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Mugwort by Sue Perryman

Artemisia vulgaris

Other Names: Artemisia, Witches herb, Old man, Muggons, Sailors tobacco, Smotherwort, Felon herb, Mother's wort, St. John's plant, Cronewort.

Planetary ruler: Moon/ Venus

Element: Earth

Gender: Female

Magical properties: Strength, psychic powers, protection, prophetic dreams, healing, astral travel, feminine energy, cleansing, divination.

Mugwort is a perennial herb that grows to between 2-4 ft. It is native to Europe and is found growing in waste ground and road sides. Its leaves are lance-shaped, dark green on top and silver underneath. It is a rapidly spreading plant, so best planted in pots (which I didn’t know when I planted some in a border a few years ago!)

Mugwort gets its Latin name of 'Artemisia ' from the Greek goddess Artemis, the moon goddess and patron of women. The English name 'Mugwort' may derive from its use in brewing or could be a derivation of the Old English 'mucgwyrt' meaning 'midgewort' as it repels insects. The folk name 'St. John's plant' comes from the belief that John the Baptist wore a girdle of Mugwort in the Wilderness.

Mugwort is one of the herbs mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon 9 herb charm from the 10th century, and it was hailed as a cure for 'elf shot' which appears to be a catch-all term for most illness's, blamed upon invisible arrows of the Fae. In the 9th century Bald's Leechbook it was recommended for casting out demons.

Pliny recommended that travellers place sprigs of it in their shoes to prevent tiredness as well as suggesting that Mugwort would aid women’s troubles.

At Midsummer festivals, girls would wear garlands of Mugwort while dancing around the bonfires, before casting them into the fire for protection for the coming year.

Mugwort is said to protect against lightening, wild beasts, illness and evil.

Hang sachets of Mugwort over your door as a protective charm or carry one with you.

Place under your pillow for prophetic dreams and peaceful sleep.

Burn the dried herb as incense during your divination readings to enhance your psychic powers.

Drink Mugwort tea to aid in astral travel, trance or deep meditation. The tea can also be used to cleanse and protect your crystals and ritual tools, or as a protective floor wash.

Make Mugwort smudge sticks to cleanse and protect your home as an alternative to sage.

Throw onto your Midsummer fire for protection.


Herbcraft - Anna Franklin and Susan Lavender

The Witch’s Herbal - Michael Howard

Image from Wikipedia

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