In ancient China, the cannabis plant was a valued part of the Taoist religion, and the goddess Magu was often pictured carrying a basket of hemp and peaches.

In fact, the name Magu translates directly to, “hemp maid.” Magu was a beautiful, young woman with long, graceful fingers who healed the sick and needy.

To the Chinese, Magu is many things: She is regarded as a healing deity, priestess, protector of women, and goddess all at the same time.

She symbolizes the health and healing of the universe through her youth and beauty. She is not just a protector of the universe but also the guardian of vitality.

Elixir of Life

Magu is believed to have lived between 401 and 600 AD, and she worked as a seamstress. She worked long, hard hours to help her father, a horse breeder, make ends meet.

One day, a client she had just served gave her a peach which she shared with a poor and exhausted elderly woman in the street. Touched by the woman’s plight, she promised to return with homemade porridge.

Her father, however, didn’t want her giving away precious food to a stranger, and locked her in. When she was able to escape, she returned, but all she found was a peach stone. She planted the stone, and cared for it, nurturing it into a vibrant peach tree from which she plucked magical peaches to give away to those in need.

With time, Magu and her peaches were said to have healing abilities which led to Magu being immortalized as being in possession of the ‘elixir of life.’

Goddess of Hemp

While most of Magu’s magic healing was done with peaches, she is a goddess of the sacred Mount Tai, where cannabis grows abundantly.

She is also often pictured carrying hemp in her basket. As she was a healer, and hemp was used medicinally at that time, it’s not a stretch to imagine she also healed people using medicinal hemp.

During Taoist purification rituals, Magu is sometimes invoked, and consuming hemp seeds aids in a better “second sight” during these sessions, as well as preventing becoming possessed.

Hemp in China

Hemp has been cultivated in China for over 6,000 years. These days, 50% of the world’s legally cultivated hemp is from the nation.

Through careful regulation, it’s turned into a booming industry, and hemp seeds are proving more profitable than some other common crops.

And because China holds over half of the world’s patents on hemp, some westerners worry that, as soon as legal medical and recreational markets start taking off worldwide, the Chinese will have an automatic chokehold on the industry.

For thousands of years, hemp has been an important part of life to people from many different cultures. Since hemp has so many medicinal properties, it’s not surprising that it would be associated with Magu, the Taoist goddess of health and healing.


*This article was originally published at