I finally got around to processing my moxa which has been drying in the basement for a couple of months. What is moxa you ask? It is a dried and “powdered” herb that is used in moxibustion. This is a Chinese Medicine therapy that involves burning the herb ( in various forms) while in close contact to the skin. The healing properties are inhaled or absorbed. The Chinese often place the slow burning moxa onto the end of a needle or it comes in the shape of a cigar that is smoldering less than an inch away from the skin. The “heat” is used to move stagnant blood and energy. Once flowing smoothly health is restored. That is a very quick and basic explanation. I will do a more in depth post about moxibustion at a later date. As you can see from the photo above I use a box which can be placed on the back or abdomen. You can compare the yellow “powder” which can be bought off the internet with my lovely jade green product. Now that I see and smell what I harvested I can’t imagine using anything else. I peeled the leaves off of the stalk and ran them through my food processor to get the perfect consistency for burning.
Moxie means fighting spirit. That is what the herb mugwort is, strong! Not only is it used by the Chinese to make moxa but it is very popular in Mexico and the American Southwest. In those cultures it moves energy but in a different way. As incense, tincture, a liniment or limpia/energy clearing spray. In Japan they use it in food. Because I consider it to be such a powerful herb I mostly use it externally. Here is just a small sampling of this plant’s many uses. It is thought to arrests bleeding, clears toxins, and may get rid of parasites. In small amounts it can support digestion and the nerves. It is thought to work against numerous nasty bacteria. Historically it has treated bronchitis, hemmorhage, , hepatitis, gout, headache, paralysis, arthritis, scabies, gallstones, flu, jaundice, warts, hair loss, asthma and tonsillitis. It can be used in a small pillow to induce vivid dreams, an amulet against unwanted energies, or burned to purify a space.
Mugwort can easily be found growing in the wild like other Artemisia species. You might even find common mugwort growing in an abandoned lot. It is a large perennial that does not spread. The small flowers are favored by pollinators of all kinds. It is a shame that more people do not have it in their gardens. It is a plant that calls to me. How about you?