English Name: (common) devil pepper root
Pharmaceutical Name: Radix Rauvolfiae
Medica Category: Heat-Clearing and Toxin-Eliminating Herbs
Properties: Shan Ma Ti enters the Lung, Liver, and Heart channels; it is bitter in nature and cold in temperature.
The Chinese Herb Shan Ma Ti is the dried root of the common devil pepper plant (Rauvolfia verticillate (Lour.) Baill), a plant distinguishable by its white flowers and whorled leaves growing from the stem in groups of three or four. It grows in lowland forests, riverbanks, and brush areas where there is ample water and ranges throughout Southeast Asia; in China, it is found/cultivated mainly in Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, and Yunnan provinces.
Shan Ma Ti clears heat-toxins, invigorates blood circulation and relieves pain. It can be used externally to treat toxic snake bites, bleeding from knife wounds, and dermatological lesions. Internally it can be combined with other herbs to treat herpes zoster, leukorrhea, heat stroke, or sore throat.
Shan Ma Ti is anchors Liver Yang Rising from excess fire and is used in China to lower blood pressure attributed to this cause.