Mai Ya – Barley sprout

Nature: sweet, neutral (warm if fried)

Enters: Spleen, Stomach, Liver

Actions: Promotes digestion (mainly of starch); mildly frees the flow of liver Qi; adjusts the middle Jiao; strengthens the stomach and spleen; inhibits lactation.

• Food retention: distended epigastrium and abdomen, poor appetite. Particularly useful for over-consumption of starch and for cold food stagnation. Also for poorly-digested milk in infants.
• To stop nursing or for stagnant milk with distending pain in the breasts, use a large dose (to 60g).
• Liver Qi stagnation: stifling sensation and distention in the epigastrium or costal region, belching, poor appetite.
• Spleen deficiency: weak digestion, poor appetite.
• Treats hepatitis, especially acute.
• When using herbs which strongly subdue the liver, add a small amount of Mai ya – a sprout which possesses the “springing-forth” nature of wood – so as not to insult the proud general – to let it still rise upward.
• The raw form is neutral, and is used mainly to reduce and guide out.
• The dry-fried form is warm, and is better at strengthening the spleen, improving the appetite, and inhibiting lactation.
• The powdered form is better for aiding in the digestion of grains.
Hsu: Slightly stimulates secretion of pepsin and gastric acid.
• Treats painful and swollen mammary glands and milk stagnation due to cessation of breast feeding.
MLT: For blocked lactation with distended breasts, take 25g raw sprouts and 25g fried, in decoction, each day.
BF: I have lots of experience using Mai Ya to stem lactation, both in China and the U.S. To achieve this effect, the med must be used in large doses (30-60g) and lightly stir-fried till aromatic. I have found this med to be very dependable for this effect, and there is quite a lot of published research on this med’s effect on PRL. I have used Mai Ya for women who had lost their babies during birthing, for women with galactorrhea due to hyperprolactinemia, and for women with galactorrhea-amenorrhea syndrome, and it has always worked.

Dose: 12-30g (6-15g directly as powder)

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