What is Hives?

Hives, also known as urticaria, are a skin condition characterized by the sudden appearance of red, itchy welts or raised bumps on the skin's surface. These welts can vary in size and shape and are often accompanied by a burning or stinging sensation. Hives can appear suddenly and typically resolve within a few hours or days.

However, in some cases, they may persist or recur, leading to chronic hives. Common triggers for hives include allergies to food, medications, insect bites, or exposure to environmental factors.

How does TCM View Hives?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) provides a distinct perspective on hives, considering them as external manifestations of internal disharmony. Unlike Western medicine, which often focuses on identifying allergens as the primary cause, TCM recognizes that hives can be triggered by various patterns of disharmony within the body. This understanding underscores the importance of pinpointing the specific pattern before initiating treatment.

Causes of Hives According to TCM

TCM identifies several patterns of disharmony that can lead to hives. Two common examples include patterns of Toxic-Heat and Wind-Heat. Toxic-Heat patterns manifest as intense redness, heat, and itching in the skin, often triggered by factors like spicy foods or exposure to environmental toxins. Wind-Heat patterns, on the other hand, involve an invasion of external Wind and Heat, leading to the sudden appearance of hives and itching.

It's essential to note that TCM recognizes multiple patterns that can contribute to hives, and individual cases may require a customized approach to diagnosis and treatment.

TCM Herbal Formulas for Hives

In TCM, the choice of formulas and herbs to address hives is contingent on the specific pattern of disharmony identified in the patient. For patterns involving Toxic-Heat, the Shi Wei Bai Du San formula is often recommended. This formula contains key herbs like Saposhnikovia Roots (Fang Feng), known for their Pungent, Sweet, and Warm properties. Fang Feng helps clear Toxic-Heat, alleviate redness and itching, and restore balance to the body.

See more details below about Shi Wei Bai Du San, a herbal formula used to address hives.

  • By Formula Type
  • Formulas that clear external abscesses and sores

Acupoints for Hives

TCM utilizes specific acupoints to help alleviate hives by regulating the body's Qi and addressing underlying patterns of disharmony. In the Triple Burner Channel, the Zhigou TB-6 acupoint is often targeted. Located 3 cun above Yangchi ST-4 at the dorsal wrist joint space, between the radius and ulna, this acupoint plays a crucial role in regulating Qi, removing Qi Stagnation, clearing Heat in the Large Intestine and head, expelling Wind-Heat from the skin, and removing obstructions from the Channel. By addressing these aspects, TCM aims to bring relief to individuals suffering from hives and restore harmony to their overall health.

See more details below about Zhigou TB-6, an acupoint used to address hives.

  • By Meridian
  • Triple Burner Channel
Zhigou TB-6

Zhigou TB-6

3 cun above Yangchi ST-4 at the dorsal wrist joint space, between the radius and ulna.

TCM Herbs for Hives

Explore below some TCM herbs used to address hives, organized by herb category.

  • By Herb Category
  • Warm/Acrid herbs that release the exterior
  • Herbs that dispel wind and dampness

"Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior" recommended for hives

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Saposhnikovia Roots (Fang Feng) Shi Wei Bai Du San
Japanese Catnip (Jing Jie) Shi Wei Bai Du San