How To Pick High-Quality Smokeless Moxa Rolls and Sticks?

How To Pick High-Quality Smokeless Moxa Rolls and Sticks?

Moxibustion is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that has been practiced for over thousands of years. It consists of burning dried mugwort on particular points on the body. The purpose of moxibustion is to strengthen the blood flow, stimulate the flow of Qi, and maintain the health. As moxibustion becomes popular as an alternative therapy in nowadays, many people are confused about how to choose the moxibustion products. How to pick the right moxa rolls or sticks exactly?

What kinds of moxibustion products on the market?

Before knowing how to choose the right moxibustion products, it is important to know what kinds of them are available. In fact, there are various kinds of moxibustion products on the market: from the familiar stick moxa to needle moxa, from loose moxa and smokeless moxa, from moxa sprays to even moxa essence/ liquid moxa

Why choosing smokeless moxa?

Zen Smokeless Moxa rolls and Moxa sticks from Lierre Canada

It is known that unaltered moxa sticks and loose moxa will both produce white, mild smoke. In TCM, moxa smoke is considered to be an essential therapeutic element of moxibustion because it contains many beneficial trace elements like iron, zinc, magnesium, sodium, potassium, calcium and more. The smoke also has calming effects on people’s nervous system.

However, in the West, many practitioners and clients prefer to minimize or eliminate the smoke because it is inconvenient, and can bother individuals sensitivity to smoke. Smokeless moxa has therefore developed a loyal following in Canadian and American practices, as well as in other clinics across the world: it is better adapted in small and enclosed spaces.

What is smokeless moxa made of?

Smokeless moxa comes from carbonized moxa and involves additional steps called carbonization during the production process. Carbonized moxa, generally speaking, is charcoal mugwort. The carbonization process minimizes the burning moxa’s emissions, eliminating around 95% of the moxa smoke.

Despite its name, however, smokeless moxa does produce some smoke. The difference between wood and charcoal makes a good analogy: charcoal produces a lot less smoke than raw wood, but it would be inaccurate to say it does not produce any at all.

How to choose the high-quality smokeless moxa?

Carbonization takes place before moxa sticks are rolled, and it creates a powder that will be packed extremely tightly into paper. The end result can make it difficult to distinguish between high quality and low quality moxa leaves, as the texture, colour and scent are thrown off by the carbonisation process.  The quality of the raw ingredient, however, does still make a huge difference whether the moxa is in charcoal form or not, influencing how fast it burns, and ultimately affecting its therapeutic potential. 

Some unethical moxa producers have taken advantage of this difficulty by substituting moxa leaves for branches and stems, or in rare cases, even mixing mugwort with wood charcoal! In these extreme cases, the smokeless moxa sticks can spark and burn the skin. It’s therefore very important to be cautious when purchasing smokeless moxa sticks, and to always test it before using it in treatments.

One way to buy the high-quality moxa is to find a trusted suppliers, but what happens if your regular supplier doesn’t have smokeless moxa, or if you’re away and in a pinch? Here are 4 criteria of determining a smokeless moxa product is high-quality or not. You can choose the right moxa rolls and sticks based on these standards. 

Moxibustion belt for moxa sticks, moxa rolls from Lierre Canada

1. Watch out for any residues.

Watch out for the residues and whether moxa powder falls frequently from the stick. Good quality smokeless moxa sticks are solid, and shouldn’t crumble when lightly tapped or knocked them.

2. Examine the ashes.

Good quality smokeless moxa stick ashes are white, tinged with a bit of grey, and as the stick burns, the ashes won’t fall easily. Note that ashes will invariably be black, however, if there isn’t enough oxygen when the moxa burns: to properly assess the ashes’ colour, do not place the moxa stick in a box, ashtray or in any small container that might impede air flow. 

Bamboo Moxa Holder from Lierre Canada for moxa sticks, moxa rolls


3. Watch the smoke.

Good quality smokeless moxa should produce very little or even no smoke, with only faint, white or gray-ish plumes, while some poor quality “smokeless” moxa stick will produce more smoke, usually darker in colour.

4. Assess how the moxa burns.

Good quality smokeless moxa won’t exhibit any sparkles, but it also won’t extinguish itself easily. You should need to use a moxa ashtray or extinguisher to put out the moxa stick. In order to make a useful judgement, you have to make sure your moxa stick is completely lit, and ensure that there is enough air flow. Otherwise, the stick may extinguish due to lack of oxygen instead of because it is a low-quality stick. 

In conclusion, the quality of smokeless moxa is important because it could affect the efficacy of moxibustion therapy. Watching our for residues, examining the ashes, watching the smoke, and assessing the way that moxa burns are 4 criteria to determine the quality of smokeless moxa. 


If you are interested in doing moxibustion and look for moxibustion products, do not hesitate to visit! We offer a wide range of high-quality moxibustion products as well as moxibustion accessories for you to choose. 

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