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Sunday, May 05, 2013

Mugwort Legends Myths and Stories

The name mugwort comes from the old Germanic muggiwurti, meaning “fly or gnat plant”, and refers to the plant’s use since the time of Dioscorides (first century AD) to repel moths and other insects.

In the Middle Ages mugwort was considered a magical protective herb. It was very strong against witches and a branch of it kept in the house would scare off the Devil. Hanging mugwort above the door was a protection against lightning; best of all, putting it under the doorstep ensured that no annoying person would come to your door. (Try it if you are plagued by solicitors.)

Mugwort also afforded its protection to the traveler, guarding him against fatigue, sunstrokes, wild beasts, and the evil eye. If a foot traveler put mugwort in his shoes, he would not become weary on his journey. Medieval legend held that John the Baptist wore a girdle of mugwort to help sustain him in the wilderness.

If put into barrels or hogsheads of beer, mugwort will preserve the brew from souring. The dried herb also repels moths. Hang mugwort over entry doors to ward off infectious disease and epidemics.

In former years, mugwort was put in baths and thought to have great effect in relieving fatigue. It was also believed that sleeping on a pillow filled with mugwort would cause a person to see his entire future in his dreams. Surround the bed with fresh (potted) mugwort plants to help with astral projection and achieve lift off.

In Uganda, women carry mugwort in a red silk bag for enhanced fertility.

This plant was used frequently as a charm and held in superstitious veneration by the Chinese people. At the time of the Dragon Festival, which is the 5th day of the 5th moon, the mugwort is hung up to ward off noxious influences. Mugwort is known to the Chinese as Ai-hao or just simply Ai, the dried leaves are called Ai-yeh; the dried twigs tied in bundles are called Ai-t’iao. The Chinese maintain that mugwort is often helpful in relieving the conditions of sleepwalking.

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