I love to share with people, herbs that are found in your backyard, on a nature walk in just popping up all over the place. First of all- I love the amazement on their face to realize that this "weed" is actually a plant with a name, and a purpose. Second of all, it is great to see their own recognition, or the "light bulb" go off in their head in regards to seeing that same plant in their own locale.
I was recently introduced to Mugwort. Herbalists have a tendency to focus on certain herbs that they like to use best, and this has never been one that I've had personal experience using. I saw a post on Facebook about Mugwort, and new I had seen that plant on my travels. Lo and behold the next time I took a walk, I found a patch of it.
The plant has sort of a musky smell, and a hint of oregano in its odour. It is called Artemisia vulgaris (part of the Aster/ Daisy family). I took my collection of plants home and looked them up in my herbs books immediately, while the leaves were still full and fresh. I was happy to see that this plant would be a perfect herb in my apothecary, one I truly need.
The leaves are edible. I tried a little piece of one raw and found the taste rather unusual. When I try herbs like this and Purple Dead Nettle, which is edible and I think, no wonder it isn't sold in grocery stores with the other salad greens. The flavor is strong in Mugwort, and I am not sure if I like it. I have heard it is good stir fried in a Tempura dish, so that will be my next trial.
I love how I read that mugwort is excellent when burned in a smudge stick. I use incense on a daily basis, or essential oils in my diffuser. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to one's emotional well-being to breath in the fragrance of plants. To do a quick version of a smudge stick, because I really wanted to try it out, I rolled up a small handful of leaves and placed them in an oven safe container and put the herbs in my oven on less than 200 degrees, to slow dry. I dried them for about 30 minutes, and took the herbs out and set on my stove in the small dish.
The plant was partially dry and I knew would burn a little bit. I lit the most dry part of the quick roll that I had made, and the smoke filtered up into the kitchen, like incense, just a small stream. It smelled so good! I found as I went through my house the rest of the house had the fragrance of mugwort. It is said that mugwort can promote good dreams and clear negative energy. This morning I feel that both of those "predictions" occurred. I often have trouble sleeping, and I slept like a baby last night!
Here is a recipe for a Mugwort Smudge stick my friend told me about.
Take mugwort leaves attached to the stems, woodruff leaves and stems and mountain mint leaves on stems. Lay the herbs side by side, and push together into one shape, or bundle. Then wrap the bundle tightly with a natural fiber. That the bundle and hang in a cool, airy location for a few weeks, or until it has dried. When the bundle is dry, you can light one end of the smudge stick and after a few seconds blow out the flame and the smoke will continue to burn as it does for incense. Take the smudge stick and wave through the area you wish to cleanse.
**Use caution when working with flame. This is not for children.