Home / Chinese Herb / CIMICIFUGA RHIZOME [升麻, SHENG MA]


Name : Cimicifuga Rhizomeblack-cohosh-clingmans-239_opt

Chinese Name : 升麻

Latin Name : Rhizoma Cimicifugae


This herb is the dried  rhizome of the large tri-leaf Cimicifuga heracleifolia Kom., C. dahurica (Turez.) Maxim. or C. foetida L. Of the family Ranunculaceae. It is mainly grown in the Heilongjiang, Hebei, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Qinghai, Yunnan, and other northen provinces in China. It is collected in autumn, dried in the sun, and used unprocessed. Traditionally , it was used for miasmatic and infectious disorders, nervous crying of children, skin diseases, and malignant tumors. Cimicifuga rhizome is an antipyretic agent commonly used to treat fever, sore throat, stomatitis, and measles.

Use of Cimicifuga Rhizome in TCM

Slightly sweet and pungent taste, and slightly cool. It acts on the lung, spleen, stomach, and large intestine meridians.

Effects, Medicinal Uses, and Combinations

  1. Relieves fever and detoxifies: for sore throats, painful gums and teeth, and stomatitis, cimicifuga is often used in combination with coptis root, scute root, and isatis root, as in Pu Ji Xiao Du Yin.
  2. Promotes eruption in the trreatment of measles: for the relief of Exterior syndrome and the symptoms of the early stages of measles, this herb is often prescribed with licorice root, pueraria root, and white peony rot.


In a decoction of 3 to 6 g.


People with hyperactive symptoms, asthenia, or yin deficiency should avoid this herb.

Side Effects and Toxicity

The rhizome often causes vomiting due to gastric irritation. An overdose may cause acratia, vertigo, tremor, headaches, slow pulse, and collapse. A toxic dose results in heart inhibition, hypotension, or death from respiratory paralysis.

Chemical Constituents

The rhizome yields mainly triterpens and triterpene glycosides. Cimigenol, cimigenol 3-0-beta-d-oxytopyranoside, and dahurinol were isolated from C. dahurica. Some phenolic carboxylic acid, including caffeic acid, ferulic acid, and isoferulic acid, other components of visamminol, visnagin, norvisnagin, and yellow pigments were also isolated. The alkaloid cimicfugin was identified in the rhizome C. fostida. More recently, cyclolanostanol xyloside, cimicifugosides H-1, H-2, and H-5 were isolated.

Pharmacological Findings

  1. Antipyretic: the decoction of the herb is antipyretic. Cimicifugoside is also antipyretic.
  2. Inhibits cardiovascular system, sedative, and hypotensive. Oral administration of the decoction inhibits the heart by decreasing heart rate and blood pressure.
  3. Hepatoprotective: the methanol extract of the rhizome and cimigenol 3-beta-d-xylopyranoside was effective in preventing carbon tetrachloride-induced liver disorders in mice.
  4. The extract of the inhibited bacteria M. Tuberculosis, S. Aureus, S.albus, P. aeruginosa, and fungi Achorion schoenleini, Microsporum audouinii, and Epidermophyton rubrum.
  5. Analgesic and sedative. The extract of the herb and visamminol showed analgesic activity in mice.
  6. Antispasmodic. Inhibitory action was produced by visamminol against intestinal smooth muscle  spasms caused by acetycholine chloride, histamine hydrochloride or barium chloride. The spasmolytic activity of visamminol and visnagin in isolated guinea pig jejunum was  30 percent and 10 percent that of papa verine, respectively.