Headaches, as common as they are, remain a perplexing phenomenon that can manifest in various forms and intensities. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a unique perspective on understanding and treating headaches by examining the root causes and imbalances that trigger them. This article will explore the different types of headaches based on TCM principles and their corresponding treatments, including both herbal formulas and food remedies.
Wind-cold headaches are characterized by a lack of perspiration, breathing through the nose, clear discharge from the nose, coughing, and dislike of cold. The remedy prescribed by Chinese medicine is Chuan-Xiong-Cha-Tiao-San, which disperses wind and cold and stops headaches. Food remedies for this type of headache include peppermint, sweet basil, fennel, ginger, and mustard seed.
Wind-heat headaches are characterized by coughing, dizziness, headache with swelling of the head, intolerance of light in the eyes, muddy discharge from the nose, nosebleeds, pain in the eyes and throat, red eyes, and yellow urine. The remedy prescribed by Chinese medicine is Sang-Ju-Yin, which disperses wind and heat and stops headaches. Food remedies for this type of headache include banana, spinach, cucumber, peppermint, and strawberry.
Wind-dampness headaches are characterized by chronic backache, diarrhea, eczema, edema, fever that becomes more severe in the afternoon, headache with heavy or tight sensations in the head, pain in all the joints, and pain shifting around with no fixed region. The remedy prescribed by Chinese medicine is Qiang-Huo-Sheng-Shi-Tang, which drives out wind, overcomes dampness, and relieves pain. Food remedies for this type of headache include orange peel, celery, coconut meat, and green onion.
Liver Yang Upsurging Headache
Liver yang upsurging headaches are characterized by a bitter taste in the mouth, dizziness, headache on the side of the head, headache with severe pain and swelling, misty vision, numbness, pain and swelling in the ribs, and red complexion. The remedy prescribed by Chinese medicine is Zhen-Gan-Xi-Feng-Tang, which calms the liver, oppresses the yang, stops the wind, and relieves pain. Food remedies for this type of headache include cheese, oyster, and pork.
Dampness-sputum headaches are characterized by coughing, discharge of sputum that can be coughed out easily, dizziness, pain in the chest, panting, and white, sliding sputum that can be cleared from the throat easily. The remedy prescribed by Chinese medicine is Ban-Xia-Xie-Xin-Tang, which transforms sputum, mobilizes the spleen, and relieves pain. Food remedies for this type of headache include asparagus, bamboo shoot, and fresh ginger.
Energy Deficiency Headache
Energy deficiency headaches are characterized by fatigue, headache that occurs with fatigue after labor, headache at intervals, headache in the morning, pain that may be relieved by massage, and prolonged headache. The remedy prescribed by Chinese medicine is Bu-Zhong-Yi-Qi-Tang, which tones energy, elevates the yang, and nourishes body energy. Food remedies for this type of headache include sweet rice, chestnut, and mutton.
Blood Deficiency Headache
Blood deficiency headaches are characterized by dizziness, headache as if being pulled by a string, headache in the afternoon, headache with dizziness, and white complexion. The remedy prescribed by Chinese medicine is Si-Wu-Tang, which nourishes the blood, softens up the liver, and