These cigar-shaped sticks are called moxa sticks (艾灸条)! It is made out of Chinese mugwort, which is also known as Artemisia argyi. Moxa sticks are used in moxibustion and it has been used to prevent and cure diseases for more than 2500 years! The earliest record of moxibustion dates back as early as 581 B.C. in the pre-Qin dynasty in China. It is said to be able to warm Yang, tonify qi and nurture blood.
There are currently many different branded moxa sticks in the market, however, there is little knowledge about the beneficial values between different brands of moxa sticks in the market.
At ChemoPower, we did a study on the quality of four brands of moxa sticks, two brands were bought from Tao Bao (淘宝), and the other two brands were bought from local shops. To determine moxa sticks with better quality as well as purity, the composition of compounds with beneficial values in each brand were identified using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Using ChemoPower’s SmartDalton™ and MoleculeDB™ technology, we are able to identify and analyse the unique and highly trace compounds of each brand of moxa sticks. A total of 318 different compounds were identified with a detection limit of up to 0.007% of the total area percentage.
There are a total of 7 health beneficial compounds which were found at high abundance in moxa sticks; Eucalyptol, Borneol, Caryophyllene, Caryophyllene oxide, Terpinen-4-ol, Camphor and L-alpha-terpineol.
In conclusion, moxa sticks bought from Singapore contain more health beneficial compounds as compared to those bought from Tao Bao.
Article written by Gilbert Goh
Intern (Singapore Polytechnic)