When I first met mugwort, the experience was reminiscent of meeting an old summer camp friend in the grocery store. Someone who had lived in a completely different state, who you never thought you would see again. You lock eyes and run to one another with exclamations! Oh my god, MUGWORT! my heart swelled as I rounded up to a large patch of the weed growing a foot high. Oh my god, Kristen! I am certain this plant was just as excited to meet me as I was to meet her.
With her green and silver glow, her wildly waving leaves, and her dream like qualities, mugwort is an herbal ally that women have valued for centuries. This is a plant that was sewn into the lines of skirts and dresses so that women would have her with them as they tread into new land overseas.
Associated with the goddess Artemis, and incredibly common all throughout the United States, Artemis vulgaris, is an incredible ally to bring into your life and your yoga practice. She is a favorite of mine to find in nature and to work with because her effects are so obvious and strong without being too overwhelming. Let’s just say that when you invite in Mugwort, you will know she is there. Like a fierce feminine goddess, her presence will be felt.
TOP BENEFITS OF MUGWORT
DIGESTION: Mugwort is considered a BITTER TONIC. Because of it’s bitter properties, it supports proper digestion and assimilation by stimulating the liver to produce digestive fluids and stimulates the gall bladder to release digestive juices before a meal.
NERVOUS SYSTEM: Mugwort is also a NERVINE which means that it can help relax the nervous system. Because of it’s bitter properties, it can also have some benefit to the relief of anxiety and depression.
REPRODUCTION SYSTEM: As an EMMENOGOGUE and UTERINE STIMULANT there is no question as to why women were so keen to bring the seeds of this plant across the ocean with them from England. Mugwort can help you get your period if it is stagnant and it can help relieve symptoms of pms, tension, and the buildup/crash aspects of getting your moon. For these effects, simply drink mugwort tea when it’s close to your bleeding time. Drinking it regularly, especially along with it’s cousin red raspberry leaf, can harmonize the cycle.
ENERGY BODY: Mugwort is a prime mover of stagnant prana. As mentioned above, this benefit can really be seen within the female body as something that might encourage menstrual blood to flow but I find it to be helpful in other areas, especially mentally and spiritually. I burn mugwort when I am trying to clear out energy that may be blocking me in my meditation practice and to help me get over the sluggish stagnation I experience in the winter.
DREAM LIFE: One of the most traditional and interesting effects of working with mugwort is that it can promote very vivid dreams. For those lucid dreamers, working with mugwort can really enhance your experience. In my own experience with these properties, I have found that some of my most lucid dreaming experiences have occurred after mugwort was brought into my intuition enhancing yoga classes. In the yoga sutras, Patanjali suggests that meditating on dreams can stabilize and clear the mind which assists us in overcoming the obstacles in the way of reaching goals. Experiment a bit with this suggestion. I notice myself that the first few nights of bringing mugwort to bed with me, my dreams a very vivid and can be quite shocking to my sleep schedule if I am under a lot of stress. After a few nights the effects become less dramatic. Also note that some people experience a fairly stimulating effect from this herb while some people experience a hypnotic effect. Again, do some experimenting and see how it effects you.
HOW TO WORK WITH MUGWORT
There are many ways to work with mugwort depending on what you need from the herb!
- Herbal oil or salve: this is a great way to bring mugwort into your yoga practice and it's very easy to make. Once you harvest your oil made from dried or fresh herb, simply bring the bottle or jar into your yoga classes and add a drop to your third eye.
- Tea: If you like drinking tea, add mugwort into your blend. I suggest mixing it with red raspberry, ginger, and roses and lavender for a women's tea to help harmonize your cycle or with chamomile, lavender, and passionflower as an evening sleepy tea or for really stressful days. The herb on it's own can be a bit bitter to some so mixing it with some other friends is a good call.
- Tincture: Using an alcoholic extract is a good call if you are really trying to work with this plant to promote menstruation or movement of stagnant energy. It is also particularly good to take a few drops undiluted on the tongue before a meal to stimulate digestion
- Smudge: I was recently gifted a jar of dried mugwort that my friend grew herself and have been using it in my morning practice and classes to open the space instead of sage and palo santo which are considered to be endangered or near endangered due to over harvesting. It makes a great smudging herb and has a wonderful burning smell that I find very pleasant.
SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE!
Have you used mugwort before? What did you notice about the experience with this plant? We'd love to hear from you!