Did You Know What’s The Chinese Medicine For Headache?

Chinese Medicine for Headache

Did You Know What’s The Chinese Medicine For Headache?

Headaches are one of the most annoying disorders of all time for American people. 

In America, 45 million Americans are suffering from headaches each year.

One in every six people of the population has had headaches in the United States.  

Here, I would like to talk about the mechanisms of headaches and kinds of headaches and how to treat Chinese medicine remedies such as by using acupuncture points and Chinese medicines like kudzu tea.  

Western Perspective of Headaches

You need to identify several different headaches, such as sinus headaches, cluster headaches, tension headaches, and migraines.

  • Sinus headaches – headaches in the behind the eyebrow and cheekbone.
  • Cluster headaches – located in and around one eye.
  • Tension headaches – one of the most common headaches, which is like a band squeezing the head.
  • Migraine – usually in one side of the head and may cause nausea and visual changes.

Chinese medicine perspective of Headache

On the other hand, in TCM, we differentiate headaches into different types


  • Yang Ming Headache – pain in the frontal head and forehead
  • Shao Yang Headache – temporal head
  • Jue Yin Headache – top of the head
  • Tai Yang Headache – pain from the base of the neck to the back of the head
  • Tai Yin Headache – pain that wraps around the head
  • Shao Yin Headache – pain like pushing the brain up with a spear from below
Location of the headache from Chinese Medicine perspective
Location of the headache from TCM perspective

Headache Types in Chinese Medicine

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are different causes of headaches, such as external pathogens like wind-cold or wind-heat, or stress, or digestive problems. 

These causes stiffen the muscle around the head and neck cause headaches.  

Acute Headaches

  • External pathogens like cold, dampness, heat, and wind attack your body because of low immune systems.

Chronic Headaches

  • Qi deficiency headache – a headache because you have low Qi (Energy).  This headache is associated with fatigue, low appetite, and pale faces.  
  • Blood deficiency headache – this headache happens because you have a lack of blood in your system.  This type of headache gives you sharp pain in the head and pale skin.  
  • Phlegm-dampness headache – this type of headache is associated with heartburn and nausea or vomiting.  
  • Liver fire headache – When you are raged or angry, your headache is triggered.  
  • Food stagnation headache – Headache after eating. It is associated with burping and yawning.  

What can We do with Chinese Medicine for Headache?

In Traditional Chinese medicine, there are two main treatments, such as Acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapy.

Acupuncture & moxibustion

Acupuncture & moxibustion is a therapy that helps the patient to flow Qi and energy smoothly and removes the pathogens that cause the disease.

The human body has multiple pathways called meridians that run through Qi and blood. In a healthy body, Qi and blood flow continuously.

But, When the paths are obstructed or stagnated, a person gets sick.

Liver and Gall Bladder meridians connect to head and other organs in Chinese Medicine
Liver and Gall Bladder meridians connect to head and other organs

Chinese Medicine for Headache (Herbs)

Chinese herbal medicine (Kampo) combines multiple herbal medications such as plants and minerals in nature in principle.

It has been confirmed that herbal medicines are combined to obtain what kind of effect and whether they are harmful to bodies, and it has been systematized as a Kampo prescription.

Herbal medicine is the process of plant leaves, flowers, buds, stems, branches, roots, fungi, minerals, insects, and other substances that have been considered adequate over a long time into easy-to-use convenient storage and transportation.

Chinese herbal medicine is a remedy that is used by mixing them. The characteristic of Chinese herbal medicine is the combined effect of Chinese herbs.

4 tips from Chinese Medicine for Headache

Heat Pack on the Neck

1. Releasing the neck muscle is one of the essential things that you need to make sure of because the neck muscle and the headaches are highly related.

From a traditional Chinese medicine perspective, stress, poor digestion, and side effects can stiffen the neck muscle and headaches.

It is because the meridians and channels go through from the internal organs and neck to the head.

So, if you have poor digestion, for example, you will get (Qi) energy stagnation in the meridians and eventually cause headaches.

Press on the acupuncture points

2. Stimulate Acupuncture points – Acupuncture points work when you stimulate the points. 

Each point has different functions for headaches.  

  1. San Jiao 3 – press the tender spot 2 inches above the dorsal side of the wrist.  This point is excellent for releasing the SCM muscle and temporal headaches (Tai Yang headaches)  
  2. Liver 3 – press the tender spot in between Big toe and 2nd toe.  You can press and find the most tender place.  This point is good for the back of the head (Tai Yang headaches), especially on the right side (Liver side).     
  3. Stomach 43 – press the tender spot in between the 3rd and 4th toes.  You can also press and find the most tender place.  This point is good for sinus headaches (Yang Ming headaches).  
  4. Large Intestine 4 – press the tender spot in between the thumb and 2nd finder.  You can find and push the most tender place.  This point is suitable for a tension headache (Tai Yin Headache).  
Acupuncture Points for Headaches
Acupuncture Points for Headaches

Natural Chinese Herbal Remedies

3. Take natural Chinese herbal remedies – each Chinese herb has a different function and action. 

For example, Kudzu is arrowroot and has a great benefit to treat headaches. 

In Japan, arrowroot tea is a trendy tea to warm your body, release muscle tension and release headaches.  

The primary making method of Kudzu arrowroot tea is simple and easy as follows,

  1. Dissolve kudzu powder (10g) in water (100cc), then filter the mixture through a tea strainer
  2. Heat the liquid in a small pot, stirring gently, until it becomes transparent (or translucent) and viscous.
  3. Add your desired amount of sugar (honey or syrup) to the pot and mix well
  4. Pour the liquid into a cup
  5. Enjoy! 
Kudzu Tea - one of the most popular Chinese medicine tea in Japan for Headache
Kudzu Tea

Stay Hydrated

4.  On top of this, drinking enough water is also very important. Dehydration can cause tension headaches because your brain gets pressure from the loss of fluids.

So, please make sure to drink enough water but not too much water.

  1. Drink a cup of plain hot water in the morning right after waking up.
  2. Drink one between 3 pm to 5 pm
  3. 0.3~0.5 gallon should be enough
  4. Avoid ice-cold water

Try these tips to relieve headaches, and it is effortless to try them at home. 

{Recommended article to read together}

Please feel welcome to comment if you have any questions about this post.

Sayonara till next post.

About Author: Satoru Ozawa – Doctor of Oriental Medicine, an acupuncturist, and a Chinese herb specialist.

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