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a Chinese Formula

Ma Huang Tang (Ephedra Decoction)

Previous Formula in CategoryNext Formula in Category Formula 5 of 25 in Formulas that Release the Exterior


  • Formulas that Release Early-Stage Exterior Disorders


  • Exterior Wind-Cold Excess


  • Promotes sweating, releases the exterior, and disperses wind cold


  • Excess Wind Cold condition
  • Chills and fever, no sweating, body aches, headache, wheezing, runny nose with clear discharge.

Possible Tongue Appearance:

  • Thin white tongue coat

Possible Pulse Patterns:

  • Floating and tight pulse

Western Uses:

  • Common Cold
  • Asthma
  • Cough

Cautions, Contraindications, Herb Drug Interactions:

  • Used only in exterior excess Wind Cold, and it's use is ceased once sweating occurs
  • Not for exterior deficient Wind Cold patterns.
  • Not for exterior Wind Heat patterns.
  • Not for patients that are prone to bleeding.
  • Use caution in patients with Hypertension.
  • This formula contains one or more toxic substances (while some Chinese herbs are toxic, it must be noted that many come prepared, or are combined, to mitigate their toxicity).

Originally Appeared In:

  • On Cold Damage (Shang Han Lun)


  • This formula is best used when there is NO sweating with an exterior cold condition.

Combined Channels of all herbs in this formula:

  • Lungs, Bladder, Heart, Large Intestine

Substances in this Formula (4 Total):

Ma Huang (Herba Ephedrae)
Ma Huang (Ephedra Stem) 麻黄
Qty: 9 grams
Chan: LU, BL
Prop: Spicy, Slightly Bitter, Warm
Latin: Herba Ephedrae
Cat: Warm, Spicy Herbs that Release the Exterior
Gui Zhi (Ramulus Cinnamomi Cassiae)
Gui Zhi (Cinnamon Twig, Cassia Twig) 桂枝
Qty: 6 grams
Chan: HT, LU, BL
Prop: Spicy, Sweet, Warm
Latin: Ramulus Cinnamomi Cassiae
Cat: Warm, Spicy Herbs that Release the Exterior
Xing Ren (Semen Pruni Armeniacae)
Xing Ren (Apricot Seed or Kernel) 杏仁
Qty: 9-12 grams
Chan: LI, LU
Prop: Bitter, Slightly Warm, Slightly Toxic
Latin: Semen Pruni Armeniacae
Cat: Herbs that Relieve Coughing and Wheezing
Zhi Gan Cao (Radix Glycyrrhizae)
Zhi Gan Cao (Honey Fried Licorice Root) 炙甘草
Qty: 3 grams
Chan: All 12 Channels
Prop: Sweet, Warm
Latin: Radix Glycyrrhizae
Cat: Herbs that Tonify Qi

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