an article by Susun S. Weed
- Goddess of the herbalist - gives her name to a
genus of marvelously aromatic, safely psychedelic,
highly medicinal, dazzlingly decorative, and more-or-less
edible plants in the Asteraceae family. I love Artemis,
and I love her plants.
WHO IS ARTEMIS?
Amazonian moon goddess. Goddess of the hunt. Goddess
of the wild things. Goddess of the midwife. Goddess
of the herbalist. Mother of all Creatures. Leader
of the sacred bitches. Great she-bear. Diana. Selene.
Ever Virgin; owned by no man. We will visit her
sacred wood on a shamanic journey. Who knows what
will happen then.
HOW DO ARTEMISIAS GROW IN YOUR GARDEN?
Most Artemisias are perennials and grow best from
cuttings, not seeds. Sweet Annie is the exception,
being a self-seeding annual. Although you can buy
tarragon seeds, you can't grow true tarragon from
them. Wormwood and southernwood and tarragon (the
last not winter-hardy in many places) are woody
perennials which regreen each year on last year's
new wood; I prune only dead wood from them. Cronewort
is an invasive perennial that creeps underground;
it dies back to the ground each year and can be
heavily harvested (clear cuts are ok) without damage
to its further prolific productivity.
Most Artemisias require little care. Lack of soil
nutrients and lack of water do not faze them. Many
are native to deserts, and know how to thrive in
hot dry weather. Except for tarragon, all can overwinter
Flowers are usually small and green, in other words,
WHAT DO ARTEMISIAS CONTAIN?
* bitter principals: wormwood
* coumarins: cronewort, tarragon
* essential oils (complex, variety specific, with
hundreds of components per plant): cronewort (high
in camphor, thujone), tarragon, wormwood (high in
* flavonoids: cronewort, tarragon
* glycosides: cronewort, tarragon
* hormones: cronewort (sitosterol, stigmasterol)
* sesquiterpene lactones: cronewort
HOW ARE ARTEMISIAS USED?
Artemisias, with their grey-green or white-green
foliage bring beauty to the garden throughout the
growing season. They also make long-lasting, aromatic
and beautiful indoor decorations: bouquets, wreaths,
swags. They are popular strewing herbs, too.
Those which are high in essential oils are thereby
antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial. They
also improve digestion and appetite if taken in
Any Artemisia growing beside the door - or painted
on it - was, in days of old, the sign of the midwife,
the herbalist. Magical and folkloric uses are numerous.
possesses both natural and supernatural qualities.
[It] excels as a woman's herb, easing the pain of
labor, menstrual cramps, and effectively treating
various uterine complaints." Gai Stern (1986)
Cronewort/mugwort = smudge, dream pillow, moxa,
birthing steam, vinegar of roots and young leaves,
salad green when young, mugwort noodles, mugwort
mochi. American colonists used the sundried leaves
as a tea substitute. Formerly a popular beer flavoring
(hence the name mugwort). Controls worms in goats.
Urinary tonic. Uterine tonic. Digestive tonic. Nerve
tonic. Circulatory tonic. Cronewort eases pain and
fever, comforts grief and depression, eases irritability
and burdened joints, brings peace and sleep, and
reassures the nerves.
Moxa demonstration and discussion.
torturous, barbaric practice, the use of the moxa,
is closely related to this plant." Millspaugh (1892)
Wormwood = tincture, oil. Ingredient in absinth.
Stimulates mid-brain activity and increases creativity,
but repeated use disturbs the central nervous system.
Prevents giardia, dysentery, amoebas. Cholagogic,
digestive, appetite-stimulant, liver-stimulant,
wound healer. Caution: Use can lower seizure threshold;
interacts adversely with seizure-reducing medications.
Sweet Annie = capsules, in fairly large daily dose,
to prevent malaria; source of antimalarial drugs.
A strong tea, taken frequently, kills giardia and
Tarragon = vinegar, seasoning. Appetite stimulant
according to Herbal PDR.
Southernwood = dream pillow, sachet, charms. To
see the beloved.
Some of the many Artemisia species that herbalists
and gardeners use:
A. abrotanum (southernwood)
A. absinthium (wormwood)
A. afra (African wormwood)
A. annua (sweet Annie, qing hao)
A. camphorata (camphor-scented sothernwood)
A. drancuncula (tarragon, estragon, little dragon)
A. frigida (fringed sagebrush)
A. lactiflora (ghost plant)
A. ludoviciana (silver queen)
A. pontica (Roman wormwood)
A. schmidtiana (silver mound)
A. stellerana (old woman, dusty miller)
A. tridentata (sagebrush; three-toothed sagebrush)
A. vulgaris (cronewort, mugwort)
PO Box 64
Susun Weed at: www.susunweed.com and www.ashtreepublishing.com
For permission to reprint this article, contact
and involved, Susun Weed has garnered an international
reputation for her groundbreaking lectures, teachings,
and writings on health and nutrition. She challenges
conventional medical approaches with humor, insight,
and her vast encyclopedic knowledge of herbal medicine.
Unabashedly pro-woman, her animated and enthusiastic
lectures are engaging and often profoundly provocative.
Susun is one
of America's best-known authorities on herbal medicine
and natural approaches to women's health. Her four
best-selling books are recommended by expert herbalists
and well-known physicians and are used and cherished
by millions of women around the world. Learn more
article is © copyright Susun
S. Weed 2002 - Republished here with kind permission.
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