Chinese: Ma Huang Tang

English: Ephedra Decoction

Source: Shanghanlun (Treatise on Cold Damage Diseases)

Pulse: floating, tight

Tongue: white, thin fur

Abdomen: medium to strong abdominal wall strength

Indications: This herbal formula has been used for patients with following health conditions and symptoms:

  • Common cold
  • Headaches
  • Chills
  • Fever (without sweating)
  • Aversion to cold
  • Cough
  • Running nose
  • Joint pain
  • Body ache

There are many other health conditions that may respond well to this herbal formula, in particular patients exhibiting indicative traditional diagnostic signs and symptoms.

Herbs in This Formula


Note: Suggested dosages of each herb in Kampo formulas are often smaller than those of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Individual dosages of herbs may be adjusted depending on each patient’s condition, constitutional patterns, quality of the herbs, and other factors involved.

Basic and Clinical Research on Maoto – Updated on June 16, 2012

Nabeshima S, Kashiwagi K, Ajisaka K, Masui S, Takeoka H, Ikematsu H, et al. A randomized, controlled trial comparing traditional herbal medicine and neuraminidase inhibitors in the treatment of seasonal influenza. J Infect Chemother. 2012.

Chibana N. [Clinical review of 1,017 influenza A cases between weeks 30 and 35 weeks in 2009]. Kansenshogaku zasshi. 2010;84(2):153-8.

Hayashi K, Shimura K, Makino T, Mizukami H. Comparison of the contents of kampo decoctions containing ephedra herb when prepared simply or by re-boiling according to the traditional theory. Journal of natural medicines. 2010;64(1):70-4.

Shijie Z, Moriya J, Yamakawa J, Chen R, Takahashi T, Sumino H, et al. Mao-to Prolongs the Survival of and Reduces TNF-alpha Expression in Mice with Viral Myocarditis. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2010;7(3):341-9.

Nishimura N, Doi N, Uemura T, Taketani T, Hayashi G, Kasai T, et al. [Pharmaceutical analysis and clinical efficacy of Kampo medicine, maoto, extract suppository against pediatric febrile symptoms]. Yakugaku Zasshi. 2009;129(6):759-66.

Murakami T, Harada H, Suico MA, Shuto T, Suzu S, Kai H, et al. Ephedrae herba, a component of Japanese herbal medicine Mao-to, efficiently activates the replication of latent human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in a monocytic cell line. Biological & pharmaceutical bulletin. 2008;31(12):2334-7.

Kubo T, Nishimura H. Antipyretic effect of Mao-to, a Japanese herbal medicine, for treatment of type A influenza infection in children. Phytomedicine. 2007;14(2-3):96-101.

Kubo T, Nishimura H. Antipyretic effect of Mao-to, a Japanese herbal medicine, for treatment of type A influenza infection in children. Phytomedicine 2007; 14: 96-101.

Kuroki H, Kimoto H. Successful treatment of combination therapy with oseltamivir and mao-to for influenza — 3rd report-. Kampo to Meneki-Arerugi (Kampo and Immuno-allergy) 2006; 19: 17-25.

Kimoto H, Kuroki H. Efficacy of combined administration of oseltamivir phosphate and maoto in treating influenza. Kampo Igaku (Kampo Medicine) 2005; 29: 166-9 (in Japanese).

Kainuma M, Hikiami H, Nozaki K, Hayashi K, Shimada Y, Terasawa K. The effect of a herbal medicine (Mao-to) for the prevention of interferon-induced psychiatric complications in chronic hepatitis C: a pilot study. Human psychopharmacology. 2004;19(4):235-41.

Kainuma M, Sakai S, Sekiya N, Mantani N, Ogata N, Shimada Y, et al. The effects of a herbal medicine (Mao-to) in patients with chronic hepatitis C after injection of IFN-beta. Phytomedicine. 2004;11(1):5-10.

Kainuma M, Ogata N, Kogure T, Kohta K, Hattori N, Mitsuma T, et al. The efficacy of a herbal medicine (Mao-to) in combination with intravenous natural interferon-beta for patients with chronic hepatitis C, genotype 1b and high viral load: a pilot study. Phytomedicine. 2002;9(5):365-72.

Isai H. Efficacy of Kampo formulations for reducing adverse effects of interferon therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C. Shindan to Chiryo (Diagnosis and Treatment) 1996; 84: 1505-9 (in Japanese).

Homma Y. Kampo treatment of patients with common cold syndrome associated with fever. Nihon Toyo Igaku Zasshi (Japanese Journal of Oriental Medicine) 1995; 46: 285-91.

Nikaido T, Ohmoto T, Kuge T, Yanagisawa A, Teinozawa K, Takeda H, et al. [The study on Chinese herbal medicinal prescription with enzyme inhibitory activity. III. The study of mao-to with adenosine 3′,5′-cyclic monophosphate phosphodiesterase]. Yakugaku Zasshi. 1990;110(7):504-8.