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Blood Stasis Headaches & the Chinese Remedies

Headache pattern: prolonged headaches, steady and stabbing or dull pain, aggravated at night or during rainy days. There may be a history of head injury.

Accompanied symptoms: darkish complexion, insomnia, and menstrual pain in women. On examination, the tongue may be dark-purple color or have purple spots on it, the pulse is thready or hesitant.

Analysis: when headaches are a result of injuries or have persisted for a long period of time, there must be blood stasis that affects the small collaterals of the head. The impaired blood flow will result in pain with steady, stabbing or dull characters. Blood stasis makes the face lusterless and darken; blood stasis also affects the spirit, causing insomnia. Menstrual pain, a purple tongue and the pulse are also the manifestations of blood stasis.

Therapeutic principle: activate blood, resolve stasis, unblock orifices and stop pain

Sample prescription: Unblock the Orifices and Invigorate the Blood Decoction

In the prescription, the peach kernel, Chinese safflower, red peony root, and Sichuan lovage activate blood and resolve stasis. The musk and green onion stalk warm and unblock the orifices and collaterals, activate blood and resolve stasis; the yellow rice wine and fresh ginger, which are pungent and warm in natures, activate yang qi and promote blood flow; the Chinese dates regulate the spleen and stomach.

Peach kernel
Chinese safflower
Red peony root

Some modifications can be made according to the specific symptoms.

During applications, the musk can be replaced by Dahurian angelica root. Other herbs are often selected to regulate qi, open the orifices, warm and smooth the meridians and collaterals additionally.

chong wei zi motherwort seed Semen Leonuir
yu jin turmeric root-tuber Radix Curcumae
shi chang pu acorus Rhizoma acori tatarinowi
xi xin Manchurian wildginger Herba Asari

A long course of disease usually leads to depleted qi and blood, which make headache sufferers appear dizziness, fatigue and sweating, extra herbs are added to replenishing qi and blood, and promote the circulation.

sheng di rehmannia root Radix Rehmanniae
dang gui angelica root Radix Angelicae Sinensis
huang qi astragalus root Radix Astragali
he shou wu fleeceflower root Radix Polygoni Mulitflori

If the headaches are so severe, some insect products that specialize in unblocking the collaterals, such as scorpion, earthworm and centipede are selected. Be careful not to overdose, once the pain has been relieved, the ingredients should be stopped immediately.

Intractable headaches that have been confirmed with blood clots inside the head are beneficial to select extra ingredients like leech and winged of spindle tree (Ramulus Euonymi).

Prolonged blood and qi stagnation can generate heat internally, manifesting irritability, feverish sensation, insomnia, and a dry-red tongue. Extra herbs are added to clear the heat.

mu dan pi peony root bark Crotex Moutan
dan shen red sage root Radix Salviae Miltiorrhizae
bai tou weng Chinese pulsatilla root Radix Pulsatillae

If the headaches are aggravated by cold temperatures, it is necessary to select some herbs that can warm the meridians and dispel coldness in the collaterals.

gui zhi cassia twig Ramulus Cinnamomi
xi xin Manchurian wildginger Herba Asari

For post-traumatic headaches, if there are still dizziness, irritability, insomnia, forgetfulness and dreamy sleep after the treatment, individuals should keep on nourishing yin, invigorate the heart, clearing heat and calming spirit. Proprietary Chinese medicines like Heaven King Heart-Nourish Pellets are suggested to take for a period of time.