogue, especially when combined with pennyroyal, blue cohosh, or angelica root. It is helpful in epilepsy, palsy, and hysteria and is useful for
fevers.

Toxicity: Avoid large amounts or continued consumption which can adversely affect the nervous system. Don’t use while pregnant

Ritual Uses: Mugwort is prominent among many women’s covens to express adoration of the goddess Diana. It is said to protect travelers from fatigue, sunstroke, wild animals, and evil spirits. When cleaning a child’s room,
mugwort water might be aspurged to protect one’s children. When your home is battered by a storm or when your life feels threatened by impending danger, it is believed that dried mugwort should be tossed into the hearth fire to
keep you safe. A crown of it is worn at Midsummer. It is also used as a bathing herb prior to the shortest night offering many blessings. Bunches of dried mugwort from the previous year’s harvest may be tossed into the Midsummer fire.
A tea or a pillow of it brings vivid prophetic dreams and helps one to contact
the astral realm. Use the tea and incense to help in scrying. Mugwort is used in magick to activate instruments of divination- crystal balls and magic mirror- although it is sometimes phrased that the role of Mugwort is to "cleanse" the instrument. Mugwort’s most striking claim to fame being magnetic in character, however, is that it is often known as "compass plant", owing to the fact that it’s leaves tend to arrange themselves with the North-South lines of the earth’s magnetic field. Worn as an amulet, the herb’s root bestowed strength and health.

*Material contained herein, is not intended to treat or diagnose, always use caution and educate yourself before using anything medicinally.
 
 





Category: 1 comments

1 comments:

MidnightSage said...

Great info on mugwort. I grew it in my garden in Minnesota and I dried some of the herb and I made my Autumn broom from it. :)

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