Moxibustion - a healing herb on fire
There is an old saying in China:" If you can't smell moxa when you enter an acupuncture clinic, you should turn around and leave". Moxibustion, the burning of mugwort, is used in combination with acupuncture, however the use of moxa predates acupuncture. Long before metallurgy evolved and metal needles could be made, the leaves of the common mugwort plant Artemisa Vulgaris where shredded and dried to form the woolly moxa punk that is used in moxibustion therapy. There are various grades of moxa for different applications. The finer the moxa, the smaller the portions that are applied to the body. The finest quality is gold grade moxa, which is used in rice- grain to thread size portions. These small portions are stuck on the skin and burned without causing pain. This is a treatment for inflammatory and painful conditions such as arthritis, insect bites and infections, but it is also used for boosting low immunity. The immune boosting effect is well documented and researched. One group of Toyohari practitioners form Great Britain formed an initiative named Moxafrica. Their work involves treating patients with antibiotic resistant tuberculosis in poorer African countries. These patients are extremely weak and often die from the illness unless they are treated with rice- grain size moxa on a number of acupuncture points. This has the effect of strongly stimulating the white blood cell production and boosting the immune system so much that it can overcome the bacterium that causes tuberculosis and help the patient recover.
I use moxa daily in my practice for many things like acute cold and flu, low energy and emotional problems. The smell of moxa smoke penetrating into the waiting room.