Cimicifuga Rhizoma As Medicine – Ben Cao Medical Book


Cimicifuga is a plant in the genus of Actaea which is native to subtropical, temperate and subartic regions of the Europe, Asia and North America. The name of cimicifuga means ‘bedbug repeller’. The rhizoma of cimicifuga is used in traditional Chinese medicine as detoxicant, sedative and diaphoretic where it is called Sheng Ma (升麻).

Odour & Nature:

Pungent, sweet, slightly cold-natured.


The rhizoma of cimicifuga functions by influencing the lung, spleen, large intestine and stomach.

Indications & Formulas:

Boiled water with rhizoma of cimicifuga is applied on affected part to treat smallpox, swollen gums and tooth decay.

A decoction of rhizoma of cimicifuga is taken orally to induce sweating and treat lung related hemoptysis (coughing up blood).

Prescribed with other herbs, rhizoma of cimicifuga can also help to treat accumulated heat in the lung as well as impotence.

The Ben Cao Medical Book (also known as Compendium of Materia Medica or Ben Cao Gang Mu; Chinese: 本草纲目) is the most famous and comprehensive medical book ever written in the history of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Compiled and written by Li Shi-zhen (1518~1593), a medical expert of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) over 27 years.

The Ben Cao Medical Book records and describes all the plants, animals, minerals, and other objects that were believed to have medicinal properties in TCM. The book reflects the pharmaceutical achievements and developments of East Asia before the 16th century. On the basis of his predecessors’ achievements in the pharmacological studies, Li contributed further by supplementing and rectifying many past mistakes and misconception in relate to nature of many medicinal substances and causes of various illnesses. Charles Darwin, originator of the biological theory of evolution, regards the book as the “ancient Chinese encyclopedia”.

Disclaimer: The Ben Cao Medical Book is translated by The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of CTM knowledge and information from the research and experience from the author Li Shi-zhen. Kindly be alert that the CTM knowledge and ancient formulas given above are likely NOT medically proven and may contain misconceptions.

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