The Foraging Series: Mugwort
The Western world seems to cultivate a generally anxious culture. Questions like “what do you do?” “where do you study?” and “who do you know?” seem to be mental prerequisites for conversation topics. The idea of proving one's life is constantly at the forefront of the average Americans’ mind.
This pre-existing anxiety has gained a new layer of tension which derives from fears of COVID-19 and national unrest. The atmosphere is very restless all around the world at this time. Here at Qi Alchemy, we believe in looking into natural ingredients and remedies to help improve our mental and physical health. There are natural substances we have found that can help aid with the anxiety and stress our world can bring. This week our favorite natural remedy for anxiety comes from a plant called mugwort.
Mugwort ( Artemisia vulgaris L.) has been foraged in Korean culture, as well as many others, since ancient times. It helps with calming nerves, aiding menstrual pains and with sleep. The hardy plant was named after “Artemis,” the ancient Greek Goddess of the hearth, vegetation and childbirth. The origins of its name makes sense as it was known in medieval times as the “the women's herb.” Women would drink mugwort tea during their period every month to aid with menstrual pains. Ancient Roman warriors would also put mugwort in their shoes to ease the pain from walking long distances to battle. It was seen as a protecting and calming herb, and for the more superstitious, it has been said to ward off evil spirits.
Mugwort is as much a practical herb, as a spiritual herb . It can be used to purify spaces in a similar way to incense, and has a well known effect on dreams . It is said that if you place mugwort under your pillow at night, your dreams will be more vivid and intense.
The plant is native to Northern Europe, and Asia, but it also grows in many parts of North America. Generally thought of as a weed, it can be found in the local yard or garden. It is very tenacious and is commonly sighted growing in rocky soils, along streams, embankments, and in rubble.
Our favorite way to enjoy Mugwort here at Qi Alchemy is as an afternoon or bed-time tea with some of our Qi Alchemy herbal pearls dissolved into it for extra flavor and health properties.
Written and photographed by Isabella Cammarata