Stuffy nose according to Chinese Medicine

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Stuffy nose 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 stuffy nose 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 stuffy nose is often associated with headaches, dry throat and phlegm in the pattern “Exterior Dry Cold invading the Lungs”.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of stuffy nose we’ve identified that a herbal formula called Xing Su San can help treat the patterns behind the symptom.

Exterior Dry Cold invading the Lungs, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause stuffy nose

In Chinese Medicine stuffy nose is a symptom for the pattern "Exterior Dry Cold invading the Lungs". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.

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

Exterior Dry Cold invading the Lungs

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

In addition to stuffy nose, other symptoms associated with Exterior Dry Cold invading the Lungs include headaches, dry throat and phlegm.

Exterior Dry Cold invading the Lungs is often treated with Xing Su San, a herbal formula made of 11 herbs (including Apricot Seeds - Xing Ren - as a key herb). Xing Su San belongs to the category of "formulas that disperse dryness and moisten", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Dry-Cold".

Read more about Exterior Dry Cold invading the Lungs here

A herbal formula that might help with stuffy nose

Xing Su San

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Key actions: Clears Dry-Cold. Disseminates the Lung Qi and relieves cough. Transforms thin mucus.

Why might Xing Su San help with stuffy nose?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Exterior Dry Cold invading the Lungs' of which stuffy nose is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Exterior Dry Cold Invading The Lungs include headaches, dry throat and phlegm.

Read more about Xing Su San here

The two Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat stuffy nose

Why might Apricot Seed (Xing Ren) help with stuffy nose?

Because it is a key herb in Xing Su San, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Exterior Dry Cold invading the Lungs' (a pattern with stuffy nose as a symptom)

Apricot Seeds is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Large intestine and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Stops cough and wheezing caused by either Heat or Cold. Lubricates the Intestines and relieves constipation.

Read more about Apricot Seeds here

Why might Perilla Leaf (Zi Su Ye) help with stuffy nose?

Because it is a key herb in Xing Su San, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Exterior Dry Cold invading the Lungs' (a pattern with stuffy nose as a symptom)

Perilla Leaves is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Spleen and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold. Promotes the circulation of Spleen and Stomach Qi. Calms a restless fetus. Detoxifies seafood poisoning

Read more about Perilla Leaves here

Other symptoms often associated with stuffy nose

Headaches Dry throat Phlegm Dry cough