Ephedra (Ma Huang) Prepared aconite (Zhi Fu Zi) Wild ginger (Xi Xin)

Chinese: 麻黄细辛附子汤

Pinyin: Má Huáng Xì Xīn Fù Zǐ Tāng

Other names: Ephedra, Asarum, and Aconite Accessory Root Decoction

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that clear Exterior disorders with Interior deficiency

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: MeaslesMigraineSciatica and thirteen other conditions

  1. Tonifes the Yang
  2. Releases the Exterior

Contraindications: This formula should be used safely to release the Exterior only in cases where... This formula should be used safely to release the Exterior only in cases where the underlying Yang Deficiency is mild.  When the Deficiency is severe, this formula should be avoided because it can seriously damage the Yang. see more

Source date: 220 AD

Source book: Discussion of Cold Damage

Ma Huang Xi Xin Fu Zi Tang is a 3-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Ephedra (Ma Huang) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Exterior disorders with Interior deficiency. Its main actions are: 1) tonifes the Yang and 2) releases the Exterior.

In Chinese Medicine health conditions are thought to arise due to "disharmonies" in the body as a system. These disharmonies are called "patterns" and the very purpose of herbal formulas is to fight them in order to restore the body's harmony.

From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as common cold, bronchial asthma or allergic rhinitis for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the three ingredients in Ma Huang Xi Xin Fu Zi Tang, we review the patterns and conditions that Ma Huang Xi Xin Fu Zi Tang helps treat.

The three ingredients in Ma Huang Xi Xin Fu Zi Tang

Ma Huang is a king ingredient in Ma Huang Xi Xin Fu Zi Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Ephedra (Ma Huang)

Part used: Dried herbaceous stems

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: BladderLung

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Ma Huang is warm and acrid. It promotes sweating, releases the Exterior, and disperses the Cold.  Ephedra and Prepared aconite is a good pair in this formula. Ephedra opens the skin pores to expels pathogen, while Prepared aconite boosts the Interior Yang Qi to push the pathogen.

Learn more about Ephedra (Ma Huang)

Zhi Fu Zi is a deputy ingredient in Ma Huang Xi Xin Fu Zi Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

2. Prepared Aconite (Zhi Fu Zi)

Part used: Processed daughter root

Nature: Hot

Taste(s): PungentSweet

Meridian affinity: HeartKidneySpleen

Category: Herbs that warm the Interior and/or expel Cold

Zhi Fu Zi acrid and warm. It warms the Kidneys and also boosts the Yang.  Ephedra and Prepared aconite is a good pair in this formula. Ephedra opens the skin pores to expels pathogen, while Prepared aconite boosts the Interior Yang Qi to push the pathogen.

Learn more about Prepared Aconite (Zhi Fu Zi)

Xi Xin is an assistant ingredient in Ma Huang Xi Xin Fu Zi Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

3. Wild Ginger (Xi Xin)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: HeartKidneyLung

Category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

Xi Xin assists the key Herb in releasing the Exterior and the Deputy Herb in dispersing the Interior-Cold. It also acts as an envoy by entering the Lesser Yin Kidney Channel, where it aids in focusing the formula's actions on the Lesser Yin-Warp Symptoms.

Learn more about Wild Ginger (Xi Xin)

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