Updated: Apr 16, 2018
Moxa is from the Japanese word mogusa or mo kusa, meaning, “burning herb.” It can be found in many forms, from moxa “wool” to moxa pressed into a charcoal stick, but it is always harvested from the mugwort plant (artemisia vulgaris or artemisia argyii). After harvesting, the leaves are ground aged for 3-5 years before use.
Moxa has been used alongside acupuncture for well over 3 thousand years, at least as long as the practice of acupuncture. The translation of the Chinese character for acupuncture, zhenjiu: “zhen” stands for needle and “jiu” means moxa, or acupuncture-moxibustion.
They are integral and complimentary modes of treatment: “A disease that may not be treated by acupuncture may be treated by moxibustion,” according to the Lingshu (Miraculous Pivot, or Spiritual Pivot), one of 2 parts of Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine), the earliest book written on Chinese Medicine, compiled around 305-204 B.C.
There is evidence of a long history of the use of mugwort within the archives of Western civilization too. Its Latin name, Artemesia Vulgaris associates the herb with the Greek God Artemis.
Moxa is used to strengthen the immune system, to warm the body and to bring more qi and blood flow to an area. Moxa is especially useful for the treatment of pain. Moxa is often cited for its effectiveness in turning breach babies.
Moxa is used both directly and indirectly, depending upon the intended effects. It is used to great effect in tandem with acupuncture points, enhancing and maximizing the effects of the acupuncture needles. In this case a small ball is rolled and place on the head an acupuncture needle and ignited. It burns for about 20-30 seconds until it extinguishes. This is repeated for a prescribed number of times.
This is the perfect time of year for treatments to boost the immune system, and a way to sample the effects of moxa.
Eca Brady is a fully licensed physician of Chinese Medicine BSc(Ac) MBAcC PGDip(CHM), practicing from Harley Street, London. Make an appointment for an acupuncture treatment and we can discuss whether moxa is a good therapeutic addition, to read more about Eca click here.
Excerpts from the Original article by Gabrielle Applebaum