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Laiwu's mugwort industry gears up for Dragon Boat Festival

By Li Jiaying | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-06-06 23:47

As Dragon Boat Festival approaches, Shandong province's Laiwu region is pulling out the stops to boost its burgeoning mugwort industry during its harvest season.

The Dragon Boat Festival, which falls on June 10 this year, is one of China's four main traditional holidays and has been declared a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The celebration features a range of customs, including the eating of zongzi, which are traditional Chinese rice dishes made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo leaves, and the hanging of mugwort.

Mugwort, an aromatic flowering plant, is harvested each year around the same time as the Dragon Boat Festival and is highly valued for its medicinal properties, which are thought to include hemostatic, anti-inflammatory, anti-asthmatic, and anti-allergic effects.

The leaves and stems of the mugwort plant are also said to contain aromatic oils that repel insects and purify the air.

Additionally, dried and crushed mugwort leaves are used to produce moxa, which is used in the traditional Chinese medicine practice of moxibustion, to warm the meridians, expel dampness and cold, and support overall health.

The Qishan Aixiang rural complex, a Laiwu-based hub for mugwort production, processing and sales, is poised for a bumper season with more than 533 hectares dedicated to the cultivation of the plant.

The base produces more than 100 refined mugwort products, including patches, tea, and moxa items and generates an annual income of more than 10 million yuan ($1.38 million) and supports at least 400 jobs in the surrounding area.

"The current peak production season for mugwort has a lot to do with stable power supply," said Liu Weihao, general manager of the rural complex. "The local power supplier has proactively checked our electrical equipment and guided us in adjusting our power usage plan according to our production schedule and load, helping save over 1,000 yuan in electricity costs each month."

Because mugwort processing is heavily influenced by the weather, Laiwu has tailored electricity plans to accommodate the fluctuating power needs of local enterprises. By optimizing power usage strategies based on production capacity, the company helps reduce electricity costs while ensuring a reliable power supply for production.

"To ensure a reliable power supply for the development of the local mugwort industry, we completed the rural network upgrade for two stations in two villages last year, extending over 800 meters of low-voltage lines to meet the irrigation and production needs of the mugwort planting base," said Xu Shulong, an executive with the State Grid Laiwu Power Supply Co.

lijiaying@chinadaily.com.cn

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