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Note: This excerpt on Cannabis Sativa comes from the 1911 edition of Chinese Materia Medica - VEGETABLE KINGDOM extensively revised from Dr. F. Porter Smith's Work by Rev. G. A. STUART, M.D. edited by 麻® Chinese Hemp to correct Chinese characters and PinYin pronunciation.

Also called 火麻 (Huǒ-má), 黄麻 (Huáng-má); 汉麻 (Hàn-má), “Chinese Hemp” to distinguish it from 胡麻 (Hú-má), “Scythian Hemp” the staminate plant, 枲麻 (Xǐ-má), and the pistillate 苴麻 (Jū-má). The flower at the time of pollination are called 麻勃 (Má-bó), “Hemp Flourishing”, and 麻蕡 (Má-Fén) is used for both the flowers and the seeds, although it probably should be restricted to the latter.

Hemp has been known from most ancient times in China; there being a tradition that the Emperor 神农 (Shén-Nóng 28th century B.C.) taught the people to cultivate it, as he did also the mulberry tree for raising silkworms. On the other hand, flax was unknown to the ancient Chinese, and even at the present day the plant is only cultivated for its oil. At Beijing the hemp plant is called 小麻 (Xiao-ma), while 大麻 is incorrectly applied to the castor oil plant.

Every part of the hemp plant is used in medicine ; the dried flowers 勃 (Bó), achenia 蕡 (Fén), the seeds 麻仁 (Má-rén), the oil 麻油 (Má-yóu), the leaves, the stalk, the root, and the juice. The flowers are recommended in the 120 different forms of crazy 疯 (Fēng) disease, in menstrual disorders, and in wounds. The achenia, which are considered to be poisonous, stimulate the nervous system, and if used in excess, will produce hallucinations and staggering gait. They are prescribed in nervous disorders, especially those marked by local anesthesias. The seeds, by which is meant the white kernels of the achenia, are used for a great variety of affections, and are considered to be tonic, demulcent, althertive, laxative, emmenagogue, diuretic, anthelmintic, and corrective. They are made into a congee by boiling with water, mixed with wine by a particular process, made into pills, and beaten into a paste. A very common mode of exhibition, however, is by simply eating the kernels. It is said that their continued use renders the flesh firm and prevents old age. They are prescribed internally in fluxes, postpartum difficulties, aconite poisoning, vermilion poisoning, constipation, and obstinate vomiting. Externally they are used for eruptions, ulcers, favus, wounds, and falling of the hair. The oil is used for falling hair, sulphur poisoning, and dryness of the throat. The leaves are considered to be poisons, and the freshly expressed juice is used as an anthelmintic, in scorpion stings, to stop the hair from falling out and to prevent it from turning grey. They are especially thought to have anti-periodic properties. The stalk, or its bark, is considered to be diuretic, and is used with other drugs in gravel. The juice of the root is used for similar purposes, and is also thought to have a beneficial action in retained placenta and postpartum haemorrhage. An infusion of hemp is used as a demulcent drink for quenching thirst and relieving fluxes.

This next excerpt comes from The Divine Farmer's Materia Medica Classic - Cereals: Superior Class. A translation of the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing by Yang Shou-Zhong.

Ma Fen (Cannabis Sativa) is acrid and balanced. It mainly treats the seven damages, disinhibits the five viscera, and precipitates the blood and cold QI. Taking much of it may make one behold ghosts and frenetically run about. Protracted taking may enable one to communicate with the spirit light and make the body light. The seed [Semen Cannabis Sativa] is sweet and balanced. It mainly supplements the centre and boosts the QI. Protracted taking may make one fat, strong, and never senile. Cannabis Sativa is also called Ma Bo (Hemp Erection). It grows near rivers and valleys.

Finally, we have La Médecine chinoise par les planets by Ming Wong.

Cannabis Sativa Linn.

Le Grand chanvre (Ta-ma) dit <chanvre indien>. La plante femelle secrète une résine aux vertus hallucinogéniquies <Les hallucinogènes sont des drogues psychodysleptiques, c'est-à-dire des substance perturbant l'activité mentale, qui se carctérisent par leur aptitude à provoquer des hallucinations > (P. Deniker). Propos recueillis par M. Vigy, Toxicomanies modernes. Les hallucinogènes, in Le Concours Médical, 14 déc. 1958, no 50, pp. 8555-8565


Le Fructus Cannabis (Cannabiaceae) fait partie des drogues dites < supérieures >. Le chanvre (Cannabis sativa Linné) est cultivé en Chine centrale et septentrionale. Il abonde dans la Province du Nord-Est. Les graines de Cannabis sont toniques et émollientes. Elles agissent sure les méridiens de la Rate, de l'Estomac et du Gros Intestin. Elles traitent la consitpation.

Le Fructus Cannabis est employé avec la rhubarbe ou même avec l'angélique (Tang-kouei). Dans ce dernier cas, il est associé avec le Chao-yao (Radix Paeoniae lactiflorae), le Cheng-ti (Radix et Rhizoma Rehmanniae) et le Tche-kou (Citrus Aurantium) dans le traitement de la constipation de la femme après l'accouchment.

Parmi les excitants du péristaltisme on retrouve les feuilles de séné (Folium Sennae).