Introduction To Mux-Vomica Seed (ma qian zi)

TCM China:

   Introduction To Mux-Vomica Seed (ma qian zi)











Mux-Vomica Seed (ma qian zi)

Semen Strychni

Properties: Bitter in flavour, cold in nature, it is toxic and tropistic to the liver and spleen channels. Being strongly toxic, it is rather effective in counteracting toxic substances, resolving mass or swelling and clearing channels to relieve pain.

Effects: Counteracting toxic substances, and clearing channels to relieve pain.


1. For scrofula or boil, it is often used with herbs for subduing swelling and relieving pain, such as Radix Angelicae Sinensis, Resina Olibani, Moschus, etc. ; for injury, blood stasis, pain and swelling, it is used with drugs for removing blood stasis and relieving pain, such as Flos Carthami Resina Olibani, Myrrha, Moschus, etc.

2. For obstinate arthralgia of wind-dampness type and arthrodynia numbness and paralysis, it is often used with herbs for clearing obstruction in channels to relieve pain, such as Radix Aconiti, Scorpio, Agkistrodon acutus, etc.

In recent years, it has been used in combination with drugs for detoxicating and resolving mass, such as Realgar, Squama Manitis, Scorpio, Bombyx Batryticatus, etc. to treat various kinds of cancer and showed certain effects.

Dosage and Administration: 0.3-0.6 for oral dose, used in pills or powder after being processed; proper amount for external use.

Precautions: This herb is strong in toxicity, so when taken orally, its dosage should be controlled strictly, and is prohibited in pregnancy.

Agkistrodon Snake (bai hua she)

  Agkistrodon acutus

Properties: Sweet and salty in flavour, warm in nature, being poisonous, it acts on liver channel. The action may pass through exterior to interior, promoting the bone and expelling the wind, clearing the channels to arrest convulsion. It is suitable for rheumatic arthralgia, headache due to latent wind, tetanus, leprosy, intractable tinea, etc.

Effects: Expelling the wind and clearing channel, arresting the wind and convulsion.


1.  For rheumatic arthralgia, muscle spasm, it is used in combination with pubescent angelica root (Radix Angelicae pubescentis), Chinese angelica root (Radix Angelicae sinensis) and acanthopanax bark ( Cortex Acanthopanacis radicis), soaking in wine for drinking; for aphonia caused by apoplexy or hemiplagia, it is used together with astragalus root ( Radix Astragali seu Hedysari), and Chinese angelica root to tonify the Qi and blood, expel the wind and clear channels.

2.    For opisthotonus caused by tetanus, it is often used together with scorpion (Scorpio), gastrodia tuber ( Rhizoma Gastrodiae) and Arisaema consanguineum Schott; for infantile convulsion caused by high fever, it is used in combination with cow bezoare (Calculus Bovis) and Arisaema Bilis.

In addition, it is suitable for headache caused by latent wind, chronic infantile convulsion due to insufficiency of spleen, leprosy and intractable tinea.

Dosage and Administration: 3-10g in decoction; 0.5-1g in powder. One whole snake for decoction; 0.5-1g for powder.

Zaocys Dhumnades (Cantor)

It belongs to Calubridae (Family Zaocys). This drug is the whole snake after removal of its viscera. Sweet in flavour, neutral in nature, and nonpoisonous, its effects are similar to those of Agkistrodon snake but milder. The usual dosage is 5-10g, 2-3g in powder.