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Kidney Deficiency Headaches & the Chinese Remedies

Headache pattern: headaches with an emptiness sensation and is mostly at the crown of the head, aggravated by emotional distress and fatigue, and alleviated after sleeping.

Accompanied symptoms: dizziness, blurred vision, ear ringing, fatigue, lumbar soreness, knee weakness, emission in men, vaginal discharges in women, insomnia, forgetfulness, a red tongue, and the pulse is thready and weak.

Analysis: the kidney stores essence, governs bone and produces marrow, while the brain is the sea of marrow. Kidney deficiency leads to depletion of the essence and blood, the brain is then undernourished, there will be headache, dizziness, blurred vision, ear ringing, fatigue and general weakness. TCM regards the lumbar as the house of kidney, kidney deficiency often leads to weakened lumbar and knees. The kidneys are also responsible for reproductive functions, so there are problems like emission and vaginal discharges. Insomnia and forgetfulness are signs of an undernourished spirit. Mental and physical activities consume blood and essence, which impair kidney functioning and aggravate the symptoms, while sleeping promotes the recharge of essence, and thus helps alleviate the symptoms.

Therapeutic principle: nourish the kidney and replenish essence

Sample prescription: Great Constitution Tonifying Decoction

In the prescription, the rhemannia rhizome and wolfberry nourish the kidney and replenish yin; the cornus fruit nourishes the liver and prevents further depletion of essence; ginseng, Chinese yam, angelica root and liquorice root replenish qi and nourish blood, which ensure the storage of essence in the kidney. The eucommia bark invigorates the kidney, and strengthens the lumbar.

Processed rhemannia rhizome
Cornus fruit
Eucommia bark

Some modifications can be made according to the specific symptoms.

Severe headache indicates that extra herbs should be added to enhance the effects of activating the collaterals and relieving pain.

chuan xiong Sichuan lovage Rhizoma Ligustici Chuanxiong
xi xin Manchurian wildginger Herba Asari

Apparent dizziness indicates that extra herbs should be added to enhance the effects of subduing yang in the upper body.

long gu fossil bone Os Draconis
mu li oyster shell (calcined) Concha Ostreae

Apparent lumbar soreness and knee weakness indicate that extra herbs should be added to strengthen the muscles and tendons in the regions.

xu duan himalayan teasel root Radix Dipsaci
huai niu xi achyranthes root Radix Achyranthis Bidentatae

Severe emission and vaginal discharges indicate that extra herbs are necessary to create an astringency effect.

lian xu lotus stamen Stamen Nelumbinis
qian shi euryale seed Semen Euryales
jin ying zi cherokee rose fruit Fructus Rosae Laevigatae

In case if yin deficiency is serious that creates virtual fire, and leads to symptoms like hot flushes, night sweats and red cheeks, it is more appropriate to use a prescription named Rehmannia Pills with Anemarrhena and Cypress Bark, so as to clear the virtual fire and nourish yin.

Headaches accompanied by chills, paleness and limb coldness indicate kidney yang deficiency, it is more appropriate to replace with a prescription named Kidney Qi Bolus.

When the headaches are relieved, the treatment should keep on nourishing the liver and kidney for a period of time. Proprietary Chinese medicine such as Rehmannia Pills with Wolfberry and Chrysanthemum can be taken regularly for consolidation.