Moxa (Folium Artemisiae Aagyi)
Known as mugwort or Aì yè in Chinese medicine, Moxabustion is a form of heat therapy that consists of burning the dried leaf on or above specific points on the body. It helps to warm areas of the body with the intention of stimulating circulation and lymphatic flow. It also helps to smooth the flow of Qi and blood and expel pathogenic influences.
Internally Ai ye is used to help stop bleeding and warm the womb. It can help stop prolonged menstrual bleeding and alleviate menstrual pain. It has been known to calm a restless fetus and turn breech position babies(Coyle 2005). This herb is bitter and acrid with warming properties and is thought to enter into the spleen, liver and kidney meridians.
But it is best known for its topical uses. Moxa therapy is used in many cultures around the globe and there are several techniques to use this powerful herb. I love the way it combines with acupuncture treatments. One form of Moxa is indirect moxa- in which the leaf is pressed into a stick or pole, which resembles a cigar. It is lit and then used above the surface of the skin to create a gentle warmth. Another technique is direct moxa- which tiny amounts of the herb is placed directly onto the skin and lit, this creates a more focused heat.
Moxa therapy is often used during an acupuncture appointment but can also easily be done on your own at home! Make sure your practitioner goes over how to use it so you avoid any risk of burns.
What is Moxa used for?
Pain management/ injuries / arthritis-especially when the pain feels worse with cold
gynecological issues/ menstrual pain/ breech position of fetus
Boosting immunity/ protects against flu and cold
Pharmacological Effects of Moxa
Hemostatic- Both fresh and charred forms have been shown to stop bleeding
Antiasthmatic- Essential oil is best for this purpose
1. Coyle ME, Smith CA, Peat B. "Cephalic Version by Moxibustion for Breech Presentation. " Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005 18;(2):CD003928
2. Chen JK, Chen TT, Crampton L. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. City of Industry, CA: Art of Medicine Press; 2004.