WALKING WITH MUGWORT

As you walk through the untamed parts of the local landscape this summer, you might encounter the remarkable Mugwort, fluttering its silvery leaves in the breeze. This herb is not only steeped in the rich soil of our lands but also in the myths and legends of our past, making it a fascinating plant for both novice and experienced herbalists.

The Practical Magic of Mugwort

Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) is much loved in herbal medicine, primarily for its effects on the digestive and nervous systems. As a bitter herb, it stimulates the secretion of digestive juices, thereby easing indigestion, bloating, and gas. It is also used to promote menstruation and alleviate menstrual pains due to its emmenagogue properties. For those struggling with sleep or needing a moment of calm, Mugwort can act as a mild sedative, helping to ease anxiety and settle nerves. This makes it excellent for preparing the body and mind for a restful night’s sleep.

Historically, Mugwort was believed to protect travelers on their journeys and shield them against evil spirits. It was also thought to provide relief from tiredness and ensure physical safety. Mugwort was used by ancient cultures to provoke visionary and lucid dreaming experiences. It was often placed under pillows to inspire prophetic dreams or carried as an amulet for protection.

While Mugwort is a treasure in herbal medicine, it is not suitable for everyone. It should be avoided during pregnancy due to its emmenagogue and abortifacient properties, which can stimulate uterine contractions. Those with allergies to other members of the Asteraceae family, such as ragweed, may also experience allergic reactions. As with any herb, it is wise to consult with a medical herbalist before starting any new herbal protocols, especially for those with existing health conditions or who are taking other medications.

RECIPE: Mugwort Oxymel for Better Sleep

Make the most of the calming qualities of Mugwort and its herbal friends by creating this simple but magical oxymel. It’s the ideal potion for easing into a peaceful night – it can bring on vivid dreaming for some! Feel free to play around with the ingredients and quantities – herbal medicine making should be fun and personalised!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of dried Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
  • 1/4 cup of Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
  • 1/4 cup of Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
  • 1/8 cup of Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
  • 1/8 cup of Hops (Humulus lupulus)
  • Enough organic apple cider vinegar to cover the herbs (about one cup)
  • One cup of local honey (adjust quantity to your personal preference in terms of sweetness)

Method:

  • Combine the herbs in a clean Kilner jar.
  • Cover the plant material with apple cider vinegar and add the liquid honey. Give the liquid a good stir. The blend of sweetness and tang is just right for extracting the herbs’ soothing properties.
  • Seal the jar and store it in a cool, dark place for two to four weeks, shaking occasionally to keep the mixture active.
  • Strain your potion through a muslin cloth lined sieve and into a dark sterilised bottle, ready to soothe you to sleep.
  • Your oxymel should last about six months.
  • Stir a tablespoon into warm water before bed, and let its magic carry you into dreamland.

Mugwort’s long history, practical benefits, and mystical qualities make it a much loved herb in the world of natural remedies. Incorporating this ancient brew into your nightly routine not only offers a nod to the knowledgeable herbalists who came before us but also connects you with the deep, restorative power of the earth. I hope you enjoy the peaceful sleep and vivid dreams it brings!

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