Itching scalp according to Chinese Medicine

Itching scalp can be the consequence of several so-called “patterns of disharmony” in Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted, leading to symptoms or signs that something is wrong (like itching scalp here). It is similar to the concept of disease in Western Medicine but not quite: a Western disease can often be explained by several Chinese patterns and vice-versa.

A pattern often manifests itself in a combination of symptoms that, at first glance, do not seem necessarily related to each others. For instance here itching scalp is often associated with traumatic swelling, blotchy skin and skin capillaries in the pattern “Blood Stagnation”.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of itching scalp we’ve identified five herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.

We’ve also selected below the five medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat itching scalp.

Blood Stagnation, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause itching scalp

In Chinese Medicine itching scalp is a symptom for the pattern "Blood Stagnation". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.

Peach Kernels (Tao Ren) is the king ingredient for Tao He Cheng Qi Tang, a formula used for Blood Stagnation

Blood Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Firm (Lao), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Reddish-Purple

Blood Stagnation, like the name indicates, is when Blood flow becomes Stagnant. It can happen in the whole body or in specific Organs. It is one of the most important diagnostic conditions in Chinese Medicine because it is frequently the cause of intractable pain syndromes anywhere in the body.

In addition to itching scalp, other symptoms associated with Blood Stagnation include traumatic swelling, blotchy skin and skin capillaries.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Blood Stagnation is associated with health issues such as Scanty Menstruation, Abnormal Uterine Bleeding or Heavy Menstruation.

Blood Stagnation is often treated with Tao He Cheng Qi Tang, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Peach Kernels - Tao Ren - as a key herb). Tao He Cheng Qi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that invigorate blood and dispel blood stagnation", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Dispels Heat and".

Read more about Blood Stagnation here

Five herbal formulas that might help with itching scalp

Tao He Cheng Qi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Dispels Heat and. Eliminates Blood Stagnation.

Why might Tao He Cheng Qi Tang help with itching scalp?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Blood Stagnation' of which itching scalp is a symptom.

Read more about Tao He Cheng Qi Tang here

Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Clears Stagnant Heat in the intestines. Reduces swelling and disperses lumps.

Why might Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang help with itching scalp?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Blood Stagnation' of which itching scalp is a symptom.

Read more about Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang here

Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Promotes Blood and lymphatic circulation, thus eleminates Blood Stagnation. Softens and resolves hard lumps such as cysts and fibroids.

Why might Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan help with itching scalp?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Blood Stagnation' of which itching scalp is a symptom.

Read more about Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan here

Di Dang Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Breaks up and dispels Blood Stagnation .

Why might Di Dang Tang help with itching scalp?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Blood Stagnation' of which itching scalp is a symptom.

Read more about Di Dang Tang here

Dan Shen Yin

Source date: 1801 AD

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Key actions: Invigorates the Blood and removes Blood Stagnation . Promote Qi movement . Relieves pain .

Why might Dan Shen Yin help with itching scalp?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Blood Stagnation' of which itching scalp is a symptom.

Read more about Dan Shen Yin here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat itching scalp

Why might Peach Kernel (Tao Ren) help with itching scalp?

Because Peach Kernel is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat itching scalp as a symptom, like Tao He Cheng Qi Tang or Di Dang Tang for instance.

Peach Kernels is a Neutral herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Large intestine and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Moves Blood and breaks up Stasis. Moistens the Intestines. Relieves coughing.

Read more about Peach Kernels here

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with itching scalp?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat itching scalp as a symptom, like Tao He Cheng Qi Tang or Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan for instance.

Liquorice is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Lung, the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Basal Qi and nourishes the Spleen Qi. Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Moistens the Lungsexpel phlegm and stop coughing. Relieves spasms and alleviates pain. Harmonizes and moderates the effects of other herbs.

Read more about Liquorice here

Why might Rhubarb (Da Huang) help with itching scalp?

Because Rhubarb is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat itching scalp as a symptom, like Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang or Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan for instance.

Rhubarb is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach, the Large intestine, the Liver and the Pericardium.

Its main actions are: Drains Excess Heat and eliminates Dampness, especially when in the Bright Yang stage according to the Six Stages Theory. Cools the Blood and stops bleeding. Invigorates Blood, breaks up Stasis and relieves pain. Clears Heat and toxins from Excess. Applied topically for Hot sores and Blood Stasis.

Read more about Rhubarb here

Why might White Peony Root (Bai Shao) help with itching scalp?

Because White Peony Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat itching scalp as a symptom, like Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan or San Zhong Kui Jian Tang for instance.

White Peony Roots is a Neutral herb that tastes Bitter and Sour. It targets the Liver and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood and preserves the Yin. Nourishes the Liver and assists in the smooth flow of Qi. Regulates the meridians and eases the pain.

Read more about White Peony Roots here

Why might Cinnamon Twig (Gui Zhi) help with itching scalp?

Because Cinnamon Twig is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat itching scalp as a symptom, like Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan or Tao He Cheng Qi Tang for instance.

Cinnamon Twigs is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Lung and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Adjusts the nutritive Ying and defensive Wei Qi. Relieves the Exterior through sweating. Warms and disperses Cold. Removes obstruction of Yang. Promotes the circulation of Yang Qi in the chest. Regulates and moves blood.

Read more about Cinnamon Twigs here