Sheng Ma – Cimicifuga (Actea) rhizome – “Ascending Hemp”

Nature: acrid, sweet, slightly cold

Enters: Lung, Spleen, Large Intestine, Stomach

Actions: Guides upward; releases exterior syndromes; expresses skin eruptions; clears heat and eliminates toxicity; lifts Yang Qi.

Indications:
• Wind-heat: headache; slow skin eruption in early-stage measles.
• Heat and toxicity: headache, swollen and painful gums, canker sores, sore teeth, ulcerated lips or gums, painful and swollen throat, sores, blotches (febrile disease).
• Spleen Qi sinking: prolapse (rectum, uterus, etc.), shortness of breath, fatigue.
• Spleen Qi deficiency and failure to control the blood in the vessels: uterine bleeding.
• Stomach heat: toothache (raises Yang and relieves heat toxicity).
• Often used with Ge gen to promote expression of rashes.
• Often used with Chai hu to lift the Yang Qi.
• Stronger than Chai hu at lifting prolapsed organs.
• Note that the herb Serrulata is often substituted for Cimicifuga.
• Guides other herbs upward.
• Fry in honey to lift spleen Qi.
HF: A San Du, scattering toxin medicinal, typically found in Gu Zheng (Gu parasites) formulas.
DY: Upbears Yangming and clear spleen Qi; frees the flow of Qi on the right side of the body.
• In combination with Chai hu for mutual reinforcement, to upbear liver, stomach, and spleen Yang Qi. See Chai hu in this category for indications and notes on this combination.
• With Sheng ma to resolve the exterior and muscle aspect, clear heat, resolve toxins, and out-thrust rashes over the whole body. See Ge gen in this category for specific indications and notes.
Sheng ma is stronger than Ge gen at upbearing Yang. Moreover, Sheng ma is used for all types of Qi fall in the middle burner, such as ptosis of the organs, rectal prolapse, uterine prolapse, shortness of breath with a feeling of collapse in the chest, chronic diarrhea, and persistent metrorrhagia.
• Sheng ma is a messenger medicinal which guides the action of other medicinal substances toward the upper part of the body – the head, face, and upper orifices – and toward the Yangming. Therefore, it is used to treat toothache, oral ulcers, and stomatitis associated with the stomach, and constipation associated with the large intestine [I assume he means by clearing excess from the Yangming].
Hsu: Anti-ulcerative, anticonvulsant, analgesic, antipyretic.

Dose: 1.5-9g

Of the Western species, Cimicifuga racemosa:
It has not been clearly established how much the Chinese and Western species have in common, although they have been shown to contain many of the same chemical constituents. It seems that Black Cohosh possesses Sheng Ma’s exterior releasing and analgesic qualities (and may even be stronger), but Sheng Ma does not necessarily possess the hormone modifying qualities of Black Cohosh. Since Serrulata species are a very common adulterant for Sheng ma, unless you are sure you are getting some kind of Cimicifuga, Sheng ma certainly cannot be counted on for the following actions and indications.
K&R: Antispasmodic (musculotrope and neurotrope), sedative, sympatholytic, vagolytic, LH antagonist. Pungent-cooling; wood yang.
Wood: headaches – migraine, ophthalmic headaches, cluster headaches, hypertension, vertigo, Meniere’s, neuralgia, spasmophilia, menstrual cramps, menopausal complaints incl. depression, anxiety, hot flashes, vaginal dryness and atrophy.
• Also for genital herpes, asthma, pertussis, anxiety, panic attack, facial neuralgia, rheumatic pain, relieves tension in shoulders and occiput along the gall bladdder channel.
• Careful with the use of this herb for a true migraine – can induce vomiting.
JC: Nervine; emmenagogue; antispasmodic; alterative; diuretic; astringent; expectorant; diaphoretic; arterial and nervine sedative; cardiac stimulant-slightly depresses heart rate while increasing force of pulse and equalizing circulation; stomachic-tonic; antiseptic; antivenomous; muscular: for rheumatism, arthritis, neuralgia; tonic to mucus and serous tissues; stimulates secretions of liver, kidneys, and lymphatics.
• Pelvic disturbances, uterine disorders – contracts the uterus, increases menstrual flow.
• Acute chronic pulmonary and bronchial affections.
• Parturition: initiates uterine contractions, checks hemorrhage, allays nervousness and afterpains of delivery.
• Hypertension, palpitations, hemorrhage, uterine contractions: use full dose.
• Smaller dose for insomnia, headache, indigestion, bronchitis…
• Use as a syrup for colic, convulsions, nerve disorders, cough, whooping cough, liver and kidney disorders.
• Overdose can produce nausea and vomiting.
MW: A black, tangled mass of roots: for those caught in state of brooding, dark hopelessness, entangled in a web of coercive forces, against which one fights, but feels cannot ultimately defeat; a sense of entrapment; maybe caught in an abusive relationship or manipulative business pattern.
• For those who need to grab hold of their fears and drives in order to get through the entanglement which surrounds them.
• Gives the confidence to go through the black states of mind.
• Known as the “Herbal Chiropractor” – for spine problems/pain and head pain, especially when worse with menstruation.
Yoga: Bitter, pungent/cooling/ pungent
• Reduces Pitta and Kapha; elevates Vata
• Alterative, emmenagogue, antiseptic.

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