Mugwort – Dream Plant with a Long History

Aromatic mugwort has been used to help women with menstrual and menopausal issues, it has been included with greens to stuff geese, and used to make beer before hops became popular.

Its generic name, Artemisia, comes from the Greek moon goddess, Artemis, patron of women.

In Pagan ceremonies, a belt of mugwort was worn while dancing around the fire summer solstice celebrations. When the dance was over, the plant was thrown into the flames to ensure protection for the coming year.

Romans planted it at the edges of roads so travelers could put it in their shoes to relieve aching feet.

Some Native Americans rubbed mugwort leaves on their skin to prevent poison oak rash.

They called it the ‘dream plant’ because they believed that it helped to remember their dreams.

For this purpose, they dried the leaves, burned them as incense, or stuffed them in pillows to sleep on.

Sometimes mugwort was worn on the body to keep ghosts away or to ward off evil dreams.

The next time you are out in the grassy wilds of Nevada County or walking near the creek, look for mugwort. Roll a fragrant leaf between your fingers and smell it while thinking about the many ways people have used this plant.


Resources:, mugwort, medicine, pharmacology, mugwort

Native American Plant Mythology website

Native American herbal books on Amazon

Indian Herbal Remedies: Rational Western Therapy, Ayurvedic and other Traditional Usage, Botany (Google books)

Artemsia, douglasiana – California Mugwart – Wikipedia

Mugwart – WebMD, overview, uses, side effects, interactions and dosing

PDF – Central Miwok Ceremonies, Anthropological Records, by E. W. Gifford, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1955

Artemis, Greek Mythology

Life on The Creek Art:

$5 from every sale of ‘Life on the Creek’ art goes to support the website/film production project. Upon completion, the proceeds will be donated to Deer Creek watershed stewardship organizations.nizations.

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