Ma Huang (Ephedra Stem)

Ma Huang (Ephedra Stem)

Herb 8 of 16 in Warm, Spicy Herbs that Release the Exterior

Warm Ma Huang (Herba Ephedrae)
Spicy, Slightly Bitter, Warm
Herba Ephedrae
Tone Marks:
má huáng
Hemp Yellow
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Chinese Herb Actions

  • Releases the Exterior and Disperses Wind-Cold
    For Wind-Cold excess patterns with fever, chills, headache, lack of sweating, and a tight, floating pulse. Opens the pores and induces sweating.
  • Stops Wheezing and Asthma
    Obstruction of Lung Qi due to exterior Wind-Cold or wheezing from an internal condition.
  • Reduces Edema and Promotes Urination
    Especially due to obstruction from external Wind-Cold pathogen.

Chinese Herb Contraindications & Cautions

  • Long-term or overuse causes heavy sweating and weakens the body. May also raise blood pressure, do not use if patient has insomnia, spontaneous sweating, high blood pressure, or cardiac arrhythmias. Toasting with honey reduces the dispersing nature of this herb.

Herb-Drug Interactions

  • Ma Huang contains ephedrine and pseudoephedrine which interferes with Sympathomimic (anti-seizure) and Cariovascular drugs.
  • Ma Huang (Ephedra) and MAOI can cause dangerously high blood pressure. FDA proposed a dosage limit of 8 mg every 6 hours (or a total of 24 mg per day) and not more than 7 days of continuous use.

Chinese Herb Toxicity & Overdose

  • There has been 3 reported cases of ephedrine toxicity, after ingestion of 15ml of a 1% solution. Symptoms included diaphoresis, epigastric pain, vomiting, nausea, and temperature elevation.
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Chinese Herb Dosage

  • 3-9 grams.
  • Part used: Twigs or stems.

Chinese Herb Notes

  • Cook first and remove foam from the surface of decoction.
  • Use raw for exterior wind-cold, coat with honey to treat asthma.

This Herb Appears in the Following Formulas:

This herb is considered endangered, toxic, or is illegal in the United States

References Used

The TCM information presented here has been referenced from numerous sources; including teachers, practitioners, class notes from Five Branches University, the following books, as well as other sources. If you have benefited from this information, please consider supporting the authors and their works by purchasing the books below.

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