WESTERN MEDICINE: Headaches may appear in the absence of organic pathological changes or as a manifestation of a serious disease. Most headaches are transient; some are chronic, recurring over months or years. 

SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS: Headache is a symptom seen in many acute and chronic diseases. It occurs in various diseases in modem medical consideration: internal medicine, surgery, neurology, psychosis, ear, nose, throat, etc. 

ETIOLOGY AND PATHOLOGY: The head is "the meeting point of all Yang channels", or "the house of clear Yang" according to TCM. So all the Yang channels of the hands and feet meet at the head; all the essence and blood from the Five Zhang organs, all the finest Qi from Six Fu organs ascend and gather in the head. Exogenous factors, such as wind, cold, dampness, etc. attack the head to obstruct its clear Qi and blood circulation causing headaches; internal disorders, such as the flaming of excessive liver Yang, kidney essence deficiency, or Qi and blood deficiency are all going to cause a headache by either disturbing the Qi and blood circulation of head, or by lack of nourishing. 


1. Headache Due To Exogenous Factors:

(1). Headache Due To Wind-Cold: 

Indications: Headache, worse when met with wind, stiff or sore neck and back, aversion to cold and wind, white thin tongue coating, floating pulse. 

Treatment & Formulas: Dispel wind cold and relieve headache. 


    • Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao San (Cnidium and Tea Formula, Item No. 2021 ): This is the first choice formula for wind cold headache.
    • Ge Gen Tang (Pueraria Combination, Item No. 2222): This treats wind cold symptoms with no perspiration or stiff neck and back. 
    • Wu Zhu Yu Tang (Evodia Combination, Item No. 2120): This treats internal cold attacking stomach and liver. Symptoms show severe headache, migraine, hiccups, vomit foamy phlegm, or diarrhea,  possible cold extremities, white tongue coating, wiry pulse. 

(2). Headache Due To Wind-Heat: 

Indications: Headache, full and extending sensation of head, in serious cases, patient feels that their head is going to split apart, fever, aversion to wind, red face and eyes, thirsty, likes to drink, constipation, yellow urine, red tongue body, yellow tongue coating, floating and rapid pulse. 

Treatment & Formulas: Dispel wind and clear heat so to relieve the headache. 


    • Jing Jie Lian Qiao Tang (Schizonepeta and Forsythia Combination, Item No. 2167): This is the typical formula for wind heat headache. 
    • Qing Shang Fang Feng Tang (Siler Combination, Item No. 2184): This is the right formula for wind heat headache plus lung heat signs. 
    • Sang Ju Yin (Marus and Chrysanthemum Combination, Item No. 2146): This is a light formula for wind head symptoms. 
    • Yin Qiao San (Lonicera and Forsythia Formula, Item No. 2248): This formula is stronger than Sang Ju Yin (Item No. 2146) to dispel wind heat. 
    • Xin Yi Qin Fei Yin (Magnolia Flower and Gypsum Combination, Item No. 2099): lt treats headache with heavy lung heat signs. 

(3). Headache Due To Wind-Dampness

Indications: Headache, heavy and tight sensation of head, body heaviness and tightness, fullness of chest, poor appetite, difficulty urinating, loose stool, white greasy tongue coating, slow and thready pulse. 

Treatment & Formulas: Dispel wind and eliminate the dampness.


    • Ma Xing Yi Gan Tang (Ma-huang and Coix Combination, Item No. 2177): It treats wind cold with dampness.
    • Wu Ji San (Tang-kuei and Magnolia Formula, Item No. 2045): It treats wind dampness headache with internal kidney Yang deficiency body type. 
    • Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San (Agastache Formula, Item No. 2271 ): It treats wind cold and dampness attacking lung and stomach, symptoms show headache, fever, aversion to cold and wind, vomiting, anorexia, full and dull sensation of chest, no appetite, diarrhea, white and greasy tongue coating, floating pulse. 

2. Headache Due To Internal Disorders:

(1). Headache Due To Flaming of Excessive Liver Yang: 

Indications: Headache, dizziness, blurry vision, restlessness, easily angered, insomnia, red face and eyes, bitter mouth, red tongue body, thin and yellow tongue coating, wiry and powerful pulse. 

Treatment & Formulas: Subdue the excessive liver Yang to guide and harmonize the liver Qi to its normal position. 


    • Go Teng San (Gambir Formula, Item No. 2238): This is the right formula for headaches due to flaming of excessive liver Yang. 
    • Xi Gan Ming Mu Tang (Gardenia and Vitex Combination, Item No.2127):This is to clear the liver fire and dispel both external and internal wind, especially good for headaches, irritated or red eyes, aversion to wind, tears when meet with wind, etc. 

(2). Headache Due To The Kidney Deficiency:

Indications: Headache with empty minded feeling, dizziness, blurry vision, sore and weak lumbar region, low energy, impotence, or seminal emission, loose and profuse vaginal discharge in women, insomnia, tinnitus, red tongue body, scanty.or no tongue coating, thready and weak pulse. 

Treatment & Formulas: Strengthen the kidney essence or Yin thereby relieving the headache. 


    • Liu Wei Di Huang Wan (Rehmannia Six Formula, Item No. 2051 ): It is for the kidney Yin deficiency type.
    • Zhi Po Ba Wei Wan (Anemarrhena, Phellodendron, and Rehmannia Formula, Item NO. 2123): It is for the kidney Yin and Yang deficiency plus the deficient liver fire. 
    • Zhi Shen Min Mu Tang (Chrysanthemum Combination, Item No. 2206 ): It is for both kidney and liver Yin deficiency plus the internal  deficiency liver fire, symptoms show more eye symptoms, such as blurry vision, dry and irritated eyes, tears when meet with wind. 
    • Ji Ju Di Huang Wan (Lycium, Chrysanthemum and Rehmannia Six Formula, Item No. 2290): This is for the kidney Yin deficiency plus the liver Yin deficiency with internal wind and heat. 

(3). Headache Due To Qi and Blood Deficiency: 

Indications: Headache, dizziness, palpitation, general fatigue, shortness of breath, lazy to speak, all symptoms worse after working or any activities, poor appetite, pale face, pale tongue body, white thin tongue coating, thready and weak pulse. 

Treatment & Formulas: Tonify Qi and blood by strengthening the function of spleen and stomach. 


    • Ba Zhen Tang (Tang-kuei and Ginseng Eight Combination, Item No. 2010): It is the first choice formula to tonify Qi and blood. 
    • Ren Shen Yang Rong Tang (Ginseng Nutritive Combination, Item No. 2007): This tonifies Qi and blood by strengthen the spleen and heart. 

(4). Headache Due To Turbid Phlegm: 

Indications: Headache or vertigo, heavy and tight feeling of head, oppression and stuffiness in the chest, profuse sputum, vomiting, anorexia, white greasy tongue coating, slippery pulse or combined with wiry pulse. 

Treatment & Formulas: Resolve phlegm, dispel endogenous wind and dampness, strengthen the function of spleen and stomach.


(5). Headache Due To The Stagnant Blood: 

Indications: Chronic headache with fixed location and twinge feeling, or trauma history, purple tongue, thready or with unsmooth pulse. 

Treatment & Formulas: Dissolve the stagnant blood and promote the circulation of blood and Qi. 


    • Si Wu Tang (Tang-kuei Four Combination, Item No. 2060) plus some other herbs to promote blood circulation.