Growing and Using Mugwort

Growing and Using Mugwort
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You're planning your landscape and you realize there is an out of the way spot that's dry, maybe even a little barren and you don't think you can get to it this year. I have an herb for you! Mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris, also known as Felon Herb, cronewort, St. John's Plant, and Wild Wormwood. It can be grown almost anywhere! I know a few fingers are ready to hit reply and yell at me "It's invasive! Don't grow it!", but it can be grown with some care and it really is a fascinating herb with many great uses! Plus, it's such a grand, majestic herb that can tower up to 10 foot in the right conditions. It's hard to resist growing at least one plant if you love herbs.
Mugwort has a fragrance much like sage, some say mixed with a little mint. It's been used throughout the centuries by herbalists, Native Americans and others in many ways. It's used today in dream pillows, sachets or bundles to keep away moths, as a poultice for rashes and stings, and as a bath herb when muscles are sore. Soak your feet in a "tea" or infusion made with mugwort. Travelers would place the leaves of mugwort in their shoes on their walking journeys.

Mugwort is hardy to Zone 3 and grow in most any soil, in any location. It's very drought tolerant and adaptable to almost any conditions. It's reputation for being invasive is deserved, BUT if you grow it, harvest it before it goes to seed and keep an eye on it, you should be okay. It's sort of a catch-22 with an herb like mugwort. You can put it in the soil, and let it go on its merry way, and it will grow without any attention to its needs, but at the same time it will spread until something or someone stops it.

You can grow it from seed or buy one (just one) plant to start you on your way. The seeds need light to germinate, and will need to be kept at 45 degrees or so for a couple of weeks in order to encourage germination. The refrigerator will work for this. Take them out after the chilling period and place them in a bright, warm location until germination.

A Mugwort Poultice: mugwort is known for relieving the rash from poison ivy or poison oak, and insect bites. Some brave souls chew it up and form a poultice. Placing the leaves in a bowl with a very small amount of water, and crushing it with a wooden spoon or using a mortar and pestle will accomplish this in much the same manner. Once the leaves are mushy, place them on the area that is stinging and it will help relieve the itching, and swelling if that has occurred.

Dream Pillows: Mugwort, hops, lavender, dried rose petals and chamomile are a nice combination for dream pillows. Mix with dry rice or flax seed and make a small flat "pillow" that can be placed with in the pillowcase of a regular pillow. Or you can combine the herbs with fiberfill and make a flat square using a piece of cotton material and place this in the pillow. There are many ways to do this. The main thing is to enclose the herbs and be able to place them under the pillow while one sleeps. Richters Herbs carries mugwort seeds.


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at


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