For centuries, the herb mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) has been used for a variety of medicinal, culinary, and religious purposes around the world. It is most often used as a form of tea or in smudge sticks for spiritual and physical healing. But can you actually smoke mugwort? In this article, we will comprehensively examine whether you can smoke mugwort and its potential benefits and risks. We'll also provide information on how to use this herb effectively and dive into its legality across the United States. By the end, you should better understand mugwort and whether it's the right healing herb for you.
What is Mugwort?Mugwort is a perennial herb native to Europe, Asia, and North America. It grows up to 3-6 feet in height and has reddish-brown stems with green leaves that have an aromatic scent when crushed. The plant also produces small flowers that are yellow or white in color. In traditional medicine, mugwort has been used to treat various health issues, from digestive complaints to pain relief, and even as an aid for prophetic dreaming. It is often burned in smudge sticks or dried and brewed into teas.
Traditional Uses for MugwortThere are many traditional uses of Mugwort, including:
MoxibustionMoxibustion is an ancient Chinese technique that involves the burning of mugwort on or near the skin to stimulate healing and promote circulation. It is believed to be effective in treating joint pain, muscle aches, menstrual cramps, and other health issues. For 3,000 years, moxibustion has been used to treat various health issues in traditional Chinese medicine. This study shows that moxa smoke boosts the autonomic nervous system, which helps regulate the body's physiological functions. This includes calming the mind and reducing pain. Moxibustion has also been used for centuries to deal with menstrual cramping, digestive issues, and fertility challenges. There is evidence that it could also help a baby in the breech position turn. It achieves this by increasing fetal movements, which are the primary factor in a successful external cephalic version. By stimulating certain points in the body, moxibustion helps to promote circulation and break up stagnation in your body.
Dream InductionAs crazy as this may sound, mugwort has long been used to induce vivid and prophetic dreams. Mugwort is said to open the third eye, allowing you to experience lucid dreaming and dream recall more easily. People slipped mugwort under their pillows to help them see the future and to have vivid dreams. It is also believed that drinking a mugwort tea before bed can bring out your subconscious and make it easier to remember your dreams.
Herbal MedicineMugwort has been used as an herbal remedy for centuries, and for good reason. It contains compounds like thujone, camphor, and other volatile oils that can help relieve pain, improve digestive health, reduce inflammation, and promote circulation. Mugwort is said to be effective in relieving menstrual cramps due to its antispasmodic properties. It may also help relieve the symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and mood swings. There is also evidence that it can help boost immunity and digestion and reduce anxiety.
Ward Off Evil SpiritsMugwort has long been associated with warding off evil spirits and protecting against negative energy. It was often used in magical rituals to protect people from being possessed. In some cultures, Mugwort was used to ward off bad luck and avoid misfortune. People believed that by keeping a bundle of Mugwort with them, they could protect themselves from evil forces.
Deal With FatigueIt is said that Roman Soldiers slipped Mugwort into their sandals to help them deal with exhaustion and pain from long marches. It is believed that the volatile oils in Mugwort helped to ease cramping, reduce inflammation, and stimulate circulation
Help With InsomniaMugwort has also been used for centuries to help with insomnia. It contains compounds like thujone, camphor, and other volatile oils believed to induce sleep. Thujone is a sedative that can help you relax and get a good night's rest. Camphor is a natural anti-inflammatory that can help reduce inflammation, which is usually associated with insomnia. The volatile oils in mugwort are also thought to stimulate circulation and promote restful sleep. It is said that drinking a cup of Mugwort tea before bed will relax the body and mind, allowing you to drift off into a deep slumber.
Skin Conditions TreatmentThe Ancient Chinese used it to treat skin conditions such as boils and psoriasis. They also used it to reduce inflammation and promote quicker healing. Mugwort is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and has been used to treat eczema, acne, scabies, psoriasis, rosacea, and other skin conditions for centuries.
Potential Health Benefits Of MugwortMugwort comes with several health benefits, including:
Slow Cancer Cell GrowthMugwort may slow the growth of cancer cells. A research paper found that a compound extracted from mugwort (thujone) inhibited the growth of human colorectal, breast, and prostate cancer cells. This test-tube study revealed that mugwort could potentially kill colon cancer cells. Another study showed that this herb could kill cells in leukemia patients by inducing apoptosis, which is a form of programmed cell death. More human studies are needed to confirm these findings. However, these results suggest that mugwort may be potentially beneficial in the treatment of cancer. As always, before adding herbal medicine to a treatment regime discuss it with your health practitioner. Herbal medicines may have ingredients that could have dangerous interactions with existing medications. Never stop or modify treatment without discussing it with your medical care provider.
Reduce InflammationMugwort is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Research has shown that a compound called polipodium leucotomos, extracted from this herb, can reduce swelling and inflammation caused by certain conditions like arthritis and psoriasis. It also contains flavonoids, which are known to reduce inflammation and protect the body from oxidative damage. These compounds may help reduce inflammation associated with various conditions, such as allergies and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs).
Relieve Stress and Improve Sleep QualityMugwort is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat uneasiness, stress, and insomnia. The herb is known to have sedative effects that can help induce sleep and reduce nervousness. Compounds found in mugwort are capable of suppressing the activity of an enzyme called monoamine oxidase (MAO). This enzyme helps regulate mood and anxiety levels. By inhibiting its activity, the compounds found in mugwort may help reduce stress and improve sleep quality.
Improve Heart HealthMugwort also has potential benefits for heart health. Scientists have found that compounds in this herb can reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which are risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. In addition, mugwort may help reduce blood pressure by altering the activity of certain hormones involved in regulating blood circulation. This could potentially lower your risk of stroke and heart attack. A mice study showed that mugwort extract could reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, a condition characterized by the buildup of plaque in your arteries. It also showed that this herb could improve cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation. Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves burning mugwort on certain body parts. This has been shown that this therapy can reduce inflammation, improve blood circulation, and lower blood pressure.
Antimicrobial PropertiesMugwort also has antimicrobial properties, which means it may help fight off bacteria and viruses that can cause infections. A test-tube study found that extracts from this herb were effective against Candida albicans, a type of fungus that can cause yeast infections. Another study confirmed that the essential oils in mugwort inhibited the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria responsible for many skin and respiratory infections. It's important to note that mugwort should not replace conventional treatments for infections, such as antibiotics. However, these results suggest that the herb could potentially be used in combination with other therapies to reduce the severity of some bacterial and fungal infections.
Is Mugwort Psychoactive?The short answer to this question is yes. When smoked, mugwort produces a mild hallucinogenic effect. This is due to its high levels of thujone, which can cause euphoria and altered perception of reality when ingested. The α- and β- Thujone in mugwort are known to have psychoactive effects, but their toxicity depends on the dosage. The more you ingest, the more intense and potentially dangerous the effects can be. When you smoke mugwort, you experience a gentle, relaxing buzz that starts with a tingling sensation in your head and spreads throughout your body. Depending on the dosage, you may feel more creative and experience mild hallucinations. It's worth mentioning that α- and β- Thujone is not the only psychoactive ingredient in mugwort. There are three terpenes that add their sedative and hallucinogenic effects. They are:
- Camphor: This terpene is also found in cannabis, and it has a sweet, woody smell. It's known for its calming properties and can help reduce stress.
- Linalool: This terpene produces a floral, herbal aroma and can help reduce anxiety. It has sedative properties that can help induce deep, restful sleep.
- α- Pinene: This terpene has a pine-like scent and is known for its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effects. It also helps improve cognitive performance and alertness.