What Is Ma Wei Lian (Thalictrum)

Ma Wei Lian is the root and rhizome of Thalictrum. It first appeared in <Ben Cao Gang Mu Shi Yi> (a supplement to the compendium of materia medica) in the 30th year of Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty (1,765 AD).

Thalictrum is a perennial herb of the Ranunculaceae family. There are about 200 species of this genus, which are distributed in temperate regions of Asia, Europe, Africa, North America and South America.

29 species of Thalictrum can be made into Chinese herbal medicine, the most representative of which are Thalictrum foliolosum, Thalictrum baicalense, and Thalictrum delavayi.

The Ma Wei Lian referred to herein is the roots and rhizomes of Thalictrum foliolosum, Thalictrum baicalense or Thalictrum delavayi. In folk medicine, it is often used to replace Huang Lian (Rhizoma Coptidis).

Thalictrum foliolosum and Thalictrum delavayi often grow in grasslands, shrubs or forests at an altitude of 1,500-3,800 meters. They are distributed in Sichuan, Yunnan and Tibet in China.

Thalictrum baicalense often grows in hillsides or forests at an altitude of 9,00-2,800m. It is distributed in Tibet, Qinghai, Gansu, Henan, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Hebei, Jilin and Heilongjiang in China.

In the autumn and winter of each year, people gather the roots and rhizomes of Thalictrum, remove their impurities, cut them into segments, dry them in the sun, and make them into Chinese herbs.

Ma Wei Lian contains berberine, berbamine, palmatine, coptisine, jatrorrhizine, magnoflorine, fetidine, protopine, flavonoids, saponin, and cardiac glycoside.

According to <Ben Cao Gang Mu Shi Yi>, the medicinal property of Ma Wei Lian is relatively cold, with a bitter taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the heart, lung, liver, gallbladder and large intestine meridians.

In Chinese medicine, it is often used to clear heat and dry dampness, purge fire and remove toxin, treat bacterial dysentery, enteritis, measles, jaundice, conjunctivitis, infectious hepatitis, and skin ulcers.

Health benefits of Ma Wei Lian

  • Anti-inflammation, anti-pathogen, and anti-tumor.
  • Increasing the number of white blood cells and promoting bile secretion.
  • Promoting urination, lowering blood pressure, and have a sedative effect.
  • A small dose of berberine can excite the heart, enhance cardiac contractility, and increase coronary blood flow.
  • Large doses of berberine can inhibit the heart and weaken cardiac contractility.
  • A small dose of berberine can excite the animal cerebral cortex, but a large dose of berberine can inhibit the animal cerebral cortex.
  • Clearing damp-heat in the large intestine and treating diarrhea and jaundice caused by damp-heat.
  • Purging heart fire and alleviating irritability caused by febrile diseases.
  • Purging lung fire and relieving cough caused by lung heat.
  • Reducing liver fire and relieving redness and swelling of the eyes caused by excessive liver heat.
  • Purging toxic heat and treating skin ulcers and abscesses.
  • It contains jatrorrhizine, which can positive muscle strength and anti-arrhythmia.
  • The study found that its decoction can inhibit diphtheria bacillus, Staphylococcus aureus, Proteus, Shigella flexneri.

Ma Wei Lian is used with other Chinese herbs

Side effects of Ma Wei Lian

Ma Wei Lian has been used clinically for many years, with few side effects.

Precautions of Ma Wei Lian

  • The dosage of Ma Wei Lian should be controlled at 6-12g.
  • It can be made into decoction or ground into powder for external use.
  • People with deficiency-cold in spleen and stomach should not take it.
  • Pregnant women should not take it.