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The Magic Herb 001: Ma Huang(麻黄)


I have been practicing Chinese medicine, including herbs, acupuncture, and manual therapy for over a decade. I have been asked by my patients how Chinese medicine works thousands of times. Ma Huang(麻黄) is the first herb of the series: Magic Chinese Herbs. If you are interested in understanding how Chinese herbal medicine works, please follow us on instagram@kampohealth to learn more and stay in tune for more materials in the near future.

麻黄 – Ma Huang – Ephedra
Plants that have psychoactive properties have been used since ancient times, and Chinese Medicine is no exception. One such plant is Ephedra, which has potent effects on the brain and nervous system. Similar to the Coca plant used in South America, the Chinese have traditionally used Ephedra for its energy-enhancing functions. This plant acts as a powerful stimulant and enhancer of the sympathetic nervous system. Its effects are similar to those of adrenaline and amphetamines; increasing heart rate, opening airways, and directing blood flow to the muscles and brain. In North America, the FDA has banned the use of Ephedra due to its potent effects on the neuroendocrine system. Properly processed, this plant has been utilized to create methamphetamine.

Fortunately, licensed Chinese herbalists and health practitioners in Toronto, ON can still utilize Ephedra in formulated treatment, which is the safest and most effective way to its therapeutic use.

Chinese practitioners have traditionally used this plant to treat a variety of conditions, including hormonal imbalances, adrenal fatigue syndrome, asthma, seasonal allergies, skin conditions, acute and chronic respiratory infections, and even weight loss. Western herbalists have also recognized the benefits of this herb and incorporated it into treatments for asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and allergies.


How to use Ma Huang in Chinese medicine Toronto?

Classical TCM Indication → to treat Damp and Cold
Symptoms observed in your patient:

  • Yellow swelling (suggests dampness), aversion to cold with body aches, no sweating with cough and panting.

Kampo Formula Combinations:

  1. Ephedra and Licorice: to regulate the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Chronic ANS imbalance is a major pathological factor for allergies, asthma, fatigue, and depression.
  2. Ephedra and Aconite: to improve heart function. Ephedra stimulates the adrenal gland, thus improving heart contraction, circulation, and overall energy levels.
  3. Ephedra, Cinnamon, and Peony Root: Muscular-skeletal pains, especially arthralgia (joint pains)
  4. Ephedra and gypsum: I have used this combination in weight loss formulas: to regulate metabolism and inhibit excessive hunger.

Chinese medicine includes many potent medicines that can greatly improve quality of life and even save lives when used with carefully designed formulas and appropriate dosages. However, it is crucial to avoid using Ephedra alone, as it can lead to elevated blood pressure, heart palpitations, and other harmful side effects. It is important to consult with a medical professional before considering the use of this herb to ensure it is safe and appropriate for your individual health needs.

Contact Kampo Health if you have any concerns about your health and Chinese medicine.

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