Artemesia douglasiana, or mugwort, is named in several ancient herbal texts as ylodst wyrta, the oldest herb, or the first herb, sometimes referred to as ‘Una’. It is an ancient herb, with the wisdom of thousands of years of adaptation on planet earth, truly one of the ‘first peoples’. It finds a place in the pharmacopoeia of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, Native American, and western herbalism.
Both Matthew Wood, in his ‘Earthwise Herbal’ and Cecelia Garcia, Chumash medicine woman, refer to mugwort as an important herb for dealing with addiction, as well as addressing all manner of feminine concerns. ‘It is in greatest esteem among midwives and nurses’, wrote John Quincy (1736). As shown by it’s latin binomial, it is associate with Artemis, the huntress, goddess of the moon and mother of nature. It is considered a gynecological panacea.
Mugwort is ‘restorative when there has been obstetric injury, abortion, abuse, poverty, deprivation. It is as if the male part has rushed ahead to protect the female part. Mugwort is restorative to the female nature’, writes Matthew Wood. It has been used traditionally in Japan in gomogi mochi, a glutinous rice dumpling with pounded mugwort, used to provide stamina and stop postpartum bleeding and anemia, and to promote lactation.
Cecelia Garcia, in ‘Healing with Medicinal Plants of the West’ writes that mugwort was traditionally used by the Chumash for menopause, hot flashes, dysmenorrhea, and premenstrual syndrome. I myself have found it extremely helpful as a tea during my moon time to deal with slight headaches, grumpiness, and cramping. It was also used to promote good dreams and increase intuition, deep sleep, and dream awareness.
We will be learning more about this amazing ally during my upcoming Spring Foraging and Wildcrafting Workshop. Join me there to connect more deeply with this ancient being of healing power.