Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Magickal Herbs – The Uses of Mugwort

The Traditional, Herbal and Magickal uses of the very versatile herb mugwort.

Mugwort is the common name of Artemisia Vulgaris, and is also known as Moxa, Felon-weed, Sailor’s Tobacco, Artemis’ Herb, Naughty man, Old man, Old Uncle Henry, Muggons, St. Johns’ Plant, and Cingulum Sacti Johannis. Mugwort is a member of the Daisy family and grows like a weed in many places.

Traditional Uses of Mugwort

Many medieval stories and legends tell of shoes stuffed with mugwort to prevent the traveller from fatigue and sore feet. When dried and rubbed, the leaves become quite woolly, so it certainly would have cushioned the feet and perhaps kept them warm. In England of long ago, mugwort was used as a tea substitute, and was used in beer-brewing, and many Eastern European countries used mugwort in poultry stuffing. Mugwort repels some insects, and can be laid between rows of vegetables to deter moths.

Mugwort was believed to protect against poison, wild beasts, demons and sunstroke. Ancient tradition says that placing mugwort in a building prevents elves and “evil thynges” from entering. Legend tells that St. John the Baptist wore a belt or cingulum woven from mugwort when he was wandering in the wilderness. In China, the Dragon Festival sees bunches of mugwort hung around the home to keep away evil spirits. In Japan, the Ainus burn large amounts of mugwort to remove the evil spirits of disease.

Herbal Medicinal Uses of Mugwort

Medicinally, mugwort is listed as being good for all things female, especially childbirth and menopause as endorsed by Culpeper, Hippocrates and Dioscorides. As a tea, mugwort is a diuretic and can be used for treating feverish colds. In a bath, it is also good for feverish colds, but is recommended for rheumatism and aching legs as well. In Chinese Traditional Medicine, mugwort is known as Moxa and used in the process called moxibustion.

Before taking any herb internally, be sure that it is correctly identified first and check with a qualified medical herbalist.

Magickal Properties of Mugwort

In Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Scott Cunningham describes mugwort as being feminine, under the influence of Venus, the element of Earth and sacred to Artemis and Diana. Wylundt’s Book of Incense mostly agrees, but gives mugwort to the element of Air, although this may be because Wylundt is talking about using mugwort incense.

The most common magickal usage of mugwort involves prophecy and divination. A dream pillow of mugwort is said to produce prophetic dreams and aid in achieving astral projection. An infusion of mugwort is used to wash magic mirrors and crystal balls or any other scrying tools that can handle being wet. Mugwort can be stuffed into a pillow to rest a crystal ball on when scrying or leaves can be sprinkled around the base. A tea made from mugwort and drunk before beginning a divination can enhance psychic ability and development.

Mugwort is also used for protection. An incense including mugwort can be burned to protect the home. An amulet or mojo bag stuffed with mugwort is said to protect the traveller from misfortune.

In Shamanic practice, mugwort is used for consecration and purification. Burned in a manner similar to smudging or as incense, mugwort is used to clear the messy energies of the day and the outside world. Paul Beyerl also lists mugwort as being traditional for consecration of all silver tools.

Mugwort is quite a commonly used plant, and an essential component of any Witches herb cabinet.


Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham, Second Edition, Llewellyn Publications, Minnesota, 2002.

Wylundt’s Book of Incense by Steven R Smith, Samuel Weiser, Inc, Maine, 1996.

The Master Book of Herbalism by Paul Beyerl, Phoenix Publishing Co, Washington, 1996.

Reader’s Digest Magic and Medicine of Plants, Readers Digest, Australia, 1994. – retrieved 3 September 2010.

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