TCM explained 2.


TCM explained 2. A look at moxibustion, a well-known TCM treatment. See how it is mostly used. But does it work? Is it safe? Debunking some myths.

One can find details here and here.

Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine therapy which consists of burning dried mugwort on particular points on the body. It plays an important role in the traditional medical systems of China, Tibet, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Mongolia. Suppliers usually age the mugwort and grind it up to a fluff; practitioners burn the fluff or process it further into a cigar-shaped stick. They can use it indirectly, with acupuncture needles, or burn it on the patient’s skin.
Generally speaking mugwort is used. See the earlier article.

How it is used

A practitioner burns the herb “moxa” on or above the skin to warm and stimulate specific points on the body. Practitioners use moxibustion either as a stand-alone therapy or in combination with acupuncture.
The “cigars” are lit, they can be used directly or inserted in a copper device, see here what I found at home:

There are also pouches that can be affixed to certain parts of the body, with smaller tablets that are inserted after letting them burn.


Needless to say, as it is normally done inside a room, the smoke is very polluting.
Exposure to the particulate matter (PM2.5 in particular) present in the smoke has been linked to asthma, lung inflammation and even cancer. In fact, long-term exposure to incense and moxibustion smoke was found to be related to an increased risk for upper respiratory cancers as well as squamous cell lung cancer.
Not recommended anyway in your home…

Does it work?

In traditional Chinese medicine, moxibustion aims to stimulate the body’s flow of vital energy or “qi” and remove toxins.
Western practitioners may use moxibustion to help alleviate pain and inflammation from various ailments. However, there is insufficient scientific evidence to support its effectiveness.
Although moxibustion is often used as asymptomatic treatment for a wide range of conditions in clinical practice, e.g., arthritis, gastrointestinal problems, gynecological complaints and stroke rehabilitation, its clinical effectiveness remains uncertain, and many experts doubt its biological plausibility.
So, I am not that convinced. But the heath of the application can maybe alleviate some pain… and make you feel better.

Electric Moxa Device Red Light Therapy

This uses infrared light, with “moxa disks” of mugwort, with a special machine, see pics of advertised machines available world-wide. See the machine I sometimes use (see the moxa disks, the oil, where to insert the disks).
You can control temperature and timing.

When I  use the machine I apply the “massage oil” on the treated body part. Effective? I don’t know, but at least it’s very comfortable and does not produce smoke!

Belgium Day in Beijing

Ambassador’s residence

Very often Belgium Day in Beijing on 21 July is not celebrated as it is in the middle of summer and many people are away. Mostly 15 November, Kings Day, replaces the real national day.

Our Ambassador Jan Hoogmartens this year opened his residence for a very nice celebration, well attended by the hardcore Belgians in Beijing, on 21 July.

It was a wonderful and relaxed evening.
The residence is behind the construction of the new embassy, design by our Belgian architect Nicolas Godelet (NG-Lab).

Buffet by Morel’s

To the satisfaction of all Renaat Morel spoiled us all with his buffet. I was happy to lend a hand, fully dressed in my chef’s attire with Belgian colors. I think it’s fun to help! Big success for the lasagna, Belgian fries and all the other goodies. People also tried the Belgian Natural Artisan Ice Cream.
The ambassador kindly sponsored the whole evening, the food and the drinks. Thank you!

Best Belgian food in Beijing (3)

Afternoon tea

Best Belgian food in Beijing (3) focuses on afternoon tea, a typical Dutch sandwich and flowers. Of course in Morel’s Restaurant.

The restaurant is open in the afternoon and is popular for its sumptuous afternoon tea.

What is a “smos sandwich”?

Friends who are regulars are sometimes treated to unusual specials, like the Martino and also the broodje smos, or smos or smoske.

A smos sandwich, sometimes called smos or smoske, is the Flemish name for a sandwich or piece of baguette often topped with cheese, ham, vegetables and egg slices. The name comes from the Flemish word ‘smossen’ which means to spill. So much topping is put in between the sandwich that it often spills while eating. In Wallonia the name “dagobert” is used, and in Brussels “sandwich club”.

The bun is first spread with mayonnaise or another sauce and then topped with vegetables and slices of hard-boiled egg. Vegetables that are used include lettuce, tomato and cucumber. Usually cheese and/or ham or, for example, crab salad is also added. There are also variants where deep-frying products such as a frikandel or meat croquette are placed between the sandwich.

In the province of Antwerp and in Sint-Niklaas, they use the word smos for a sandwich without cheese and ham with only vegetables on it. In that case, you order a smos and say the topping that goes on after it (for example a smos cheese or smos ham). If you order a smos in West Flanders, Sint-Niklaas or in Antwerp, you can receive different sandwiches.
The sandwich has similarities with the Dutch sandwich “gezond”.

A flower paradise

Susan Morel and her team also takes care of the wonderful flower arrangements, and some flower gifts for the ladies. As mentioned earlier Susan has become a real master florist.

I admit many of the flowers I have no idea about. She sources them from all over China.

TCM explained 1.

Mugwort it is

In “TCM explained 1”  (or should I say debunked…) let’s look at Chinese foot bath.
There are different kinds of the artemisia plant.
Wormwood (Artemisia absinthum) and mugwort both belong to the artemisia family. Even when it comes to mugwort, there are different kinds, such as artemisia vulgaris and artemisia argyii. Artemisia argyii is specifically growing in the northern temperate zones of Asia. It is the one which we use in China. Wormwood is seldom used in China.
Artemisia argyii, commonly known as silvery wormwood or Chinese mugwort, is a herbaceous perennial plant. It is known in Chinese as àicǎo (艾草) or àiyè (艾叶).
The edible plant mugwort can be confused with wormwood (Artemisia absinthium). Examination of the leaves is how to tell the difference. Mugwort leaves are green on the top and white underneath, and they have pointed tips and purplish stems, while wormwood leaves have a silvery top and bottom and the flowers are more showy.
It can warm the meridians, stop bleeding, disperse cold and stop pain.

See here my foot bath at home:

Artemisia argyii is used in moxibustion and can also be used in food bath.
In China for moxibustion and foot bath we exclusively use Artemisia argyii. More about moxibustion in another post, coming soon.
All kinds of plants might be used in foot baths but not wormwood.

Singapore shop Kin Teck Tong puts it correctly

Kin Teck Tong
Chinese Mugwort, also known as Artemisia Argyii, has been used for centuries in TCM treatments (Moxibustion) and in food due to its medicinal properties. Chinese Mugwort is known for its numerous benefits and highly recommended by physicians for properties such as dispelling dampness, stimulating blood circulation and enhancing women’s health.
Other common uses for Mugwort include treating cold hands and feet, gingivitis, intestinal problems such as constipation, chills, and insomnia.
Mugwort Foot Bath: Singapore’s humid weather all year round can result in high level of moisture in the air. As such, dampness accumulates in the body and causes symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, swelling, poor appetite, joint pain, irritable skin and so on. Using Mugwort Foot Bath, body can be reconditioned, and dampness will be dispelled at the same time, alleviating any symptoms caused by the excessive damp.

Many Internet shops and articles are wrong

Google search makes it confusing as one finds often “Moxa Mugwort Herb Wormwood Dried Leaves Cake Foot Bath” and “Moxa Mugwort Cake Chinese Herb Wormwood Foot Bath Soak SPA Chinese Medicine Health Care Massage”.

See a sample of online sale here. The foot bath is said to:
Remove toxins, soften blood vessels, promoting blood circulation.
Relieve fatigue, promote the blood running, have strong immunity.
Instant and long-term relief: cracking, itching, burning, caused by toe/skin fungus
Cures most jock itch and ringworm. Antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties to deodorize.
Reduces inflammation, pain, and itching. Softens corns, calluses & rough heels.
Relieving foot fatigue, detumescence and acesodyne, promoting sleeping.
Enhance Immunity. Expand blood vessel, reduce the blood pressure.

In the above change wormwood to mugwort!

And here another one: Wormwood foot bath
It is wrong – change wormwood to mugwort to be correct in the following text:
Wormwood has anti-inflammatory, relieving cough and asthma, dispelling cold and dampness, anti-allergic and hemostasis effects. Many people are accustomed to soaking their feet in hot water with wormwood.
What are the benefits of hot water foot bath with wormwood?
Foot soaking can relieve fatigue and improve sleep quality. When it comes to foot soaking, wormwood is the “golden partner”.
Soaking feet in hot water can promote local blood supply and help to expel dampness and cold in the body; coupled with wormwood, it can open up the twelve meridians and regulate the balance of yin and yang. If the meridians are unobstructed, the qi and blood are also unblocked.
The main symptoms of strong cold or false fire are sore throat, stomatitis and oral ulcers. You might as well boil the wormwood in a pot, take out the liquid and soak your feet until the whole body sweats.
Wormwood can have antiviral and antibacterial effects, and at the same time can enhance resistance, insisting on soaking feet in hot water with wormwood can treat athlete’s foot and athlete’s foot.

7Fresh in Beijing Yizhuang

Exploring new places

I admit I am pretty lazy and mostly don’t go far away from Sanlitun. A friend recommended 7Fresh in Beijing Yizhuang, so Renaat and Susan took me along to explore the 7Fresh Food Market that is next to the JD 7 Fresh Supermarket. That was in February 2019 before the COVID mess hit us all.
Covering 4000 sqm, the store is at the Dazu Plaza Shopping Center, near the e-commerce company’s headquarters in Yizhuang district. Closest subway station is Rongjingdongjie of the Yizhuang Line (Line 5).

We tried many of the dishes, all of excellent quality. Great experience!

More about the supermarket

Fresh goods and unmanned delivery service at JD 7Fresh Supermarket.
On February 18, 2022, 62 Chinese and foreign journalists visited JD Group’s 7Fresh Supermarket in Yizhuang District of Beijing. Founded in 2017, 7Fresh is a gourmet fresh supermarket providing consumers with instant and fast quality retail services through online and offline channels, and dedicated to creating a better quality life for customers. Journalists visited the fruit and vegetable, bakery, wine, Chinese food , meat, seafood, and catering sections in the store, to learn about the business and operation mode of 7Fresh, its supply chain, commodity power and innovation power advantages, and experience the convenient shopping experience first-hand.