Home > Examination and Diagnosis > Internal Medicine > Headaches > Chinese Herbal Remedies for Headaches
Chinese Herbal Remedies for Headaches

Wind-cold | Wind-heat | Wind-dampness
Liver yang | Kidney deficiency | Qi deficiency
Blood deficiency | Turbid phlegm | Blood stasis

Wind-cold headaches & the Chinese remedies

Headache pattern: acute onset, headaches involving the upper neck and with a binding sensation around the head, triggered or aggravated by cold air and wind blowing upon the face, more frequent during winter.

Accompanied symptoms: aversion to wind blowing, chills, general aches, a thin-white coating on the tongue, and floating and tense pulse.

Analysis: in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) theory, the bladder meridian governs the body surface. When external wind and cold invade the body, the meridian is usually affected, resulting in discomforts along its pathway such as pain in the head and neck. The wind and cold pathogens hinder the protective qi flowing on the body surface, so there are aversion to wind, chills and general aches. The tongue coating and the pulse also indicate that the pathogens are located in the exterior portion of the body.

Therapeutic principle: disperse wind and dissipate cold, regulate blood and stop pain

Sample prescription: Tea-Blended Sichuan Lovage Powder

In the prescription, the Sichuan lovage is pungent and warm in properties, which promote qi flow and regulate blood circulation; the notopterygium root, Dahurian angelica root and Manchurian wildginger can dissipate cold, enhance the meridian flow of the head and stop pain, these four serve as the main herbs. Sichuan lovage specializes in relieving pain on the crown and side of the head, notopterygium root specializes in relieving pain on the posterior head and neck, Dahurian angelica root can relieve the pain on the front head, and Manchurian wildginger can treat pain all over the head. The schizonepeta herb, ledebouriella root and peppermint also specialize in acting in the upper body, to dispel the wind pathogens and relieve the accompanied symptoms. The tea leaf removes heat from the head and refreshes the mind, it also modulates the harsh properties of other herbs. The liquorice root relieves pain and acts as a buffer.

Sichuan lovage
Dahurian angelica root
Manchurian wildginger

Some modifications can be made according to the specific symptoms.

Stuffy or runny nose indicates that the remedy should dissipate excessive coldness and unblock the orifices. Select herbs like:

cang er zi siberian cocklibur fruit Fructus Xanthii
xin yi biond Magnolia flower Flos Magnoliae

Apparent stiff neck should use extra herbs to dispel excessive wind and relax the muscles.

ge gen kudzu root Radix Puerariae

Nausea, vomiting and a thick-greasy tongue coating indicate that the remedy should harmonize the stomach and descend the adverse qi.

guang huo xiang agastache Herba Agastaches seu Pogostemi
ban xia pinellia tuber Rhizoma Pinelliae

In case if the pain is located in the head crown, add in:

gao ben Jehol ligustium rhizome Rhizoma Ligustici

When the head crown pain is very severe, and there are also retching and excessive saliva, or even cold limbs, white tongue coating and taut pulse, it means that the coldness has entered the liver meridian. The remedy should be modified and selected the below herbs to warm and smooth the meridian.

wu zhu yu Medicinal evodia fruits Fructus Evodiae
sheng jiang fresh ginger Rhizoma Zingiberis Recens
ban xia pinellia tuber Rhizoma Pinelliae
gao ben Jehol ligustium rhizome Rhizoma Ligustici
chuan xiong Sichuan lovage Rhizoma Ligustici Chuanxiong