Herb Formulas Notebook

Ma Huang Jia Bai Zhu Tang

Ephedra plus Atractylodes Decoction

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Source: Essentials from the Golden Cabinet (c. 220)
Author: Zhang Ji / Zhong-Jing

Category: Formulas that Release the Exterior

Pattern: Damp-Cold in the Exterior or invasion of Wind-Dampness with chronic Spleen Qi deficiency and Internal Damp

Key Symptoms: Pronounced body aches with irritability
Secondary Symptoms: Cough, wheezing, headaches, simultaneous fever and chills, aversion to cold with absence of sweating

Tongue: White coating

Ma Huang 6-9g
Bai Zhu 6-12g
Gui Zhi 4-6g
Xing Ren 6-9g
Zhi Gan Cao 3g

In the UK the maximum legal dose of Ma Huang allowed without prescription is 1.8g per day, and a maximum of 0.6g per administration. This makes it difficult to get the effects required. If necessary it can be substituted with Zi Su Ye, Jing Jie and Fang Feng or Wei Ling Xian.

Preparation: Decoction. Do not cook for more than 20 minutes.

Actions: Releases the Exterior, expels Wind, resolves Dampness, strengthens the Spleen

Contraindications: Recent blood loss, patients prone to bleeding (especially nosebleeds), hypertension, anxiety and restlessness in patients who tend to be overstimulated

In order to mitigate the agitation causing effects of Ma Huang it may be fried in honey first and when decocted the froth removed from the surface with a spoon.

Research Links:
Science Direct
Google Scholar
Journal of Chinese Medicine
American Dragon

Reference Notes: (click to display)

These pages are intended to assist clinicians and are not intended for self-diagnosis or treatment for which a qualified professional should be consulted.