1. TCM Wiki
  2. 升麻


Sheng Ma
1 #


Sheng Ma (Rhizoma Cimicifugae) ——Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing (Shen Nong’s Herbal)

  1. Sheng Ma
  2. Rhizoma Cimicifugae
  3. Largetrifoliolious Bugbane Rhizome

The Processing of 升麻


Root of perennial plant Cimicifuga heracleifolia Kom or C. dahurica (Turcz.) Maxim or C. foetida L. of family Ranunculaceae.


Chiefly in liaoning, Heilongjiang, Qinghai provinces of China.


Harvested in autumn.

The real smell and taste

Slight smell, slightly bitter and astringent taste.

Best quality

Large body, firmly nature, dark or brown peel, yellow and green cross section with less fibril.


Cut into pieces, unprocessed or processed with honey.

The Effect of 升麻


Pungent, slightly bitter, slightly cold; lung, spleen, stomach and large intestine meridians entered.


Release exterior and cure fever, promote eruption, clear heat and relieve toxicity, ascending yang qi.


A. Fever due to exterior syndrome

This herb is effective to expel wind pathogen and release exterior by its pungent nature; and ii is suitable to treat the wind-cold exterior syndrome developing into yangming meridian and fever symptom becoming worse. For wind-heat exterior syndrome or the beginning of warm disease, it is usually used together with Sang Ye, Ju Hua, Bo He, and other herbs that have the action of expelling wind-heat. For wind-cold exterior syndrome, it is usually used together with Bai Zhi, Zi Su Ye and other herbs that have the action of dispersing wind-cold.

B. Unsmooth eruption of measles that still at the beginning stage

It is effective to promote eruption of measles, release exterior, clear heat and relieve toxicity. It is usually used to release measles which is at the beginning stage and due to invasion of exterior pathogen or internal toxic heat exuberance and often combined with Niu Bang Zi, Bo He, Ge Gen and other herb that have the action of releasing exterior and promoting eruption.

C. Toxic heat syndromes

This herb is good at clearing heat and relieving toxicity, and can be used to treat pestilence, mumps, sore throat and swollen pain of gum, swelling due to toxic heat diseases. Because it is effective to clear the toxic heat of yangming meridians, it is usually used to treat gum swelling pain, mouth ulcers, sore throat and sores due to excessive stomach heat transformed into toxin. To treat the toothache or aphtha, it is usually used together with Huang Lian and other herbs that have the function of clearing the stomach and relieving toxicity, such as Qing Wei San in Lan Shi Mi Cang (Secret Book of Orchid Chamber) ,it is used together with Sheng Shi Gao and Huang Lian. To treat the sore throat and mumps, it is usually used together with Niu Bang Zi, Ban Lan Gen, Huang Lian, Huang Qin and other herbs that have function of detoxifying and relieving sore throat or detumescence. To treat sores, it is usually combined with Jin Yin Hua, Lian Qiao, Chi Shao,and other herbs that have the function of detoxifying and relieving sores; such as Pu Ji Xiao Du Yin in Dong Yuan Shi Xiao Fang, it is used together with Huang Qin, Huang Lian, Xuan Shen and Ban Lan Gen.

D. Sinking of middle qi

This herb can also ascend the clear yang qi of spleen and stomach. So it is usually used for releasing the distention of abdomen, prolapse of rectum due to lasting diarrhea and prolapse of uterus and stomach due to spleen qi deficiency and prolapsed of qi. This herb's function of ascending qi is similar to that of Chai Hu, and they are often used together to strengthen the effect, and sometimes it needs to be used together with some qi-tonifying herbs such as Huang Qi to get the effect of replenishing the middle qi, ascending yang and elevating prolapsed organs.

Dosage and Administrations

Decoct 3~10g. The unprocessed herb is used for releasing exterior and promoting eruption, clearing heat and detoxifying, while the prepared one is used for ascending yang and elevating prolapsed organs.


The patients whose measles have come out or have yin deficiency and heat excess, or yin deficiency and yang going upward adversely are forbidden to use this herb.