Mugwort. It's the quintessential "Witchy" herb. Just the sound of it- "Mug-WORT" sounds Witchy. You don't very often find non-Pagan folk talking about it either. After all, it's not something most people use regularly. It's not much of a seasoning or a spice. Usually when mugwort makes an appearance, it's for a reason.
Mugwort is a recent addition to my kitchen. I sort of struggle with keeping plants alive. A green thumb I have not. So far though, with the help of JP, many of my herbs are surviving, if not thriving. The poor mugwort though, has been struggling a bit and it seems to be an abundance, rather than a shortage, of water that's the culprit.
Mugwort is a tall "woody" herb, often growing in excess of 3 feet, with dark green leaves that take on a silvery appearance due to dense, fuzzy hairs on the undersides. When it flowers they come out either dark red or yellow. Mine has not yet flowered, but I'm hoping it does. Since it flowers in late summer, from July to September, chances are I won't see any petals this year.
It was once commonly used to flavor drinks, hence the name "mug"wort. It was commonly used to flavor beer before the prevalent use of hops. The plant was gathered only after flowering, and the leaves were dried. Many believe that the fresh plant is unsuitable for this use. In recent years it was still used in some areas to flavor home brews. Sixty or seventy years ago, in Cromwell, the working classes began using the dried herb as a substitute for the then expensive tea. One of the few culinary uses I have found for mugwort is to use the fresh greens to stuff geese before roasting.
As you can imagine, it has a range of magickal uses. Some of the old tales recount the many ways it can be used. In the Middle Ages the plant was called Cingulum Sancti Johannis, and it was believed that John the Baptist wore a girdle of mugwort while in the wilderness to protect him. It's believed to protect travellers from fatigue, sunstroke, wild animals and evil spirits. A crown made of mugwort leaves was worn on St. John's Eve to protect its wearer from possession, and in some places it was thought that if it was gathered on St. John's Eve it would give protection against diseases and misfortunes. *Note: Mugwort, while sometimes called St. John's Plant, should not be confused with St. John's Wort.
In connection with Artemis and her role in child birth, mugwort is believed to stimulate the uterus and aid women in labor. It has also been used as an emmenegogue, meaning it stimulates menstruation when taken by those with irregular or suppressed menses. Because of its ability to induce menstruation, it has also been used as an abortifacient to induce miscarriage, so it should certainly NOT be used by pregnant women. Mugwort has also been used in treating epilepsy, colds, fevers, bronchitis, colic, kidney ailments and as a diuretic. The volatile oils. It has been suggested that mugwort stimulates the uterus, which agrees with some of its other uses as a tonic during labor and to relieve menstrual cramps. Because of its ability to induce menstruation, it has also been used as an abortifacient (to induce miscarriage). The volatile oil in the leaves make a good remedy for indigestion, upset stomachs, and other stomach ailments. Research shows it may lower blood sugar.
Remember Your Dreams Potion
This deceptively simple technique is highly effective, although it may take a little time to get the hang of it. Practice and persistence will be rewarded. Mugwort tea is deemed most effective; however, any beverage may be used.
1) Bring a cup of tea or glass of water to your bedside before going to sleep.
2) Have a sip and tell yourself, "When I awake, I will have another sip and remember my dreams."
3) When you wake up, do so. Keep a dream journal near your bed. It helps to write down what you remember immediately upon waking.