Mugwort

  
 
 Ji-ii bought some powdered Mugwort (Artemisia) from Korea. She drinks it in milk and tells me that it’s very good for the digestive system. I have to say that it tastes much better than I expected!
Here’s some of what Wikipedia has to say about Mugwort:

Mugworts are used medicinally, especially in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean traditional medicine. Some mugworts have also found a use in modern medicine for their anti-herpetic effect. They are also used as an herb to flavor food. In South Korea, mugworts, called ssuk, are still used as a staple ingredient in many dishes including rice cakes and soup.

In Spring, Ji-ii and her mother visit the fields and mountains to collect Mugwort leaves, after which, they freeze them for later consumption. 

In many cultures, Mugwort is believed to have spiritual properties, it’s also known as “the visionary herb” in that it increases psychic powers. It may be drunk or smoked before divination rituals or burnt as a “transporting” insense or space purifier. More from Wikipedia:

In the European Middle Ages, mugwort was used as a magical protective herb. Mugwort was used to repel insects, especially moths, from gardens. Mugwort has also been used from ancient times as a remedy against fatigue and to protect travelers against evil spirits and wild animals. Roman soldiers put mugwort in their sandals to protect their feet against fatigue.Mugwort is one of the nine herbs invoked in the pagan Anglo-Saxon Nine Herbs Charm, recorded in the 10th century in the Lacnunga. Grieve’s Modern Herbal (1931) states that “in the Middle Ages, the plant was known as Cingulum Sancti Johannis, it being believed that John the Baptist wore a girdle of it in the wilderness…a crown made from its sprays was worn on St. John’s Eve to gain security from evil possession, and in Holland and Germany one of its names is St. John’s Plant, because of the belief, that if gathered on St. John’s Eve it gave protection against diseases and misfortunes.”

Of course, my thought thought was: can I make colour from it? I couldn’t resist! The answer is yes. This will come as no surprise to anyone who makes natural dyes because traditionally, Mugwort has been used as a dye plant. Today I’ve coated two papers: one new, one old. The Mugwort juice has a rich, earthy smell, a bit like tarragon. Now the papers smell of the same delicious aroma. 

 Inside a book about Swedish flowers, I found some pressed leaves. Maybe I’ll use these to make an Anthotype print with one of the Mugwort papers.  
 thank you dear Ji-I for introducing me to this intriguing plant and for your precious gift of colour in Winter time.
 

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