Pharmaceutical Latin: Herba Ephedrae
Common English: Ephedra Stem
Mormon Tea
Chinese Joint Fir
Numb Yellow
Northern Aromatic
Herbs that Release the Exterior: Warm, Acrid Herbs that Release the Exterior (Wind-Cold Diaphoretics)
Taste Temperature Entering Meridians Dosage
Slightly Bitter
Tincture: 1-3ml
Actions Indications/Syndromes

Induces sweating and releases the Exterior

Wind-Cold Invades the Lung, with anhidrosis, chills, fever, headache and a tight, floating pulse

Tai Yang Stage

Disseminates and facilitates Lung Qi, calms wheezing and stops coughing

Wind-Cold Obstructs Lung Qi

Promotes urination and reduces edema

Externally generated edema

Warms and disperses Cold pathogens

Wind-Cold Bi

Toxic sores without a head

  • Do not use in large doses.
  • Overuse may cause Excess sweating which weakens the body.
  • May raise blood pressure or cause restlessness and tremors.
  • Do not use for those with Liver Yang Rising or Yin Deficiency Fire.
  • Use caution during pregnancy.
  • Use caution for those with convulsions, epilepsy, seizure disorders and hypertension.
  • Use caution for those with insomnia.
  • Caution with Deficiency with spontaneous sweating or wheezing from Kidney failure to grasp Qi, night sweats form Yin Deficiency, pregnancy, anorexia, nursing mothers, stomach ulcers, bulimia, insomnia and cardiac asthma. suicidal tendencies, heart disease, diabetes, hyperthyroid, prostatic enlargement, glaucoma.
  • Combining Ma Huang with cardiac glycosides may lead to cardiac arrhythmia.
  • Do not combine with sympathomimetic drugs such as ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, theophylline, caffeine, monamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) or substances with similar properties.
  • The effect of beta blockers such as atenolol (Tenormin), metoprolol (Lopressor/Toprol), sotalol (Betapace), propranolol (Inderal) and labetalol (Nomordyne/Demadex) may be reduced when combined with Ma Huang because of increased levels of norepinephrine caused by the herb.
  • Concurrent use with diuretics such as chlorothiazide, hydrochlorothiazide, furosimide (Lasix), bumetanide (Bumex) and torsemide (Demadex) may lead to increased elimination of water and/or electrolytes.

Ram. Cinnamomi
Gui Zhi

Sm. Armeniacae
Xing Ren

Shi Gao

(Sm. Armeniacae)
(Xing Ren)

Wind-Cold Excess conditions with fever and chills but no sweat.

Wind-Cold-Damp Bi.

Wind-Cold coughing and wheezing.

Coughing from Heat Obstructing the Lungs with wheezing, flaring of the nostrils and fever.


Shi Gao
Rx. Scutellariae
Huang Qin
Cx. Mori
Sang Bai Pi

Rx. Ginseng
Ren Shen

Rz. Atractylodis Macrocephalae
Bai Zhu
Fu Ling Pi
Cx. Mori
Sang Bai Pi

More severe cough from Heat Obstructing the Lungs with wheezing, fever and flaring of nostrils.

Wind-Cold with underlying Qi Deficiency.

Acute-onset edema.

Rx. Aconiti Lateralis Preparata
Zhi Fu Zi

Rx. Rehmanniae Preparata
Shu Di Huang

Shi Gao
Rx. Scutellariae
Huang Qin

Wind-Cold Bi.

Colds and edema associated with Yang Deficiency.

Yin furuncles caused by Cold-Damp Obstructing the Channels.

Coughing and wheezing associated with Kidney Yin Deficiency.

Cough and wheezing with difficult inhalation due to Kidneys not grasping Qi.

Warms and unblocks the channels and collaterals.

Deficiency Cold at the Ying Stage.

Excess Heat generated by the use of Ma Huang.

Sm. Ginkgo
Bai Guo

Rz. Zingiberis
Gan Jiang
Hb. Asari
Xi Xin
Rz. Pinelliae Preparatum
Zhi Ban Xia

Sm. Armeniacae
Xing Ren

Per. Citri Reticulatae
Chen Pi
Cx. Magnoliae Officinalis
Hou Po

Calms wheezing.

Wheezing or cough due to an Exterior Wind-Cold Attack and Cold Stagnation in the Interior. Wheezing and dyspnea due to Qi and Phlegm Stagnation.

Rz. Zingiberis Recens
Sheng Jiang
Rz. Atractylodis Macrocephalae
Bai Zhu
Rx. Glycyrrhizae
Gan Cao

Sm. Coicis
Yi Yi Ren
Sm. Armeniacae
Xing Ren

Rx. Glycyrrhizae
Gan Cao

Rx. Rehmanniae Preparata
Shu Di Huang
Sm. Sinapis
Bai Jie Zi
Gel. Cornu Cervi
Lu Jiao Jiao

Edema with Exterior wind-Cold signs and symptoms.

Wind-Damp Bi.

Yin sores.

Rx. Rehmanniae Preparata
Shu Di Huang
Sm. Sinapis
Bai Jie Zi
Gel. Cornu Cervi
Lu Jiao Jiao
Cx. Cinnamomi
Rou Gui
Rx. Glycyrrhizae
Gan Cao



Arteritis obliterans, obliterating phlebitis or Raynaud's disease.



  1. This herb is very effective in opening pores and interstices to release exterior conditions (diaphoretic and decongestant).
  2. This herb both encourages the Lung Qi to flow more smoothly and causes it to descend.
  3. This herb is important for externally and internally contracted wheezing.
  4. Slight toxicity has been noted - antidote is atropine.
  5. This herb can cause cardiac arrhythmias.
  6. Large doses increase pain relief by increasing circulation.
  7. It inhibits mediator response.
  8. Combined with Ram. Cinnamomi Gui Zhi, it treats Cold disorders.
  9. Combined with Gypsum Shi Gao, it treats hot disorders.
  10. The roots have the opposite effects from the tops and can be used to treat overdose.
  11. The nodes joining the leaf segments are slightly toxic and are therefore removed.
  12. The Western relative Ephedra Viridis has very little ephedrine and is used by Mormons as Mormon Tea or Brigham  Tea.
  13. It has been used for more than 5,000 years to treat asthma in China.
  14. Cleaned Ephedra Jing Ma Huang has a strengthened diaphoretic effect (this is what is generally used).
  15. Ephedra Cotton Ma Huang Rong has a slightly reduced diaphoretic effect.
  16. Prepared Ephedra Zhi Ma Huang has a reduced diaphoretic effect but an increased ability to calm the Lungs.
  17. Honey-fried Ephedra Mi Zhi Ma Huang has a decreased diaphoretic effect, but the duration of its action is increased.