Sheng Ma - Black Cohosh Rhizome, Bugbane Rhizome

TCM Materia Medica

Sheng Ma TCM Herb Classifications and Usages

The TCM herb "sheng ma" which in english is Sheng Ma herb"black cohosh rhizome, bugbane rhizome", is categorized within the "herbs that release the exterior wind heat" functional grouping. It is thought to enter the large intestine, lung, spleen and stomach channels and exhibits acrid, cool and sweet (gan) taste/temperature properties.

Dosages and preparations will vary according to each individual and the overall approach of a formula, but generally this herb has the following dosage and/or preparation guidelines:

  • Dosage: 1.5-9g
  • Use honey-roasted version for collapsed conditions.

Of many possible clinical applications, it may be considered to influence the following issues/symptoms:

  • Releases the exterior, vents muscles - accelerates the early stages of skin rashes, headache from wind-heat (forehead - stomach channel).
  • Clears heat, relieves toxicity - toxins in the upper or superficial areas, swelling, painful, sore gums, lips, and/or throat.
  • Raises yang, lifts spleen qi sinking (strong than Ge Gen) - for middle qi deficiency leading to shortness of breath, fatigue, prolapse of stomach, uterus, or rectum.
  • Serves to guide other herbs upwards.

Sheng Ma has some precautions to be considered (see our precautions list).

  • Avoid in cases of yin-deficient heat, upper-excesses and lower deficiencies.
  • Avoid with fully erupted measles.
  • Avoid in patients with breathing difficulties.

Our clinical staff have made the following notes, regarding sheng ma:

Sheng Ma may potentially be used, in coordination with a well tailored formula (in most cases), to influence the following conditions: fatigue, headache and/or skin problems (rash)

While it may not always be included depending on the manufacturer or herbalist making the formula, sheng ma is generally included in the following 6 formulas:

ViewBu Zhong Yi Qi Wan (Tonify the Middle and Augment the Qi Formula)

Coldness of the limbs, borborygmus with loose stools or diarrhea due to spleen yang deficiency. Spontaneous or easy sweating, general fatigue, changes in appetite due to spleen qi deficiency. Pale …

ViewPu Ji Xiao Du Wan (Universal Benefit Decoction To Eliminate Toxin)

Acute febrile disorder (wind-heat & damp-phlegm) of the head - strong fever and chills, burning pain of head and face, red and/or swollen eyes, sore throat, aversion to cold, dryness, thirst.  …

ViewQing Shu Yi Qi Tang Wan (Clear Summer Heat and Augment the Qi)

Please note that there are two formulas with the same name but slightly different compositions.  One is from Wang's Wen Re Jing Wei and tonifies the yin more strongly, the other (which is the one dis…

ViewXin Yi Qing Fei Wan (Magnolia Flower Drink To Clear The Lungs)

Colds and/or allergies with heat signs (yellow mucus and/or fever, etc.). Chronic sinus congestions / issues, chronic sinusitis, chronic rhinitis, loss of smell. Nasal polyps with the right underly…

ViewXin Yi Wan (Magnolia Flower Powder)

Colds and/or allergies with cold signs (white mucus and/or no fever, etc.). Chronic sinus congestions / issues, chronic sinusitis, chronic rhinitis, loss of smell. Headaches from sinus congestion.

ViewYi Zi Wan (Decoction B)

Hemorrhoids and/or constipation from an accumulation of damp-heat and toxins in the lower jiao - possibly bleeding hemorrhoids, pain, rectal prolapse, anal itching. With the right underlying factors…

As noted above, sheng ma is within the herbs that release the exterior wind heat functional group. All the herbs in this category are listed below.

(truncated intro "... many are acrid and warm severe fever with mild chills and sore throat. some are good for venting rashes or wind-heat eye problems. )".

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