mugwort, harry ainsworth

I tried TikTok’s mugwort tea to see if it would enhance dreams and reduce anxiety

It supposedly has hallucinogenic properties

Warning – Mugwort is known to have abortive properties in high doses as well as other negative side effects. Always carry out your own research and take at your own risk.

TikTok often tries to peddle you some hyped product that promises to make your life incrementally better in some way – and many people are making videos with a herb called mugwort. Users claim that by drinking or smoking mugwort, one can reap its myriad of subtle psychoactive benefits including the enhancement of dreams, the improvement of sleep, and calming anti-anxiety properties.

Whilst my curiosity was certainly piqued by seeing teenagers claim they were having some trippy dreams, it got me wondering just how effective a plant bought from Amazon or your local garden centre could possibly be. So, I bought a pack to find out whether mugwort actually does everything people claim it to.

@_.katieeeeeeee._totally legal yummy tea 🙂 ##fyp ##tea ##foryou ##mugwort ##herb♬ backyard boy slowed and sad remix – LLusion

What is mugwort?

For starters, let’s take a closer look at the herb in question. Mugwort has a long history in various medicinal practices. Some say that it relieves sleepiness and fights fatigue whilst others have used it to stop bleeding and relieve cold/flu symptoms. In some cases, it has been used in large doses to herbally instigate abortion.

However, the plant has become popularised in recent years for the inducement of vivid dreams and anti-anxiety properties – thanks to its slightly hallucinogenic properties.

Preparation of the mugwort

Following the instructions on the packaging, I put two teaspoons of mugwort into 250ml of boiling water and left to infuse for 15 minutes. I then let it cool and strained it. The idea is that you drink it in small 20-50ml doses throughout the day, so I had a measuring jug of strained mugwort and a shot glass on my desk for the day.

mugwort tea

And let me tell you, it’s absolutely no surprise they recommend drinking it in small increments.

Despite the concoction smelling pleasantly like green tea, shots of this hellish liquid are likely the only way you could possibly endure its odious taste. Whilst there are expected herbal flavours at the front of the palette, it has a dark and bitter body that clings to the back of your tongue.

The results

I clocked off work at six and prepared dinner with my girlfriend, having had four shots by this point. Pouring pepper onto the dish, the lid suddenly popped off, emptying around five tablespoons of pepper onto a meal that I had spent nearly an hour making.

To say I would otherwise have been furious would be an understatement, but strangely enough – I didn’t feel any need to get angry. Yes, I scraped a minimal amount of pepper from the meal, yes, the meal was spicy, but I was taken aback by how unphased I was. Was this the mugwort taking effect?

I finished the last 50ml of mugwort and decided to smoke some as this is known as another way to induce mugwort’s effects – and it was easily the smoothest smoking herb I’ve ever had (which, as a teenager that went through my mum’s spice draw, is quite a statement).

mugwort cigarette

Finally getting into bed, I found my mind to be a little more erratic than it would usually be. Instead of looking back on parts of my day or thinking about what I have coming up, there seemed to be a fair bit of noise in my head that made honing in on any particular topic quite hard. And then I fell asleep.

You know those dreams where something happens and you suddenly jerk awake? Well, just as I was about to fall asleep, someone in my dream suddenly violently smacked me around the head with a cricket bat, jolting me into wide-eyed consciousness. Why this happened I don’t know, but it took a good 10 minutes to get to sleep again.


This morning I struggled to wake up to my alarm and felt very sleepy, which is usually the tell-tale sign that I have been in a deep sleep – and sure enough, my Fitbit confirmed that I had had a lot of REM. Did I have any other dreams that night? Not that I remembered, but that didn’t matter.

I had felt in a really positive mental space for the entirety of the previous day and woke up having had a really long and uninterrupted sleep.

harry ainsworth, mugwort

Mugwort gets the seal of approval

So, if you’re used to using drugs that produce a dramatic high, you may find mugwort somewhat underwhelming – but for those that are looking for a small but noticeable perk in mood and the possibility of some pretty intense dreams, mugwort may be for you. I know I will definitely continue drinking it in tea form as part of my daily routine.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• I tried manifestation for a week in an attempt to ace my assignments

• This girl on TikTok thinks she could be Madeleine McCann and people are *mad* at her

• This is exactly how TikTok decides what goes on your ‘For You Page’