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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 a Deficiency of Kidney Yin

    Location of headache: Likely in the back of the head, though not necessarily involving the muscles of the neck and upper back.

    Herb Formula: Da Bu Yin Wan (Pills for Replenishing the Yin)

    Tongue Appearance: Red body with scanty coating or no coating at all. The red body indicates a condition of heat in the body. In this case, there is no real heat (commonly due to some sort of infection) but rather a lack of body fluids and cooling mechanisms. This is the cause for hot flashes and night sweats.

    red tongue body 

    If the Yin deficiency becomes chronic the tongue may develope numerous cracks as the body tissues begin to dry up as is indicated in the lower image to the right.

    multiple cracks in tongue

    Also see:
    With no appetite: Qi and Blood Deficiency
    Better when laying down: Qi and Blood Deficiency
    Aggravated by stress: Liver Wind

    Explanation: Here's a formula that seeks to cool off the engine by filling up the radiator. People need body fluids to lubricate all of the organs as well as supply cooling energy to our bodies. When people are deficient in body fluids they'll suffer from a variety of dehydration symptoms, but also we can feel hot inside. When this heat rises up into the head, it can cause headaches. This syndrome may be associated with menopause or follow in the wake of an illness with a high fever that caused dehydration.

    Other symptoms: hot flashes, night sweats, low back pain (aggravated by fatigue), redness in the face, dizziness, vertigo, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), cough with blood, restlessness, nocturnal emissions (this is considered normal for young men).

    Applicable diseases: low back pain, tuberculosis, diabetes, chronic nephritis, Addison's disease, menopause.

    Cautions and warnings: If you do not suffer from a Kidney Yin deficiency, this formula will still not harm you. The only issue that arises in the ingestion of Yin tonics is that they tend to be a little more difficult to digest than most other formulas. For this reason, the formula may need to be modified by your TCM herbalist to include a few herbs to assist in the digestion of this formula. Even though what ends up in your stomach is only tea, it can be sort of sludgy due to the thick stickiness of the herbs involved. The way to tell if you're having trouble digesting this formula is either a dull ache in the stomach after taking it, or else your stools may become sticky or loose. Sometimes simply lowering the dosage will help too.

    This formula may need to be modified slightly from its original form which included pig marrow derived from spinal bones and decocted in a soup like a soup bone. If you have a problem with pigs for whatever reason, this one ingredient can be removed and replaced with others that are consistent with your unique needs.

    Usage and prognosis: Because this formula is due to a deficiency, it may take a little longer to address your headache than a formula that addresses excessive type problems. However when it comes to the treatment of menopausal symptoms this formula works rather quickly. This particular type of Yin deficiency associated with menopause seems to be less profound than the Yin deficiency that follows years of steady depletion. Also menopause is naturally a self-limiting period of time that should pass on its own eventually. This and other Yin nourishing formulas can be used at lower dosages to supplement the body with what estrogen was providing prior to menopause.

    As for the question of estrogens causing cancers, there are two reasons that Yin nourishing medicinals are not a problem. The first is that this formula may include molecules that look like estrogen, but they're not animal estrogens, rather they're phyto-estrogens which means plant estrogens. They act differently in the body than animal estrogens. Secondly, there are mechanisms for these kinds of herbs that are quite different from what your MD assumes is necessary to treat your menopausal syndrome such as herbs that stimulate the production of body fluids or cool the body. It really isn't only about estrogen. There is an enormous amount of ignorance out there regarding the use of herbs for menopause on one hand and there are quite a few unanswered questions regarding what biomedical research has discovered regarding the use of herbs for menopause on the other. While writing this article, I attempted to get down to the bottom of it all, but all I found was ample research supporting anything you chose to believe regarding the safety of herbs for menopause. One thing that should be remembered is that herbs to address menopause or post-menopausal women's health have been part of TCM herbal medicine for thousands of years. Hormone replacement therapy has been around for less than 100, and the use of western herbs such as black cohash and so forth are not traditional Chinese herbs and are generally not included in these traditional formulas. These remedies have withstood the test of thousands of years of patient trials that have proven their safety and efficacy. TCM is much more than the use of soy, in fact soy is not even used in this particular formula. There is no shortage of advice out there regarding your symptoms of headaches, hot flashes and night sweats. Just remember that there is an argument for any position you can think of.

    My own mother was actually in the study that determined how harmful hormone replacement therapy can be. She even developed breast cancer. She was treated successfully and all is well, thank you very much. But since then, she has been taking my herbal medicines. Although taking the herbs (in her case, in capsule form) is less convenient than a patch, she reports that her comfort has never been better and her singing voice is smoother than ever in her life which is an important barometer for her.

    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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