English: Sesame oil

Chinese: 麻油

Parts used: Pressed oil

TCM category: Herbs for external application

TCM nature: Cool

TCM taste(s): Sweet

Organ affinity: Large intestine

Scientific name: Sesamum indicum

Use of Ma You (sesame oil) in TCM

Please note that you should never self-prescribe TCM ingredients. A TCM ingredient is almost never eaten on its own but as part of a formula containing several ingredients that act together. Please consult a professional TCM practitioner, they will be best able to guide you.

Preparation: Collect the sesami and press to get oil

Dosage: 7-70ml

Main actions according to TCM*: Moistens the Large Intestines and unblock stools. Neutralizes toxins.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Ma You may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Constipation Food stagnation Roundworm Sores Ulcers Scabies Chapped skin

Common TCM formulas in which Ma You is used*

Zi Dang Gao

Source date: 1831 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Formula key actions: Clears Heat and cools the Blood. Resolves toxicity . Moistens Dryness. Relieves pain and itching.

Conditions targeted*: Lip soresEczema and others

Ma You is an envoy ingredient in Zi Dang Gao. This means that it directs the formula towards certain area of the body and/or harmonizes the actions of other ingredients.

In Zi Dang Gao, Ma You neutralizes toxins.

Read more about Zi Dang Gao

Key TCM concepts behind Ma You's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Ma You belongs to the 'Herbs for external application' category. Like the name indicates, this category of herbs is used mostly for external application in the form of powders, pastes or ointments. As such they are used to treat trauma, inflammation, swelling, bruises, bleeding, pain and so forth.

Furthermore Ma You is Cool in nature. This means that Ma You tends to help people who have too much 'Heat' in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Cold in nature. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much Heat in their body are said to either have a Yang Excess (because Yang is Hot in nature) or a Yin deficiency (Yin is Cold in Nature). Depending on your condition Ma You can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Ma You also tastes Sweet. The so-called 'Five Phases' theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Sweet ingredients like Ma You tends to slow down acute reactions and detoxify the body. They also have a tonic effect because they replenish Qi and Blood.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Ma You is thought to target the Large intestine. In TCM the Large Intestine receives the "impure" parts of the digested food from the Small Intestine, absorbs the remaining fluids and excrete the remainder as feces.