Chinese Medicine: The benefits and applications of Tong Qiao Huo Xue Wan.
Tong Qiao Huo Xue Wan is a classic Chinese medicine herbal formula. This is where herbs are blended together to treat ailments more effectively, compared to taking individual herbs one by one. All students of Traditional Chinese medicine learn these formulas and can later adapt each, to better serve their clients.
There are literally hundreds of these classic herbal formulas in Chinese medicine and some have been around for centuries.
What ailments/conditions is Tong Qiao Huo Xue Wan used to treat?
This natural blend of herbs is commonly used to treat sharp, painful headaches associated with blood stagnation (a reduction in blood flow). These headaches may be caused by stress or direct trauma and often, if aggravated, will pound with your heartbeat. The Chinese theorise that where there is stagnation of any substance in the body, there is pain.
The Biomedicine applications for this herbal blend include:
• Headaches, such as cluster headaches, migraines, pre menstrual headaches and post-concussion syndrome (any trauma to the head should be immediately checked out by your physician)
• Dizziness and vertigo
• Ear ache
• Varicose veins
The famous formula for Tong Qiao Huo Xue Wan is as follows:
Chuang xiong (ligusticum) – this is said to be useful for all types of headaches as it invigorates the blood and gets the circulation moving once more. This herb is also said to enable the arteries to dilate, calm the patient, help relieve pain and it is purported to be of use as an antispasmodic.
Da zao (jujube) – this herb is said have antiallergenic properties. It is also said to reduce toxicity in the body and help nourish the blood.
Hong hua (safflower) – another herb that is said to invigorate the blood and circulation. It is thought to reduce artery constriction, which may explain why it is also thought to have analgesic properties.
Sheng jiang (fresh ginger) – Chinese herbalists believe this to be an antiemetic (alleviates or stops vomiting).
Chi shao (red peony) – another herb which may be of use in improving blood flow and circulation. It is thought to ease high temperatures and have a calming effect on the patient.
Cong bai (green onion/scallions) – is used in Chinese medicine as an antipyretic (reduces fever) and expectorant, useful in clearing the sinuses.
Tao ren (peach kernel) – this is thought to be of particular use in the menstrual cycle where estrogen seems to encourage the blood to clot. Tao ren is used as an anticoagulant and analgesic.
She xiang (musk) – used for its anti-inflammatory properties, this herb can reduce swelling and offer pain relief.
These herbs are often blended together using low temperatures to prevent any deterioration of the beneficial properties and are reduced into a paste like form. This enables them to be encapsulated into what are called ‘tea pills.’ It makes the medicine much more convenient to take and carry around with you.
Traditional Chinese medicine is becoming more and more respected in the West as we are finding out for ourselves the benefits of acupuncture, reflexology and alternative traditional health therapies. As millions of Chinese people have been taking these remedies for years, next time you have a nasty headache that just will not go away you might want to try something new.
When taking any herbal supplement, make sure you take advice from a trained physician first. Particular cautions in the use of Tong Qiao Huo Xue Wan are that it cannot be taken in pregnancy or by anyone with hemorrhagic disorders. It should be used with caution for patients taking anti coagulant therapy and if you are experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding.
Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_classic_herbal_formula, http://www.atwoodacupuncture.com/menstrualmigraine.html