Monday, 4 November 2013

Chinese Herbs – Ma Huang (Herba ephedrae)

Ma Huang is also known as ephedra. The acrid, slightly bitter and warm herb has been used in TCM to promote urination and sweating, and rid of cold,  sooth wheezing asthma, etc. as it calms dyspnea,  asthma, cough, etc., by enhancing the functions of lung and bladder channels.

1. Saponins
2. 2,3,5,6-tetramethylpyrazine
3. 1-apha-terpineol,beta-terpineol
4. terpineol-4,–menth-2-en-7-ol
5. 1,3,4 -trimethyl-3-trimethyl-3-cyclohexene-1carboxaldehyde
6. Flavone
7. Etc.

Health Benefits
1. Autonomic activities
In the study to investigste discuss the significance of processing and complex prescription with Herba Ephedrae, the effects of Herba Ephedrae, Honey-fried Herba Ephedrae and Maxingshigan decoction on autonomic activities in mice, indicated that there was interaction between time and groups. There were very significant differences between before ig and all time-points after ig (P < 0.01). 30 minutes after ig,there were significant differences between E and NS,E and ZMH-L,E and MX-L (P < 0.05). 1 h after ig, there were significant differences between MX-M and NS (P < 0.05). 3 h after ig, there were significant differences between MX-M and MH-L (P < 0.05). 30 minutes after ig, both ZMH-L and MX-L could reduce the number of autonomic activity in some extent compare with MH-L. 1 h or 2 h after ig, ZMH-L could reduce the number of autonomic activity in some extent compare with MH-L 4 h after ig, MX-L could reduce the number of autonomic activity in some extent compare with MH-L(1).
2. Sleep latency
In the study to observe the effects of Herba ephedrae, honey-fried Herba ephedrae and Maxingshigan decoction on pentobabital sodium sleep experiment in mice. Compared with high- and low-dose Herba ephedrae groups, Maxinshigan decoction containing equivalent Herba ephedrae significantly increased the sleeping time of the mice (P<0.05). In comparison with NS, the decoction at medium and low doses produced no significant changes in the sleeping time, which, however, was significantly shortened in the other 8 groups (P<0.05). Compared with Herba ephedrae, Maxingshigan decoction and honey-fried Herba ephedrae at equivalent doses showed comparable effects on the sleep latency (P>0.05)(2).

3. Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) 
In the study to evaluation of the effect of Japanese herbal medicine on the induction of HIV-1 replication in latently infected monocytic cell line, U1, in order to eradicate virus efficiently, suggest that Mao-to and its component, Ephedrea herba, may be good candidates to augment HAART by inducing the expression of latent HIV-1 with the ultimate goal of eliminating persistent viral reservoirs in individuals infected with HIV-1(3).
4. Antianaphylaxis asthma
In the study to explore the regularity of recipe composition by observing inhibitory effects on the genic expression of 5-lipoxygenase activating protein, IL-4 and the leukotriene C4 in asthmatic mice with with the Herba Ephedrae decoction (HED), separated compositions (2500 mg x kg(-1), calculated by Herba Ephedrae) and dexamethasone (2 mg x kg(-1)) respectively once daily for seven days, showed that The HED had the remarkable effects of antianaphylaxis asthma and the original formula HED worked best(4).
5. Antitussive effect
In the study to investigate the antitussive effects of intraperitoneal injection of PSE on the cough reflex induced by microinjection of citric acid into the larynx of guinea pigs, on the afferent discharge of the superior laryngeal nerve, PSE suppressed the increases of amplitude and frequency when stimulated by citric acid at laryngeal mucosa. These results demonstrate that PSE possesses an antitussive effect that might be derived from both central and peripheral actions(5).

6. Acute lower respiratory tract infection (ALRTI)
researchers at the in the study of the effect of Ma-Xin-Shi-Gan tang (Decoction of Herba Ephedrae, Semen Armeniacae Amarum, Radix Glycyrrhizae and Gypsum Fibrosum) on the immune function of the children with acute lower respiratory tract infection (ALRTI), showed that showed: (1) Before treatment, the blood OKT3+ cell, OKT4+ cell and OKT4+/OKT8+ cell ratio of the ALRTI children were lower, OKT8+ cell was higher than that of the normal group, which indicated lowered function of cell mediated immunity (CMI) in ALRTI children. Furthermore, IgM content in serum of the ALRTI children was significantly higher than that of the normal group, which indicated a hyperhumoral immunity (HI). (2) Blood OKT4+ cell and OKT4+/OKT8+ cell ratio in children after treatment with the Decoction were higher than those before treatment, which suggested the Decoction can regulate the cell ratio of OKT4+ and OKT8+, and relieve the functional inhibition of CMI in ALRTI children, while comparing with the western medicine (WM) group, the blood OKT3+ cell, OKT4+ cell and serum IgG content in the Decoction group after treatment were higher. In the WM group, the serum IgG and IgA contents were lower than those of the normal group, which indicated inhibited function of HI after treatment. (3) In experimental mice, the Decoction can increase the phagocytic index of the macrophage, the spleen index and the level of serum hemolysin. It can also enhance the skin delayed allergic reaction of the mice(6).
7. Etc.

Side Effects
1. Large can toxic reaction fron the central nervous system, leading to headache, restless, insomnia, palpitation, tightness in chest area, tears and nose dripping, uncomfortable, fever, sweating nonstop, upper belly discomfort, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, etc.
2. Do not the herb in case of deficiency
3. Do not use the herb in newborn, children, or if you are pregnant or breast feeding without first consulting with related field specialist
4. Etc.


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