Many people think of Chinese medicine as being synonymous with acupuncture, but even the Chinese term for acupuncture, “Zhen Jiu”, literally translates into “Acupuncture & Moxibustion”. Rarely in the medicine practiced in ancient China were acupuncture needles inserted without also treating patients with moxa or moxibustion.
Moxibustion is a therapy in which a source of heat is used. It is based just like acupuncture in the theory of energy channels, the theories of Yin and Yang and The Five Elements.
Moxa is made from dried Mugwort ( Artemisa vulgaris) leaves that are compressed and shaped into a long moxa stick, cones and other forms.
Practioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine, burn moxa on selected acupuncture points and regions of the body as an alternative to needles. The practitioner will monitor the heat level and work with the patient to provide a therapeutic level of heat while maintaining comfort and safety.
According to the Greek mythology Artemisa vulgaris or common Mugwort derives its generic name from that of the Greek moon goddess Artemis, a patron of women. (http://www.greekmythology. Com/ Olympians/Artemis/artemis.html )
Mugwort was also important in Druidic and Anglo-Saxon times – being one of the nine herbs to repel evil and poisons. It was known as the ‘Mother of Herbs’ and was associated with witchcraft (old goddess religions) and fertility rites). (http://wightdruids.com/index.phpoption=com_ content&view=a rticle&id =92 &Itemid=112)
Moxa strengthen the immune system Both Chinese and foreign scientists have discovered that Moxibustion strengthen the immune system, stimulate the flow of qi (life energy) and metabolism, regulates the functions of internal organs and maintain general health, making this extraordinary plant beloved of healers and seers alike. ( http://greenalchemy.org/moxa-st-36-secret-longevity)
Moxibustion effects on biochemical changes in the body
Moxa in general has more or less the same applicacions and efficacy as acupuncture. However, medical experiments have shown that Moxibustion exerts much wider and stronger effect on overall biochemical changes in the body than acupuncture. For example: it increases the production of white and red blood cells and haemoglobin. ( http://greenalchemy.org/moxa-st-36-secret-longevity)
Chinese have been researching various anti-aging and life-extension strategies for several millennia. One of the most enduring methods that is still agreed upon today throughout various Asian cultures is Moxibustion.
Pharmacology and therapeutics effects of Artemisa vulgaris: Mugwort has been used to relieve painful menstruation and bring on delayed or irregular menstruation. Its sedative properties have been used to aid epilepsy and it has also been used as a stimulant to lift depression and as a laxative. Its most frequent use was for the digestive system to expel intestinal worms and treat liver and digestive disorders. Bruises and chilblains were also treated by a poultice of Mugwort and it has also been used to treat nausea, headache, arthritis and gout.
Moxibustion: Healing Heat Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Moxibustion has been declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, has been used for millennia in China as a therapeutic method combining heat with the magical healing properties of the Artemisa vulgaris to treat diseases as well as achieve longevity. ( (PDF) Chinese Medicine and the Enticement of Heritage Status )
Gonzalo Garcia Maciá ( Acupuncturist)