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Magical and Medicinal Benefits of Mugwort

picture of garden sage and magical properties of sage

The Magical and Medicinal Benefits of Mugwort: the Dream Weed

Scientific Name: Artemisia vulagaris

Gender: Feminine

Element: Earth 

Planet: Venus 

Mugwort is a powerful herb with an extensive history around the globe. This "dream weed" has been highly regarded as an herb of spiritual protection, healing, and magic. It's use has fallen behind (and almost off the radar) in modern western medicine, but Mugwort's importance as part of an age that shaped medical history remains the same.

The benefits of Mugwort in Magic have also been utilized for centuries, best known for it's ability to produce prophetic dreams. 

Mugwort is of the asteracea (sunflower) family in the genus artemisia. Artemisia derives it's name from Artemis, Greek goddess of the moon, fertility, and creativity. From the name itself one can conclude that Mugwort has strong lunar associations. The name Mugwort does not have clear origins. Some claim it comes from the old Norse "muggi", meaning marsh. Others say it is derived from the old English "moughte", meaning moth or gnat, for Mugwort's ability to repel insects. Still others think that the name refers to mug, as in the drinking vessel, as it was used to flavor beer before the introduction of hops in medieval Europe. The second part of the name "wort" is common in many plants, and means plant or root.

There are several varieties of Mugwort, but for the purpose of this post we're focusing on common mugwort, or artemisia vulgaris. White sagebrush (artemisia ludoviciana), wild wormwood (artemisia absinthium), and sweet wormwood (artemisia annua, or sweet annie) are a few other popular varieties of Mugwort.

image of wormwood plant

Where Does Mugwort Grow?

Thought to originate from Eurasia and North Africa, Mugwort quickly spread to most continents. The common variety of Mugwort is a tall perennial herb considered invasive in many areas. I most definitely understand how this could be! Mugwort quickly spread through the bed I planted it in, and proceeded to take over the entire space within 2 years.

Mugwort grows well in forests, field edges, riverbanks, and road sides. It is recognizable by it's dark green leaves with a silvery underside due to fine, downy hairs. Young plants have green stems that turn deep red or purple as they age through the growing season. Mugwort produces tiny yellow or dark red flowers on clustered branches in late summer.

mugwort flowers blooming
mugwort flowers, ​​canva image

Benefits of Mugwort in Herbal Medicine

Mugwort is considered to have warm and dry energetics with several herbal actions. It can be used topically or internally as herbal infusions, tinctures, or even as a flower essence. It is most commonly used as an abortifacient, meaning it increases pelvic blood flow and promotes menstruation. For this reason Mugwort should NEVER be used during preganancy. It is also used to aid digestion, stimulate apatite, and calm the stomach. Mugwort is a strong anti-fungal, used topically to treat ring worm and athlete's foot. It can also be used topically for general first aid due to it's antimicrobial properties. Check out our Mugwort Herbal Infused Oil, made from Mugwort that is grown organically on our farm (for topical use).

The benefits of Mugwort are utilized in the traditional Chinese medicine practice of moxibustion, which is the heating of specific acupuncture points by burning Mugwort close to the skin. Moxibustion is a form of heat therapy used in combination with acupuncture, and could be considered the Yin alternative to the Yang of acupuncture. 

practioner performs moxibustion
moxibustion, ​​canva image

Magical Benefits of Mugwort and Mugwort Folklore

Mugwort is a versatile herb that has been used in magic and ritual for centuries. From dream work to protection and divination, the benefits of Mugwort are abundant.

Magical Benefits of Mugwort include:

  • prophetic dreams
  • psychic powers
  • protection
  • strength
  • astral projection
  • stamina
  • love
  • healing
  • divination
  • scrying rituals
  • cleansing magical tools

Mugwort and Dreams:

One of the most widely used benefits of Mugwort is for dreams. It is a visionary herb used to enhance dreams, encourage prophetic dreams and lucid dreaming. It allows for awareness of the dream meaning in waking, easier remembrance of dreams, and offers dream clarity. Mugwort allows access to our subconscious mind, which can help deliver intutive guidance from dreams. 

Mugwort can be used for dream work by burning, adding to a dream pillow, or smoking - usually in an herbal smoking blend. Even just keeping a few leaves under your pillow can work well too! Mugwort is in our Dream Magick Loose Herbal Incense, and we also have these beautiful Mugwort and Floral Smoke Cleansing Sticks available during our Spring and Summer seasons. They are made with Mugwort and seasonal herbs and flowers that grow here on our farm.

mugwort and floral smoke celansing sticks

Mugwort for Protection

It is said that John the Baptist wore a belt of Mugwort for protection in the wilderness, and in Holland and Germany it was believed that gathering Mugwort on St. John's Eve brought extra protection from illness and bad luck. This is how Mugwort got the folk nickname St John's plant - not to be confused with St. John's Wort, which is a totally different plant. Legend has it that Roman soldiers used the benefits of Mugwort by keeping leaves in their shoes for protection in battle and to keep from tiring. Mugwort placed under the pillow at night can protect from astral and psychic attacks. In China sprigs of Mugwort are hung over doorways to keep negative energies and evil spirits from entering.

Mugwort can be used for protection by burning in a smoke cleansing ritual along with rosemary and cedar. Alternatively, a cleansing wash can be made by steeping the herbs in hot water, then using the water to wipe down floors, doors, and windows. 

fresh mugwort and oil bottle
Katie ​​Mae Naturals

Mugwort for Divination

Mugwort is widely used to cleanse before rituals, meditations, and other magical workings. It is burned before divinations like tarot, rune, and tea leaf readings. This magical herb activates the third eye and sharpens intuitive abilities. Use Mugwort infused oil to aid in these divinatory practices by dabbing the oil the middle of the forehead (the third eye) and temples.

Add dried or fresh Mugwort to bath water for cleansing the aura when feeling fearful or anxious. Mugwort Oil can be used in the bath as well and has the added benefit of moisturizing the skin ;). Use an infusion of Mugwort steeped in water to wash magical tools, crystal balls, and scrying mirrors.

Try making your own Mugwort Ritual Oil with the recipe below.

mugwort ritual oil recipe
Katie ​​Mae Naturals

Mugwort, a Highly Valued and Magical Herb

The boundless benefits of Mugwort are truly incredible. This herb has the power to connect us to our spirituality in ways that no other herb can. Mugwort brings forth our femininity and joins our earthly self with the divine self. It reminds us of our relationship with the moon and our wild natural roots. Mugwort illuminates our strengths, evokes our personal power, and shows us the magic that we are all capable of.

common mugwort plants
Katie ​​Mae Naturals


The Modern Witchcraft Guide to Magickal Herbs - Judy Ann Nock

Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs - Scott Cunningham

Herb Magic, and Introduction to Magical Herbalism and Spells - Patti Wigington

A Modern Herbal - Mrs. M. Grieve