Herb Formulas Notebook

Ma Huang Xi Xin Fu Zi Tang

Ephedra, Asarum and Aconite Decoction

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Source: Discussion of Cold Damage (c. 220)
Author: Zhang Ji / Zhong-Jing

Category: Formulas that Release the Exterior

Pattern: Exterior Cold invasion with pre-existing Yang deficiency

Key Symptoms: Slight fever with severe chills that is not relieved by wearing more clothing or adding covers, exhaustion with an almost constant desire to sleep

Pulse: Submerged and faint

Ma Huang 6g
Xi Xin 6g
Zhi Fu Zi 9g

In the UK this entire formula needs to be substituted, Ma Huang being strictly limited, Fu Zi being banned and Xi Xin being available but being voluntarily banned by the RCHM. If we attempt substitute all its ingredients it would look like:
Ma Huang == 1.8g Ma Huang + Jing Jie + Fang Feng + Zi Su Ye
Xi Xin == Gui Zhi + Qiang Huo
Fu Zi == Gan Jiang + Rou Gui
And the dosage restrictions on Ma Haung means it should be taken in three 0.6g doses per day.

Preparation: Originally Ma Huang is decocted in 10 cups of water until 8 remain, the froth removed and the other ingredients added until 3 cups remain. The strained decoction is then taken in 3 doses over the course of a day. At present Fu Zi is cooked first for 30-60 minutes until there is no numbing of the tongue upon tasting and then the other ingredients are added to the decoction.

Actions: Assists the Yang, releases the Exterior

Contraindications: Only for use in mild Yang deficiency. Where it is severe and there is undigested food in the stool and the pulse is almost imperceptible it could devastate the Yang.

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.