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 Blood Stagnation

    Location of headache: Could be anywhere, but it will be fixed in location, probably one small area, and the sensation will be sharp rather than dull and radiating. It may also be a pounding headache that when aggravated will pound with the heartbeat. This blood stagnation may arise from either direct trauma to the head or a long period of stress.

    Herb Formula: Tong Qiao Huo Xue Tang (Decoction to Invigorate the Blood Circulation and Open the Orifices)

    Tongue Appearance: Purple color, as is indicated here. Sometimes purple spots can be found on the tongue as well, though they are not found in this image.

    blue-purple tongue body color

    In the bottom image, you'll see that the two veins beneath the tongue extend up past the 50% mark of the length of the tongue. This too can indicate a blood stagnation condition.

    sub-lingual engorgement

    Also see:
    Migraine: Qi Stagnation
    One sided headache: Qi Stagnation
    Hypertension: Liver Wind

    Explanation: When there is a stagnation of anything, according to traditional Chinese medicine theory, there is pain. When it is the blood that is stagnant, the pain is sharp and fixed.

    This formula can be used for headache pain due to local trauma to the head. In other words, when you bang your head on something, it'll cause pain that can be addressed by this formula. Now, when it comes to head trauma, there are many things that can go wrong that may require biomedical intervention, so if you've had significant trauma to the head, go see your doctor or check it out in the emergency room. Make sure that you don't have any bleeding beneath the skull or a concussion, then consider this formula.

    Tong Qiao Huo Xue Tang is also good for sharp, pounding headaches that follow in the wake of a significant period of emotional stress. We say that Qi stagnation leads to blood stagnation. Stress causes Qi stagnation, and in time that may lead to blood stagnation, and this sharp fixed in location type headache.

    Other symptoms: dizziness, stress-induced deafness, loss of hair following a period or stress, pale face with possibly purple lips, emaciation, weakness of the muscles.

    Applicable diseases: Cerebral concussion, post-concussion syndromes.

    Cautions and warnings: See your doctor in the case of head trauma before using this formula, not because the formula can hurt you, but because undiagnosed intracranial bleeding can. Another reason that you might be slow to pick up this formula is in the case of easy bruising or any other bleeding disorder. This formula is likely going to thin the blood a little bit. In some cases this can actually stop bleeding, especially when the bleeding is due to some obstruction in the cardiovascular system, but this is something that would be best determined by someone who has the training to ask those questions. Thining the blood in the wrong person could cause your blood pressure to drop a little bit and that can be a problem if you're operating heavy machinery or otherwise attached to the concept of walking upright.

    Usage and prognosis: Blood stagnation is by definition an excessive type problem in Chinese medicine. There are a few types of Blood stagnation that are due to deficiency, but most are excessive. That means that you'll respond rather quickly to therapy. By quickly, I'm talking about one day in the most sensitive individuals with the least profound stagnation to a few weeks for those with severe stagnation due to trauma or years of emotional stress.

    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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