Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) helps with digestive issues and can induce lucid dreams. It also makes a great smudge stick for clearing spaces and is traditionally burned to enhance dreaming and divination. A “dream pillow” stuffed with mugwort and lavender placed under a pillow promotes deep sleep. The plants have a subtle, sweet scent and are gathered before they bloom. Mugwort is native to Eurasia and now grows wild throughout North America. It’s currently grown in Penelope’s Garden in beautiful, organic, rich and chemical-free soil.
The following is a sleep blend recipe from CommonWealth Center for Holistic Herbalism School & Clinic, Boston:
“Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) has helped a number of clients with disrupted sleep, specifically those who wake in the middle of the night and have difficulty falling back to sleep. Mugwort in formula with skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), wood betony (Stachys betonica) and/or motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) effectively improves the capacity to sleep straight through the night.”
Allergies: Mugwort may cause an allergic reaction in individuals who are allergic to the Asteraceae/Compositae plant family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies and many other herbs.
Harvest: Cut stem at three inches from the base to make a large stem of herb to cut and create.
*Catnip and Motherwort are also making a second appearance for harvest now.
When smoldering, the sticks give off a rustic aroma that’s calming and pleasant.
Never leave a burning smoke stick unattended. If you have children at home, be sure to teach them fire safety when igniting bundles—children love to imitate adults and are naturally curious about fire. Smoke can trigger asthma attacks and aggravate respiratory conditions—avoid smoke cleansing around smoke-sensitive individuals.
How do you light a smoke stick?
Hold the tip of the smoke stick at a 45-degree angle in an open flame (a match is recommended, but if you don’t have one, a lighter, candle or even a gas cooktop will work). Once the smoke stick catches, gently blow out the flame so the herbs are smoldering and smoke is actively rising. Hold the smoke stick over a ceramic bowl or abalone shell containing a bit of sand (to catch any ashes) while you gently fan the smoke throughout the space. Remember those smoke detectors! A gentle waft of smoke from the stick is enough. Open the windows to create enough draft to keep the detector off. Extinguish the stick by driving the smoking end into the dry sand. Leave the stick in the bowl of sand for next time you need some clearing.
Are you supposed to burn the whole smoke stick at a time?
You certainly can, but I don’t. Not only would that take a long time, but I don’t think it’s necessary for cleansing your space. I let my smoke stick burn for about 10–15 minutes (while I walk from room to room) before extinguishing it and saving the rest for later.
In addition to mugwort, smoke sticks can also made with White Sage (Salvia apiana), native to the coastal foothills of southern California and is threatened from habitat loss and overharvesting—primarily for aromatic smoke sticks. I have purchased a small amount of cultivated white sage to include a bit in our bundles.
Your bundle may also include one of the following herbs harvested from our Garden: garden sage, anise hyssop, sweet annie, yarrow and lavender.