i recently bought an herbal tea (technically: tisane) blend for the evening hours. i am familiar with most of the herbs in it, which include: milky oats, chamomile, roses, tulsi, cardamom, passionflower, mint, mugwort, and catnip. all of these herbs have awesome medicinal qualities. but the herb i was most pleasantly surprised to see in the blend? you (probably) guessed it — mugwort! i bought it from marble and milkweed, a store that handcrafts their herbal teas in batches. they’re based in nyc. if you’re interested, here is a link to their etsy store.
you might be more familiar with its relative, wormood, which is one of the main herbs found in absinthe and has a reputation for inducing hallucinations. it seems like mugwort is usually found in an herbal blend as opposed to on its own, because of how bitter it can taste if brewed by itself — that’s been the case in my experience. by itself, it’s very bitter and not entirely pleasant. but when combined with other lighter, fruitier, and mintier herbs (like chamomile, roses, and mint), you have a tasty herbal concoction on your hands with a synergistic spirit.
i first became interested in mugwort when i was looking into lucid dreaming. i’ll admit that i did not try very hard to lucid dream, but i do know that you can enhance the chances of it working by: 1) looking at your hands during waking and sleeping hours, and 2) certain types of herbs, like mugwort and plenty of others, including Calea Z (the dream herb) — so, what’s special about mugwort?
mugwort is a reliable herb to level up in the dream world. if you’re someone who doesn’t typically remember your dreams or who wants to have more vivid dreams… mugwort might be fun to try. it may also help other senses (than only visual) engage while dreaming (like touch and taste). (see more info here).
mugwort is bitter, and when an herb tastes bitter, that typically means it will stimulate gastric juice and bile secretion in our bodies. if you’ve heard of ‘bitters’ that are often added to cocktails, then you may already know that the original use of bitters is to aid in digestion and it can act as a liver tonic. mugwort may also help with depression, and promote circulation. it also acts as a sedative that can aid with insomnia and anxiety. (see more info on that here and here.)
it may interact with medications you’re on or medical conditions you have, just like pretty much anything in this world, so always consider that before dabbling in the less gentle herbs. for comparison, chamomile is a gentle herb and can be safely consumed by almost everyone, including children and even dogs, on a daily basis. mugwort, on the other hand, may get some things going that might interact with something unexpected! i like to think i am a pretty healthy person, so i feel confident dabbling with dream herbs. i think, why not?
and on a related note, it’s wild to me that we sleep for so much of our lives. we exist in an alternate reality for 1/3 of each and every day. we don’t talk about it enough. we don’t treat it like it’s such a huge part of our lives. but the reality is that without it we would die (for example, fatal familial insomnia is a sleep disease that slowly but eventually rids you of the ability to sleep, and it’s especially fatal). my idea is that while we’re alive, we might as well try and harness sleep to our advantage, whether that’s making sure we get sound, deep sleep cycles every night (which some sleeping medications and definitely alcohol devoid from us), or if we feel like trying out mugwort to see if it adds a bit of fun and excitement to our evening hours.