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acupuncture and herbs for headaches
headaches benefit from acupuncture and herbs
Index to This Headache
  • Location of Headache
  • Herb Formula
  • Tongue Appearance
  • Similar Syndromes
  • Explanation of Mechanism
  • Other Symptoms
  • Applicable Diseases
  • Cautions and Warnings
  • Usage and Prognosis
  • How to Obtain this Formula

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  • radiating from neck
  • forehead
  • sinuses
  • behind the eyes
  • temples
  • one sided
  • top of the head

  • radiating from neck
  • Empty feeling (see fatigue)
  • Sharp pain fixed in location
  • With stiff shoulders (acute)
  • With stiff shoulders (chronic)
  • Throbbing
  • Heavy sensation
  • Dull pain (see fatigue)

  • stress
  • menopause
  • cold or damp weather
  • fatigue
  • PMS
  • dull and throbbing
  • during period
  • after period
  • dry windy weather
  • allergies
  • common cold
  • flu
  • standing upright
  • laying down

  • morning
  • the afternoon
  • the evening
  • sleep period
  • pre-dawn hours

  • cold hands and feet
  • hypothyroidism
  • frequent urination
  • prefers warm drinks
  • prefers cold drinks
  • often thirsty
  • night sweats
  • hot flashes
  • menopause
  • dry mouth or throat
  • better when laying down
  • when hungry
  • after period
  • high blood pressure

  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • lack of appetite
  • phlegm after eating
  • arthritis
  • physical trauma
  • purple beneath eyes
  • sharp pain fixed location
  • chills more than fever
  • fever more than chills
  • facial tics
  • testicular pain
  • Headaches Due to Wind Cold

    Location of headache: forehead, back of head near neck, sides of head, top of head, or migraine.

    Herb Formula: Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao San (Ligusticum with Tea Decoction)

    Tongue Appearance: normal, an invasion of wind and cold into the lungs will not seriously alter the appearance of the tongue and so it may appear normal as in this image. Or, it may simply retain the appearance of the tongue as it was prior to catching the cold. In some cases, a thin white coating may also appear which can be considered normal as well. For the record, this tongue to the right is reasonably normal in appearance.

    the illusive normal tongue appearance

    Also see:
    Radiating from side of heat to forehead: Qi Stagnation
    Radiating from side of heat to forehead: Liver Wind
    More of a flu than a cold: Wind-Heat

    Explanation: This is a formula that might remind you of those sinus opening remedies that have a strong aromatic smell. It is very aromatic and is taken internally. This is an amazing formula to take in raw form. All of its ingredients have strong aromatic oils that are its active ingredients. However access to raw herbs (branches, leaves, twigs, etc.) are not available to everybody and finding this remedy in pill or capsule form is okay too. However if you have the opportunity to make this formula in raw tea form and you can handle the taste, you'll get quite a kick out of the smell, if you can smell anything, that is. If you can't smell anything, this formula may change that. It does tend to open up nasal congestion.

    This formula is for the headache that arrives with severe nasal congestion associated with the common cold. TCM teaches that the common cold is an invasion of cold energy in the lungs. The lungs are said to be connected to the nose, which of course the are, anatomically. The lungs are also in charge of an important step in the body's water metabolism. They're said to distribute the water to the skin and throughout the body. Should cold energy get into the lungs, this function can be compromised leading to all the water backing up into the nose.

    If you've ever wondered where all that mucus comes from that gets blown out of your nose during a cold, now you know. This formula focuses primarily on opening up the nose and secondarily on pushing the cold out of the lungs to restore their normal function of distributing the body fluids. Opening up the nose addresses the headache that arrives with the common cold, or any cause of nasal congestion such as allergies.

    Other symptoms: vertigo, stuffy nose, slight fever, sensitivity to cold or wind.

    Applicable diseases: Flu, common cold, chronic rhinitis, nasal sinusitis, allergic headache.

    Cautions and warnings: This formula should not be given to a patient with a high fever as it is warm in nature and can aggravate that aspect of the illness. If there is a fever present, see: Headache due to Wind Heat.

    Usage and prognosis: This formula is about 85% targeting the symptoms of headache and stuffy nose, while only 15% directly addresses the cold or allergies. For this reason, it is good to think about formulas that will also address the underlying issue while using this formula. If the problem is allergies, we'll want to look at formulas that strengthen the immune system ("Wei Qi" as we call it) to prevent the constant reactions to allergens. In either case, this formula really addresses symptoms only and not the underlying cause. When the formula really works well, it will within the first few hours and will likely need to be taken until the underlying cause is rectified. In some cases, it'll need to be taken for a day or two before a response happens. Overall, it should work rather quickly by herbal standards which is much slower than drugs as a rule.

    I've found that these formulas for acute conditions (acute would mean really intense, but short lived) can be taken more frequently than a formula for a deficiency. The typical TCM formula is taken three times daily. A formula such as this can be taken twice that amount.

    How to obtain your formula: You can purchase the formula mentioned in this article by simply clicking on its name. Another option is to obtain this formula modified for your unique situation.

    Other locations to purchase this formula include your friendly neighborhood Chinese herb pharmacy. You'll likely need to live near a Chinatown to obtain your herbs there. They'll probably come in raw form (twigs, branches, etc.) and you'll have to take them home and cook them into a nasty tasting brew. This may provide the strongest medical efficacy, but it is also the most hassle.

    In some cases, the formulas that are described in these articles are available in premade capsule, tablet, or pill form. The name of the formula may be spelled or described slightly different, and I can't really anticipate how they'll end up looking on the package, but they too are out there, most frequently at those Chinese herb pharmacies, but often at health food stores or stores that target consumers of natural or organic products.

    Finally, acupuncture and TCM schools tend to carry a rather extensive stock of these kinds of herbal medicines. Most of them have a clinic for people to come in and get treatments. Here's a list of the schools, perhaps there is one near you... TCM schools. Here are some herb suppliers too, they may be able to provide you some help in locating your formula: Herb Suppliers.

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