Ma Dou Ling (Birthwort Fruit) - Chinese Herbal Medicine

Chinese Name: Ma Dou Ling
English Name: Birthwort Fruit

Clinical Usage and Indications

  • Clears the lungs, transforms phlegm - cough, wheezing due to either lung heat or lung deficiency accompanied by heat signs, as long as there is phlegm clogging the lungs.
  • Hypertension, bleeding hemorrhoids.

Functional Groups (Click for Summary/Study Notes)

Dosage and Preparation Notes

  • Dosage: 3-9g

Channels/Meridians Influenced

Associated Temperature and Taste

Cautions and Contraindications

  • Contains Aristolochic Acid.

Staff Clinician Notes

There are no additional notes for this herb.

Herbal Formulas Which Include This Herb

Below you will find Traditional Chinese Medicine herbal formulas which contain this particular herb (in alphabetical order). You may click on the name of the formula for more details or click on any of the products from our store to read usage information or purchase a particular formula.


rollie57's picture

Hi, I wish to update this


I wish to update this text about Ma Dou Ling with clinical notes since this herb is banned in the USA and Europe. Birthwort were a major ingredient in herbal medicine against stomache ache and liver malfunctions. My question is if any other herbs in remedys will lower its toxical effect, especically the devastating effects with kidney failure.


best regards

Feng Mei's picture

Birthwort Fruit(Ma Dou Ling),

Birthwort Fruit(Ma Dou Ling), herbs of the aristolochic, taste is bitter, nature is slightly cold, energy go in the lungs, large intestine meridians.  Poisoning symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, blood in the stool, hematuria and proteinuria, respiratory depression, blood pressure fall. Water to cook fruit 30g, after serving about 10 minutes, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, following vomiting, gradually increase the worse vomiting, and dehydration, acidosis. Livestock poisoning caused by the digestive organs and kidney inflammation, polyuria, hematuria, diarrhea, loss of appetite and rumination disappeared, perception dull Ma, drowsiness, dilated pupils, paralysis of the hindquarters, difficulty in breathing.
Functions in TCM:
Clear lung, reducing gas, cough and asthm. Used for Hyperactivity cough, bloody sputum, typhoid hemorrhoid blood, hemorrhoids, swelling and pain.

Discovered in recent years the aristolochic contain aristolochic acid has a strong renal toxicity , so the use of the drug need to be careful, can not be long-term or a large number of continuously taking, the safe use should be carried out under the guidance of the physician.

Studies have shown that the Birthwort Fruit containing aristolochic acid, which the plant can lead users to take those who suffer from kidney disease, renal failure and bladder cancer.