Ma huang tang

Ma huang tang

ma huang 9 xing ren 12 gui zhi 6 zhi gan cao 3

In tai yang disease, when there is headache and fever, body aches and lower back pain, pain in the bones and joints, aversion to wind, absence of sweating and panting, then ma huang tang governs.

When in tai yang and yang ming combined disease there is panting and fullness in the chest, one cannot use precipitation, but instead ma huang tang is appropriate.

These are the ‘eight ma huang symptoms’ of tai yang shang han or wind cold: headache, fever, body pain, back ache, joint pain, aversion to wind, absence of sweat and wheezing.

It treats an excess pattern of cold in tai yang. The key to understanding this pattern is the absence of sweating. The surface is closed. Meaning that the pores are closed and the lungs are not able to regulate the temperature of the body and heat can build up leading to a high fever.  

Ma huang tang is a pungent yang formula to clear cold on the surface. There is very little yin nourishing to calm the dispersing nature of the ma huang and gui zhi.

It also makes use of bitter descending of the tai yin lung to restore function.

Ma huang, Ephedrae herba is bitter descending of the lung. It is pungent dispersing of the imperial and ministerial fire. It enters the lung and bladder channel, it opens the surface, and dispels the cold on the surface. Further it dissipates lung qi and pacifies panting through opening the closed lung qi.

 Ma huang is not enough to promote sweating in ma huang tang and is therefore used with gui zhi to free the congested nutritive and the flow of yang.

Pungent and bitter and enters the lung and bladder channel, it opens the surface, promotes sweating and dispels the cold on the surface. It dissipates lung qi and stops panting through opening the closed lung qi.

Ma huang strongly raises shao yin heart yang to the surface to break open the cold closure but needs support in restoring the yang qi.

Xing ren, Armeniacae semen is bitter descending of Metal. Xing ren descends lung qi, which stands into the interior exterior relation to the large intestine, allowing for a heavy Metal downward pressure on the stomach and large intestine.

Descends and calms the flow of lung qi, and combined with ma huang it embodies the combination of dispersing and descending. Xing ren assists ma huang in arresting panting.

It dispels stagnant phlegm in the lungs and moistens lung dryness through its oily nature while descending lung qi and countering coughing.

Gui zhi, Cinnamomi cassiae ramulus is pungent sweet and warm dispersing of the imperial and ministerial fire. It warms and tonifies the shao yin and jue yin. In doing so it warms and tonifies the whole body.

Gui zhi warms the shao yin heart yang and puts the emperor back on his throne. By warming the imperial fire the ministerial fire in the shao yang is warmed and this supports the three burners so normal function can occur.

Warm pungent to free the muscles and open the surface, warming and opening the channels allowing the cold evils at the surface to be dispersed.

Gui zhi opens the vessels and promotes the flow of blood, it is one of the most important herbs for moving blood. It warms the vessels and heart and moves stagnant and congealed blood which clears cold on the surface

Zhi gan cao, Glycyrrhizae radix prep is sweet tonifying and nourishing of all organs but especially the heart.

Zhi gan cao is sweet and mildly warm tonifying and nourishing of yin fluids. It nourishes yin fluids in the tai yin and shao yin. It calms wind in the jue yin.

It balances the pungent gui zhi and ma huang and bitter xing ren with its sweet moderation and nourishing.

Gui zhi and gan cao form the formula gui zhi gan can tang which tonifies heart yang with the combination of pungent and sweet.