Herb of Protection, Herb of Dreams: Mugwort
The Latin binomial of our friend, Mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris, reveals its link to the Goddess Artemis, Divine Hunter, Queen of the Wild, Lover of Nymphs, Protector of small children, and guardian of women in childbirth. The plant is said to protect against the evil eye and promote a long-life. An oil of Mugwort is used to anoint crystal balls and scrying mirrors, a tea of the herb is drunk to promote visions, and prophetic dreams come to those who keep a small pouch of it beneath their pillow. Mugwort is also an ingredient in blends meant to help the spirit leave the body and journey to lands beyond our own realm.
The scent of Mugwort is very distinct and lingers for hours. It is said to be a smell that turns away the spirits of discomfort and disease, protecting households from their influence. Carried on the person in a red pouch of cotton or wool, Mugwort protects travelers, bringing them home again safely. You can also achieve the same affect by sticking a bit in your shoes.
moxibustion kit from commons.wikimedia.org
Medicinally Mugwort is used in small doses to promote good digestion and regulate the menstrual cycle. It has also been used to clear the body of toxins and parasites. Topically, Mugwort can be used in a compress to treat rashes, itching, insect bits, and reduce the swelling of arthritic joints. As a poultice, Mugwort is useful in getting rid of warts and as a hair rinse it is supposed to prevent hair loss. Known as Moxa in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Mugwort is commonly used in a practice called Moxibustion in which Mugwort is burned like an incense stick close to different positions on the body (like Acupuncture points). Used in this way, Mugwort promotes warmth and vitality in the body, especially in the pelvic area and uterus, and is useful in turning breech babies.
I use Mugwort usually in tincture form and in small doses to cleanse the body of toxins and parasites. I also use it as moxibustion to move stagnant energy in the body. If you burn Mugwort as an incense or in moxibustion, make sure to do so in a well-ventilated environment as the smell is quite distinct and can last for a few hours.