A Complete Guide on How to Use Wormwood as an Immune Boost in Flu-Fighting Season

Not only is Christmas coming soon, but so is the sneezing season. There is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the coming flu season. Everyone becomes a flu fighter and wonders how to boost their immune system without a flu shot.

Moxa or Wormwood sticks have been used as a holistic therapy to treat various illnesses and blockages in the human body. There are also different devices beginners can use to safely perform DIY moxibustion at home. (Shutterstock)

Traditional Chinese Medicineacupuncture, and moxibustion have been practiced since ancient times. Being 100 percent natural, practitioners utilize these three methods to prevent illnesses and promote health.

A human body functions properly when a healthy human body is balanced in all channels. In acupuncture, the human body consists of meridians, acupoints, channels, qi, and blood. All five elements affect each other and our internal system.

Using Chinese herbs is similar in functions to Western health supplements; it helps you prevent sickness and diseases by boosting the efficacy of the internal system, making sure the human body is in tip-top condition.

However, when you are sick, TCM becomes a holistic remedy to cure physical and internal imbalance, blockage and malfunction, like Western medication given by physicians, such as Advil for headaches, Claritin for allergies, or Pepto Bismol for stomach upset.

The significant difference between Chinese and Western medicinal practices is that Chinese herbs are 100 percent natural instead of artificial and mass-produced by pharmaceutical companies.

Besides, natural herbs are also less likely to cause the long list of side effects you can barely understand in a TV advert.

According to the health and wellness blog of American insurance company Kaiser Permanente, it recognizes that Wormwood, or moxa, has been used for centuries by Chinese herbalists to treat gastrointestinal issues such as indigestion and irregular menstruation as it stimulates the uterus.

The blog also regarded Wormwood as a helpful remedy for liver and gallbladder concerns.

What is Wormwood/Moxa

Wormwood is a plant that grows above the ground. The root is the part that is used for medicinal purposes.

Epoch Times Photo
Wormwood is a plant that grows above the ground. The root is the part that is used for medicinal purposes. (Shutterstock)

As moxa plants have a warming effect, it enhances healing when used along with acupuncture and moxibustion. Moxa boosts one’s immune system, heats meridians, and disperses cold qi.

The heat stimulates unblocking of channels, qi, or blood. It helps to restore balance and health. That is why Wormwood is a popular and effective herb to treat diseases, partially for the cold seasons.

Moxa plants are crunched and molded into cones or sticks for moxibustion, which means burning moxa. Burnt Wormwood in either form is used in direct or indirect moxibustion.

What is Moxibustion?

Both moxa cones and sticks are made of dried wormwood leaves.

How is indirect or direct moxibustion performed?

Experienced practitioners apply moxa cones directly resting on the skin, depending on the particular area of the treatment.

In indirect moxibustion, an acupuncturist burns a moxa stick and holds it at a distance above the body surface to warm the treated area.

The therapist also may place the moxa on acupuncture needles and heat them once the leaves are burnt and extinguished, the heat of the moxa transfers onto the acupuncture needles.

It writes, “By physically stimulating these channels, the practitioner can use moxibustion to promote self-regulation and bring health to the patient.”

A Complete Guide on DIY Moxibustion

In some countries, it might not be easy to find moxibustion acupuncturists, but there is a solution. You can do it yourself in a safe environment, as it involves burning the Chinese mugwort leaves.

How to choose Wormwood/ Moxa sticks?

Moxa or wormwood sticks used for moxibustion therapy are dried wormwood leaves crunched and rolled into stick forms. Good quality moxa depends on several factors, such as appearance and touch.

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Moxa or wormwood sticks used for moxibustion therapy are dried wormwood leaves crunched and rolled into stick forms. (Shutterstock)

Check the texture. Good quality wormwood should be soft and winding but not sticky. On the other hand, poor-quality moxa is scratchy, uneven, rough to the touch, and ashy.

The color should be solid yellowish-green in a tight bunch.

Like a fine wine, the longer the age of the Wormwood, the better the quality. The golden standard of aged moxa is three years or more.

How to choose moxibustion equipment?

Freehand moxibustion therapy is better. The longer the session, the practitioner or person performing the moxibustion might be unable to keep hands steady for an extended period.

Here are three standard moxibustion devices:

1. Wooden moxibustion box

Suitable for use on the abdomen and back. The elastic band of the box stabilizes the positions where the moxibustion is performed.

Once lit, stabilize the strip in the box. The bottom of the box is structured like an iron screen to keep the burning strip working. The ash from the strip is harmless.

During the therapy, the acupuncturist will regularly adjust the strip’s height to achieve a consistent temperature. Generally, a sizable moxibustion device with a long moxa strip can burn for 30 minutes.

Epoch Times Photo
During the therapy, the acupuncturist will regularly adjust the strip’s height to achieve a consistent temperature. Generally, a sizable moxibustion device with a long moxa strip can burn for 30 minutes. (Shutterstock)

This device is suitable for performing moxibustion on the limbs. You can fix the moxa strip directly into the gourd mallet. The bottom structure is also an iron screen window to prevent ash from falling onto the body. The material which contacts the skin’s surface is rubber, so it is less likely to cause burning on the skin. During the session, it is required to adjust the height of the moxibustion regularly to keep the temperature and effect consistent.

3. Round compact moxibustion device

This small round compact moxibustion device is suitable for treating limbs and the abdomen. It comes with an elastic band that can be fixed on where treatment is targeted. After being lit, fix the short moxibustion strip onto the metal rod in the box. Once the lid is closed, the vent is for controlling the size of the flame. If the moxibustion box is too hot, you can put the box inside the original sleeve before stabilizing onto the limbs to avoid burns.

Due to the compact size, the length of the session is also shortened.

4. Flame-out plug

Should a beginner perform moxibustion with bare hands or equipment?

Epoch Times Photo
A Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor warms up the points with a wormwood cigar. (Shutterstock)

It depends on several factors for beginners who would like to practice self-moxibustion.

Is it effective?

It is still best to use bare hands for a moxibustion session since it allows you to adjust the height of the strip anytime. The results are even more impactful if using the sparrow pecking moxibustion technique.

I would recommend using a moxibustion box for effective moxibustion maintenance.

Is it convenient or doable?

Moxibustion care needs to be maintained over an extended period of time, it can be performed two to three times a week, or if you have time, you can perform moxibustion daily.

However, if you require another person to help, it may reduce the doability and results of the treatment.

Therefore, by using a simple and convenient moxibustion device, you are more likely to keep up with the treatment to improve your immune system.

Moxibustion box or Gourd moxibustion and mallet are highly recommended for beginners. The key is first to increase the frequency of treatment with moxibustion.

The Don’ts of Moxibustion

1, Don’t get burnt
During moxibustion, always keep an eye on how close you put the stick and the skin. The temperature should be warm but comfortable. If it becomes too hot, you should adjust the height of the maxima stick immediately to avoid blistering.

2. Don’t use moxa sticks on wounds
People with dermatologic diseases, ulcers, pus, or injuries are prohibited from moxibustion.

3. Don’t perform moxibustion on children
Children’s skin is more delicate than adults, and their energy is more active. Maintaining stillness during the treatment can be tricky. Hence, children are more at risk of burns.

4. Don’t perform moxibustion on pregnant women.
Moxibustion is generally not recommended during pregnancy, However. Consult a trusted doctor for further assessment and advice.

Patients who overeat, are overworked, consume too much alcohol, or are too exhausted mentally and psychically should not receive moxibustion treatment

6. Don’t treat patients with diabetes, skin perception and peripheral perception should not conduct moxibustion

7. Don’t treat anyone with koro disease, yin deficiency, and solid internal heat. Professional treatment for these patients is required.

8. Don’t leave flames unattended.

Since moxa sticks tend to burn dimly, they are easy to go unnoticeable, and forget to put out the flames properly with the flame-out plug. Ensure you extinguish the burning stick’s flame entirely after each use.

We hope you find this extra herbalist tool helpful in fighting the flu season.

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