Nosebleed according to Chinese Medicine

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Nosebleed 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 nosebleed 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 nosebleed is often associated with bloody sputum, fever and insomnia in the pattern “Heat in the Blood”. As you will see below, we have in record three patterns that can cause nosebleed.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of nosebleed we’ve identified four 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 nosebleed.

The three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause nosebleed

In Chinese Medicine nosebleed is a symptom for 3 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

Water Buffalo Horns (Shui Niu Jiao) is the king ingredient for Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang, a formula used for Heat in the Blood

Heat in the Blood

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu)

Tongue color: Red

Heat in the Blood (or Blood-Heat) refers to a condition whereby Heat, as a so-called "Pernicious Influence", entered the Blood. This invasion tends to accelerate Blood flow (leading to a faster pulse) and to manifest itself in various types of bleeding as well as other symptoms.

In addition to nosebleed, other symptoms associated with Heat in the Blood include bloody sputum, fever and insomnia.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Heat in the Blood is associated with health issues such as Early Menstruation, Abnormal Uterine Bleeding or Heavy Menstruation.

Heat in the Blood is often treated with Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Water Buffalo Horns - Shui Niu Jiao - as a key herb). Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear nutritive-level heat", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Treats severe fevers and Heat in the Blood system".

Read more about Heat in the Blood here

The Liver is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Liver in Chinese Medicine

Liver Blood Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Bluish-Purple sides

Liver Blood Stagnation usually develops from Qi Stagnation, Cold and Heat. It has great influence over the Directing and Penetrating Vessels and thus the menstruation functions.

In addition to nosebleed, other symptoms associated with Liver Blood Stagnation include abdominal pain, vomiting of blood and irregular menstruation.

Liver Blood Stagnation is often treated with Xiao Yao San, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Bupleurum Roots - Chai Hu - as a key herb). Xiao Yao San belongs to the category of "formulas that harmonize liver-spleen", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Harmonizes the function of Liver and Spleen".

Read more about Liver Blood Stagnation here

The Liver is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Liver in Chinese Medicine

Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Fire

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian)

In addition to nosebleed, other symptoms associated with Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Fire include tinnitus, dizziness and irritability.

Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Fire is often treated with Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Saiga Antelope's Horns - Ling Yang Jiao - as a key herb). Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that pacify and extinguish internal wind", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Cools the Liver".

Read more about Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Fire here

Four herbal formulas that might help with nosebleed

Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang

Source date: 650 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Treats severe fevers and Heat in the Blood system. Removes Blood Stagnation.

Why might Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang help with nosebleed?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Heat in the Blood' of which nosebleed is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Heat In The Blood include bloody sputum, fever and insomnia.

Read more about Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang here

Xiao Yao San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Harmonizes the function of Liver and Spleen. Relieves Liver Qi stagnation. Nourishes the Blood.

Why might Xiao Yao San help with nosebleed?

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

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver Blood Stagnation include abdominal pain, vomiting of blood and irregular menstruation.

Read more about Xiao Yao San here

Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang

Source date: Qing dynasty

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Cools the Liver. Extinguishes Wind. Increases Fluids. Relaxes the sinews.

Why might Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang help with nosebleed?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Fire' of which nosebleed is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver Wind Agitating Internally Due To Liver Fire include tinnitus, dizziness and irritability.

Read more about Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang here

Chai Hu Shu Gan San

Source date: 1602

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Disperses Stagnant Liver Qi and Blood. Alleviates pain. Harmonizes Blood.

Why might Chai Hu Shu Gan San help with nosebleed?

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

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver Blood Stagnation include abdominal pain, vomiting of blood and irregular menstruation.

Read more about Chai Hu Shu Gan San here

Acupuncture points used for nosebleed

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat nosebleed

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with nosebleed?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat nosebleed as a symptom, like Xiao Yao San or Chai Hu Shu Gan San for instance.

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

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 Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with nosebleed?

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat nosebleed as a symptom, like Xiao Yao San or Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang for instance.

Dong Quai is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Lubricates the Intestines. Relieve constipation. Promotes circulation and dispels Bi Pain. Reduce Dysmenorrhea and help with irregular menstruation.

Read more about Dong Quai here

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

Because White Peony Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat nosebleed as a symptom, like Xiao Yao San or Chai Hu Shu Gan San for instance.

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

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 Bupleurum Root (Chai Hu) help with nosebleed?

Because Bupleurum Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat nosebleed as a symptom, like Xiao Yao San or Chai Hu Shu Gan San for instance.

Bupleurum Roots is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Harmonizes exterior and interior. Smoothes the Liver and upraises the Yang.

Read more about Bupleurum Roots here

Why might Unprepared Rehmannia (Di Huang) help with nosebleed?

Because Unprepared Rehmannia is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat nosebleed as a symptom, like Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang or Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang for instance.

Unprepared Rehmannia is a Cold herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Expels Heat by Cooling Blood. Tonifies Yin by promoting Fluid production. Soothes the Heart by calming Blazing Fire. Cools and nourishes.

Read more about Unprepared Rehmannia here