Tian Ma

Rhizoma Gastrodiae, Gastrodia


The decoction is orally taken at a dose of 3-10g, and the pill or powder is orally taken at a dose of 1-1.5g


Acute toxicity tests on mice show no poisoning or death 3 days after administration (both oral and IV injection) of gastrodin at 5000mg/kg (the equivalent of 20kg of dried herb). Sub-acute toxicity tests on dogs and mice indicate that gastrodine and HBA do not affect hemogram, the cholesterol level, or liver and kidney functions. Both teratogenesis and cytomorphosis tests are negative. (1)

Chemical Composition

Gastrodin; b-sitosterol; Daucosterol; Citric acid; Methyl citrate; Palmitic acid; Sucrose; Succinic acid; b-carotene; Lycoene; Benzalcohol; Stigmasterol; Ether; 3, 4-dihydroxybenzaldehyde; 4, 4-dihydroxydiphenyl methane; P-hydroxybenzyl ethyl ether; P-hydroxybenzaldehyde; P-hydroxybenzyl alcohol; 4-ethoxymethylphenol; Bis-(4-hydroxybenzyl) ether; 4-ethoxymethylphenyl-4’ –hydroxybenzyl. (2) , (3) , (4) , (5) , (6) , (7) , (8)

Inorganic Chemicals

Fe, Cu, Zn, Mn, Cr, Co, Ni, and Mo


Patients suffering from qi and blood deficiencies should use with caution.


Effects on cardiac muscles

Experiments show that Tian Ma solution can decrease the number of pathologic Q-waves number in the electrocardiogram of the precardium, after ligation at the left ventricle branch of the coronary artery. It can also reduce the level of propionic aldehyde, a product of lipid peroxidation in the serum, and shrink the area of cardiac infarction. (9) Furthermore, research shows that used in combination with intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation, Tian Ma solution has a significant synergistic effect of restricting the area of myocardial necrosis. (10)

Effect on the cardiovascular system

Intravenous injection of Tian Ma at 1g/kg has the following effects: 1) decreasing resistance in the blood vessels in the hindquarter and head of rabbits; 2) significantly increasing perfusion flow into isolated rabbit ears; 3) counteracting adrenalin-induced decrease in blood flow; and 4) increasing cerebral blood flow and coronary blood flow in isolated guinea pig hearts. Intraduodenal medication (10g/kg) or abdominal injection (5g/kg) can reduce the blood pressure and slow down the heart rate in rats. Intravenous injection to rats at 2g/kg can significantly prevent changes in electrocardiogram due to pituitrin-induced myocardial ischemia. (11) , (12)

Sedative and analgesic effects

Experiments show that administered at 5g/kg i.p., Tian Ma can significantly reduce the level of DA in the cortex (P

Effects on inflammation and immunity

Tian Ma solution can strengthen mice’s non-specific immunity and the immune response of T cells. It can also promote the formation of specific humoral antibody and the integration of specific antigens with cells. (13) Moreover, Tian Ma (5g/kg) can inhibit agar-induced swelling in mice, carrageenin- and 5-HT-induced swelling in the feet of rats. (14)

Anti-aging and anti-fatigue effects

Fed to D-galactose-modeled senile mice, Tian Ma (4.8g/kg) can significantly recover the subjects’ reduced passive avoidance reaction, enhance the activity of SOD in RBC, increase the content of oxyproline in the skin, and reduce lipofuscin in cardiac muscles. The reduction of lipofuscin in the brain and liver, however, is not significant. (15) Research further shows that administered to mice, Tian Ma can decrease HOP in the serum, increase SOD in the blood, and enhance the subjects’ swimming endurance. (16)

Effects on memory

Tian Ma can improve the learning and memory potential of mice that have suffered from cerebral ischemia. (17) Research shows that Tian Ma can significantly promote the proliferation of large gliocytes in rats, enlarge their surface area, and increase their number, thereby supporting learning and memory functions. (18) Tian Ma is also shown to improve the learning and memorizing abilities of senile mice and mice with experimental memory damages. (19) , (20)


  1. Mo Yun Qiang, et al. Yunnan Journal of Botany Research. 1980;2(5):230.
  2. Feng Xiao Zhang, et al. Journal of Chemistry. 1979;37(3):175-181.
  3. Zhou Jun, et al. Journal of Chemistry. 1979;37(3):183-188.
  4. Editorial Committee of Chinese Materia Medica. State Drug Administration of China. Chinese Materia Medica. Shanghai: Science and Techonology Press; 1998.
  5. Xong Hong Yan, et al. China Journal of TCM Information. 1996;3(2):11.
  6. Zou Jun, et al. Journal of Science. 1981;26(18):1118.
  7. Fan Jun An, et al. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine Material. 1991;14(1):3-5.
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  9. Luo Hong Ling, et al. Journal of Huaxi Medical University. 1992;23(1):53-56.
  10. Luo Hong Ling, et al. Journal of Biomedical Engineering. 1997;14(3):296-298.
  11. Ren Shi Lan, et al. Journal of Chinese Materia Medica. 1992;23(6):302-304.
  12. Ren Shi Lan, et al. Journal of Chinese Materia Medica. 1992;23(6):302.
  13. Chen Yi Min, et al. Shanghai Journal of Immunology. 1998;8(5):337.
  14. Yu Long Shun, et al. Journal of Chinese Materia Medica. 1989;20(5):221-213.
  15. Gao Nan Nan, et al. Journal of Chinese Materia Medica. 1994;25(10):521-523.
  16. Bai Xiu Rong, et al. Journal of Mathematical Medicine. 1996;9(2):180-182.
  17. Du Gui You, et al. China Journal of Chinese Medicine. 1999;24(10):626-628.
  18. Liu Jian Xin, et al. China Journal of TCM Theories. 1997;3(6):23-25.
  19. Zhou Ben Hong, et al. Journal of Pharmacology and Clinical Application of TCM. 1996;12(3): 32-33.
  20. Gao Nan Nan, et al. China Journal of Chinese Medicine. 1995;20(9):562-563.