I don’t know about y’all, but I am feeling the yang energy of Summer approaching. Thankfully the warm weather has hit Colorado and life is returning to the mountains after what seemed like a long Winter. Yesterday I went hiking in Eldorado Canyon and saw many of my favorite herbs, including Artemisia, Pine, Yarrow and Rose. Coming from California, I am used to a much earlier Spring and I was surprised at how small the Artemisia still are. I could feel their compact potency though and am excited about seeing them grow throughout the season.
Did you know that we use several Artemisia species in Chinese Medicine? Each species has it’s unique taste, temperature and therapeutic action. Ai Ye, Artemisia argyi, is so important that it is a separate modality of medicine. We call the burning of Ai Ye, Moxibustion and we use it to warm the meridians of the body and expel cold, relieve pain due to cold stagnation, dispel dampness, stop cough, and calm the spirit. If you have PMS or painful menstruation due to cold or damp, moxibustion over the abdomen can provide warmth and relief. (Always have a qualified practitioner advise you on moxibustion application)
The first mention of Artemisia in Chinese medicine was in the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing (Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica), probably written around 200CE. In that text, Ai Ye, was said to make the body light (bring you back to the light being you are), sharpen your eyes and ears, and prevent senility. Ai Ye was also said to promote hair growth, eliminate evil qi in the five viscera, boost qi and supplement the middle jiao.
Today, we use the essential oil of various Artemisia species for many reasons. The essential oil of these plants can be very strong and must be used with caution (thujone content varies with each species). I like to massage Artemisia alba (Mugwort) essential oil (diluted in hemp oil) on my abdomen before and during menstruation to reduce stagnation due to cold and damp that can cause cramps, bloating and tension. I also diffuse a couple drops of essential oil in my home as well to help reduce any accompanying irritability. Adding Lavender can further enhance your relaxation.
To help reduce infectious respiratory diseases, diffuse Mugwort essential oil or burn Ai Ye as you would White Sage throughout your house to repel “evil” energy. This can also be effective for clearing negative energy out of your space. You can smudge yourself with it when you need more energy or clarity.
I leave you with a spritzer recipe that I hope you enjoy as much as I do! Artemis is the Maiden Goddess of the Hunt and the Moon and Achilles was an undefeated warrior that represents courage and strength. I like to think these two plants work as a yin (Artemis) yang (Achilles) pair that can bring about deep healing and the courage needed to witness your own healing.
The Alchemy of Artemis & Achilles
1-2 drops wild Artemisia essential oil (alba, argyi, or vulgaris preferred)
1-2 drops wild Achillea essential oil (yarrow)
1/2 ounce wild Helichrysum hydrosol
1 1/2 ounces spring water
Add water and hydrosol to a 2 ounce glass jar with pump spray top. Add essential oils. Shake well and thoroughly blend mixture. Spray on any injuries (physical or otherwise) that need healing. Great for bug bites, sprains, dermatitis and deep traumas of body or spirit. This blend is a great healer, as it helps to balance the duality of our yin/yang nature.
When energy flows, wellness grows