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Native American Mugwort Mythology

Mugwort and Sagewort are the English names for this plant, and both are confusing: mugwort is an Old English name for a European herb which was applied to the related but quite different American plant after colonization, and sagewort is a general term which is used to refer to dozens of different herbs including this one.

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The Chumash Indian name for this plant is Molush, and the Paiute name is translated as Dream Plant, a name that has been gaining in popularity. The name "dream plant" comes because mugwort is believed by many California Indian tribes to improve people's dreams, making it more likely for them to remember them and interact with them for spiritual purposes. For this reason mugworts would often be burned as incense or dried and sewn into a pillow to ensure positive and spiritually meaningful dreams. Some Miwok people also wore mugwort leaves to keep away ghosts and evil dreams. In addition to these important roles as a dreaming agent, mugwort was also used as a medicine herb to cure headaches, women's reproductive complications, and other ailments.

Native American Legends About Mugwort

Recommended Books of Mugwort Stories from Native American Myth and Legend

Plants of Power: Native American Ceremony and the Use of Sacred Plants:
    Interesting book about the meaning of mugwort and other native plants to traditional Native American spirituality.
Native Plant Stories:
    Excellent collection of Native American stories about plant spirits, by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.
Native American Medicinal Plants:
    Comprehensive book on the names and traditional uses of herbs throughout Native North America.



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