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Date: Mon, 21 Aug 1995 10:25:01 -0700
From: Howie Brounstein <howieb.TELEPORT.COM>
Subject: Re: mugwort

>Does anyone have experience or knowledge about mugwort? Is it relaxing and helpful in inducing sleep?

Mugwort is a very interesting plant deep in historical references. It is often said to promote prophetic dreams. I don't find this to be true all the time. It seems to me that Mugwort intensifies the dreaming process. It all depends on where you are in this process.

If you don't dream, Mugwort will help you to dream, but you may not remember them. If you don't remember your dreams Mugwort will help you to remember them. If you remember your dreams, Mugwort will help you to have conscious dreams. Conscious dreams are dreams where you are aware that you are dreaming and in full control of the situation. If you are consciously dreaming already, the plant will increase the frequency and control.

None of this implies that the dreams will be pleasant. Some people don't remember their dreams for a reason. Mugwort can cause nightmares and restless dreams leading to lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep. I know of an essential oil company that puts a warning on their Artemisia oil: Caution, may cause nightmares.

Certainly, Mugwort can lead to prophetic dreams if that is what you are into. I do not prefer that course of dream work. It is all up to you. One of my long term students feels that Mugwort is the most reality altering of all the psychotropics he's tried. Maybe you will too.

These effects are most pronounced with long term exposure to the herb. Dream pillows, fresh bundles allowed to dry by your bed, and smoking over a period of weeks. You may not always experience the subtle effects with one joint.

You can smoke Mugwort alone, but it's best to use as a flavoring agent because it is strongly aromatic. Mugwort can also be rubbed into a very good consistency as a carrier for the smoking mixture like Mullein but the flavor can overwhelm the mixture.

Internal use of Mugwort has physiological effects on your stomach and reproductive system but this will not transfer through smoking. Tarragon is a herbaceous Artemisia called Artemisia dracunculus or Dragon Sagewort.

From: "R.M.K." <iss.RCI.RIPCO.COM>

Howie Brounstein <howieb.TELEPORT.COM> replied:
|>Does anyone have experience or knowledge about mugwort? Is it relaxing and helpful in inducing sleep?
|Mugwort is a very interesting plant deep in historical references. It is often said to promote prophetic dreams. I don't find this to be true all the time. It seems to me that Mugwort intensifies the dreaming process. It all depends on where you are in this

In lieu of not being able to find any locally growing mugwort <Artemisia vulgaris>, I tried an aromatherapy with some flowering SOUTHERNWOOD <A.abrotanum> and did have some good dreaming results. From a similar thread in another group, it was said by several people that Siberian mugwort <A.??> gave best results..??... although I could not find any plant of this name in my references. I'm intrigued by the inducement/enhancement of dreaming by the Artemisia species... and the related history of the absinthe wormwood as a 'mind-altering drug'... does anybody know of any books/references that deal with the different Artemisias in relation to phyto-pharmacology..??. I'm curious if there is any history regarding the use of Artemisia sp. by American Indians..??.

From: Chuck Coker, Indigenous Languages Project <IndLangPrj.AOL.COM>

"R.M.K." <iss.RCI.RIPCO.COM> said:
> I'm curious if there is any history regarding the use of Artemisia sp. by American Indians..??.

"Sage McKenzie." <TXSage.AOL.COM> said:
> I don't know about historical uses of artemisias but I do know from personal experience that several of the species are used as smudging "sage" or sagebrush (to differentiate artemisias from salvias) in ceremonies.

Gam yu! (Hello!)

I live out on the Hualapai Indian Reservation, on the south rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, and I was out gathering some maqwapda (Hualapai word for Big Sagebrush, Artemisia spp.) a few hours ago. I get HERB in the Digest format, and was surprised to see the above question when I checked my e-mail tonight.

In answer to R.M.K., yes, there is a very long history of Artemisia spp. use by Native Americans. As Sage McKenzie pointed out, the sweathouse use is common among many peoples, as is the burning of maqwapda to purify the air and other things.

The Hualapai people have been using maqwapda for hundreds of years for medicinal purposes. The leaves are brewed into a bitter tonic for colds, headaches, and indigestion. The Hualapai also use them in the sweathouse ceremony to cleanse the lungs. (It smells good, too.)

Maqwapda is found in dry, sandy soils from sea level to 11,000 feet throughout the world. The Mexicans (and Spanish) called it estafiate.

The Navajo use the plant in a fashion similar to the Hualapai. (The Navajo are relative late-comers to the area, 1300 AD?, so they probably adopted the practice from the local people that were already here.) The Navajo also use the leaves and twigs for a dye, getting various colors depending on the method of preparation. The plant is also very highly regarded in the Native American Church.

The maqwapda I gathered today is tied in bundles and hanging in various places in my house to dry. It makes the house smell good.

I'm still a little new at the ethnobotany, so this is all I can tell you off the top of my head. One of the teachers at the school here is very knowledgable about the Hualapai use of plants, so if there is any interest, I can ask her for more details. (There should be a new Hualapai Ethnobotany book out soon, we're doing the revisions right now. The books have only been used in the school here to teach the kids, so I don't know about selling them to outsiders. But I'll find out about this too, if anyone is interested. They are written in Hualapai as well as English.)


From: Chuck Coker, Indigenous Languages Project <IndLangPrj.AOL.COM>

Yesterday, I posted a note about Artemisia spp. that I was gathering on the Hualapai Reservation. I did a little research today, and found that the Maqwapda species is A. frigida, also known as Silver Sage, Estafiate, Fringed Sagebrush, Romerillo, Istafiate, and probably a few other names.

> Are we talking about good old sagebrush, the kind I see if I go out to the grassland on the eastern plains of Colorado?
> Do you collect stalks with leaves and bundle, or do you strip leaves off branches and bundle together?

There are many varieties of sagebrush that grow in western North America. It could be the same one that you see in eastern Colorado. This variety is commonly two- to three-feet high here. Maqwapda (A. frigida) grows especially well in overgrazed (lots of cattle here), cold, high desert areas, at elevations from 4,000 to 8,500 feet in the Great Basin, east to Colorado, south to Arizona, New Mexico, and the Texas Panhandle. When searching for this plant, look for Juniper (another good topic), Piñon (another good topic), a bunch of cattle, and not much else. Gather the leaves and flower stalks during the time from July to September (i.e., now). Bundle the stalks with the leaves still on them, then let them dry. (Hang them upside down--picked end up, leaves end down.)

Preparation methods include alcohol tincture (using fresh herbs), hot infusion, cold infusion. About 20-30 drops of the tincture in a cup of cold water slows down stomach hypersecretions for people that over-secrete between meals or wake up at night with acid indigestion. (If this is a major, long-term problem, follow the tincture with Alfalfa or Red Clover tea in the mid-afternoon, at bedtime, and in place of coffee or fruit juice when you first getup in the morning.)

A simple tea made from brewing "a pinch" is a strong diuretic and a mild laxative for "dry" people. The Tewa people (some of the Pueblo Indians) have been using this tea for centuries. The tea makes a good forehead and scalp wash for frontal headaches.

Even better for a headache accompanied by bloodshot eyes is a vinegar tincture. I haven't tried this, but I'm told it works wonders even though it makes you smell a little bit wierd. :-)

> The book you are revising ... I would need an english version.

The forthcoming Hualapai Ethnobotany books will have English and Hualapai in the same book, sort of side-by-side. They're not two separate books. The problem with selling to outsiders comes from 1) the books are published with federal money for use in the school, so it might be illegal to sell them, and 2) there is a *very* heated debate about whether or not "outsiders" should learn about various aspects of Hualapai culture. (I tend to go with the sharing of information, but then I'm not Hualapai, either. I'm interested in linguistics and anthropology, too.) Many of the other indigenous peoples around here share their cultural things (a notable exception is the Pueblo religions--*very* secretive), so most of the Hualapai ethnobotany isn't really all that secret. To most people, the Hualapai language would be unreadable, so that part would only be a curiosity.


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