and the winner is…

Congratulations to Roxanne Reese Brown for correctly guessing the green ally! Your To-Go Ware utensil set is on its way to your door.

Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), also sometimes known as Cronewort, St. John’s Girdle, Wild Wormwood, is the green ally of June.

Like I mentioned in my clues, mugwort commonly grows in disturbed soils and cracks in the sidewalk. One of the ways you know you’ve ID’ed her correctly is the white underside of her pinnate leaves. Young, spring leaves tend to be more tender and a brighter green. As she ages and grows taller, her leaves darken and her stem becomes drier and woodier. Mugwort flowers emerge in late summer and are tiny little buggers growing in racemes. Her scent is unique, some say sage-like or camphor-like. I say it’s a spicy-sweet scent all its own. Crush a leaf and give it a sniff.

Some benefits of mugwort:

• bitter tonic (once used in beer making in lieu of hops)

• brings on a delayed period (not recommended for use during pregnancy, unless under the guidance of an experienced herbalist)

• eases sore muscles – especially effective if you make a strong infusion by steeping mugwort leaves in boiled water for an hour or more, strain, then add the infusion liquid to the bath (then go straight to bed!)

• used as moxibustion in acupuncture to increase the flow of qi

• helps one remember dreams; put a sprig under your pillow or what I’ve done is make a dream pillow including mugwort, lavender, hops, and damiana

• slightly changes one’s perception, allowing one to “vision” (though not in a hallucinogenic way); master herbalist Robin Rose Bennett likes to take a piece of fresh mugwort leaf and use it as a bindi (the dot at the third eye point)

• protects against insects – makes a good moth repellent

This is just a sampling of the known benefits of mugwort. Another great thing about Artemisia vulgaris is that she grows abundantly, especially in the Northeast. I like to think that her presence is a message to us busy city folk to slow down and take the time to see what’s growing around us. At least that’s what she does to me.

You can find Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) in the Vivid Visions Smoke Blend, available in my Etsy shop.

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Disclaimer: The information given is for educational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your intuition and, preferably, with an experienced herbal practitioner before endeavoring down a path of self treatment with herbs.

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