Recipes of Chinese herbs for headache caused by upwards moving of liver-Yang

In traditional Chinese medicine, the causes of headache include external pathogenic factors and internal factors. Upwards moving of liver-Yang is one of internal factors.

Long-time negative emotions may make the liver lose the function of unblocking Qi. The stasis of liver-Qi is transformed into liver-fire. Liver-fire moves upwards and intrudes into the head, leading to headache with the feeling of distending.

When liver-Yin and kidney-Yin are deficient, the liver cannot get nourishment. It is called that water cannot nourish wood, as in the theory of five elements the attribute of the kidneys is water and the attribute of the liver is wood. Because of deficiency, liver-Yin cannot restrict liver-Yang, and liver-Yang moves upwards, leading to headache with dizziness.

When upwards moving of liver-Yang causes headache, the person feels distending pain in the head, especially in two sides of the head. The person also feels dizziness, and he is fidgety and irritable. He feels something bitter in his mouth, and his face is reddened. He may feel the pain in the hypochondrium. The tongue is red, and the coating of the tongue is thin and yellow. The pulse is taut like a string, and rapid.

The treatment method of the syndrome is to calm the liver and subdue liver-Yang. And the representative recipe for the syndrome is Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin.

The recipe Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin contains Tian Ma (9 g), Gou Teng (12 g), Shi Jue Ming (18 g), Chuan Niu Xi (12 g), Sang Ji Sheng (9 g), Du Zhong (9 g), Zhi Zi (9 g), Huang Qin (9 g), Yi Mu Cao (9 g), Zhu Fu Shen (9 g), and Ye Jiao Teng (9 g).

In the case of acute headache, if the eyes become reddened, the person feels something bitter in the mouth, and he becomes impatient and irritable, while he suffers from constipation and the urine is yellow, the recipe adds Long Dan Cao, Xia Ku Cao and Da Huang.

If the person feels dizziness, his eyes feel dry, while his low back and knees feel discomfort and weakness, the recipe may add Sheng Di Huang, He Shou Wu and Gou Qi Zi as appropriate.


1. Zhu Fu Shen: It is Fu Shen covered with a thin layer of the powder of Zhu Sha, strengthening the effect of soothing the heart and relieving restlessness. In the recipe, Fu Shen can be used without Zhu Sha.

2. Ye Jiao Teng: It is also called Shou Wu Teng.


1. Zhang, Boli, & Wu, Mianhua. (2017). Internal Medicine of TCM. China Press of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

2. Li, Ji, & Lian, Jianwei. (2016). Recipes of Traditional Chinese Medicine. China Press of Traditional Chinese Medicine.


Some medicinal materials are not allowed to use in the EU. The knowledge of the article is based on the conditions of China. The actual use of medicinal materials in the EU complies with the regulations of the EU.

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