Chumash: molǝš Español: Yerba Ceniza/Estafiate
Origin: Western United States
Flower Color: Sage green
Width: 6 inches
Esposure: Full sun to part shade
Drought Tolerant: Somewhat
Alternate Names: Dream Plant, Douglas' Sagewort
California mugwort is a western North American perennial herbaceous aromatic plant. The plant prefers direct sunlight and moist soils, but tolerates shady areas and dry soils. Mugwort helps to stabilize banks and it best propagates from its root source. Its seeds are foraged by a variety of native birds and its leaves are used as nesting material by some native bees. Mugwort was used by Native American tribes as a medicinal plant to relieve joint pain and headaches, and to treat abrasions and rashes (including poison oak). It was also used to treat women's reproductive issues, including irregular menstruation and was occasionally used as an abortifacient. Contemporary herbalists continue to use the plant for many of these purposes.
This plant also had ceremonial and spiritual purposes for many tribes. It was commonly carried to ward off spririts of the dead. Putting muwort under your pillow or drinking a tea is said to give the sleeper vivid dreams. The rolled up dead leaves of this plant are valuable as a tinder source when making friction fires.