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Chronic Sinusitis/Headaches


Hi. I have been suffering from chronic sinusitis for what seems to be my entire life. I pretty much have intense pressure headaches in my face, ears, eyes, head and teeth daily. I've had my septum fixed to no avail and have taken all sorts of antibiotics (over the course of about 7 years). I recently started acupuncture about 2 months ago and felt amazing for the first week or so and then I went back to normal and it's been a bit up and down ever since. The acupuncturist gave me some herbs which I noticed helped, HOWEVER, he seems to just give me whatever he has on hand that week and I'm not sure if there is a better treatment or more consistent approach. For example, he's given me Patchouli combination, Qiang Li Bi Yan, Bi Yan Pian, Pe Min Kan Wan and an herb for allergies that was really generic.

I started researching Herb treatments on my own and have been trying to combine a sinus herb with another to alleviate symptoms other than just the congested nose. I've noticed Bi Yan Pian dries out my nose well and acts as a great antihistamine, but the headaches/pressure in ears and face were still there. I did some research and read that Bi Yan Pian when taken with Xiao Yao Wan may help to reduce headaches. I have been taking them for the last week and definitely notice a difference, but still do not feel 100%. I feel like I'm close, I'm almost there if I could get the headaches/dizziness gone completely.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Do you agree with the Xiao Yao Wan combination with the Bi Yan Pian? Any help is appreciated. Thank you very much.


That&#39s a reasonable combination you are trying although for the xiao yao wan to help you should have diagnostic signs of liver stagnation. If your headaches are just from the sinuses, then the change may be minimal. What else have you done? What is your diet like?

Personally I tend to use a formula like Te Xiao Bi Min Gan Wan which is great for allergy issues overall and then use a rub called aru balm which is a Tibetan medicine balm good for headaches, etc. I rub it into the forehead, taiyang and the back of the neck 1-2x/day. This combination works quite well in many cases.

All that said it can take awhile for these issues to resolve completely particularly when people have surgery. The combination of years of irritation to the tissue along with scar tissue can be difficult to settle down entirely. Personally, I&#39ve seen mixed results with Bi Yan Wan as you are finding compared to the combination above. Although I do use it on some patients and it can be very helpful. And a little xiao yao wan may be ok as well along with that so long as your underlying diagnosis supports it. Other diagnostic patterns such as liver fire or spleen yang deficiency (as examples), that could be involved would require different approaches and herbs entirely.


Hi Chad, thanks for responding! My diet is pretty good, I cut out the majority of sweets, I drink pretty much water or seltzer only (however coffee in the mornings), very minimal fruits and vegetables though but otherwise normal meals (no fast food whatsoever). I workout 3 times a week and am active. As far as what else I&#39ve done, if you mean for headaches, I use a air purifier when I sleep, netti pot occasionally, etc.

I actually purchased the Te Xiao Bi Min Gan Wan myself and began taking it for a few days when my acupuncturist gave me the Bi Yan Pian so I switched. Based on what you are saying I am going to go back and try the Te Xiao Bi Min Gan Wan for a week or two as I initially was going to do and see what happens, perhaps I will have better luck.

After looking at your links for liver stagnation or spleen yang deficiency, I do not think that the description fits my patterns. However, the link for liver fire is spot on. In my research, I completed a questionaire in Hadady&#39s "Asian Health Secrets" and scored pretty high in Earth and Wind Heat (which I believe the Wood supports the liver fire pattern). Is there a better herb for this you would recommend to take along with the Te Xiao Bi Min Gan Wan?

I will DEFINITELY be ordering the aru balm from you this week as well as another bottle of Te Xiao Bi Min Gan Wan. It&#39s getting frustrating feeling like the herbs are working and then feeling like they are not, hopefully this will help more. The more I read and learn about Chinese herbs the more I feel this is the better approach as opposed to living on claritan or zyrtek my whole life.

Thanks for your time on this, I really appreciate it. There are not many sites like this, or doctors willing to help people out.


As you point out - for allergies, and many other things, Chinese Medicine generally offers a better road towards resolution of your issues instead of managing them - but it can take time. If the liver fire symptoms seem more appropriate you could either do Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan which is an enhanced version of xiao yao wan which clears more heat or a more specific formula for liver fire like long dan xie gan wan.

That said some of these formulas start to get a little strong so it really would be best if your current practitioner either agrees with your assumptions or you see another one who takes a different approach. It&#39s no judgement to your current practitioner at all... sometimes people just need a different approach.

For your diet that is good that you are leaving out the sweets. The other main things are to limit dairy, particularly drinking milk. Limit raw and cold foods, particularly salads. And try to avoid eating in a rush or too late at night. An article that I wrote awhile back about allergies has some other advice.


Thanks so much Chad. I&#39m going to try the long dan xie gan wan along with theTe Xiao Bi Min Gan Wan and see how that works. I&#39ve definitely been limitiing dairy as well, actually I usually only have it now with my coffee.

Thanks again, I&#39ll let you know in a few weeks how it goes!!


I am not a herbal prescriber so, cannot comment on what you are taking. However, I have treated quite a few people with long history of sinus problems, with great success. Also, I do have to echo what has been said - it can take a long time to properly &#39fix&#39.

There are a number of factors in your case that need to be taken into considration.

1) You have had this for what you say is pretty much your entire life. Generally speaking, the longer someone has experienced a problem the longer it takes to treat (although there are exceptions).

2) You have had lots of antibiotics. In Chinese Medicine, this creates a whole set of problems of their own, and that needs to be treated, too.

3) Again, any surgery can create its own specific problems that need treating. Quite how it affects people has to be assessed individually, and treated accordingly.

4) Often, the results are seasonal, in that it can take a full run through the seasons before sinusitis leaves the system. Most of my sinus patients have been of the Wood constitution (corresponding to Spring), which often meant they needed to have treatment in Winter before their seasonal type finds its full power.

It is complex, and, as with many conditions, cannot always be diagnosed from a distance. It sounds as if your practitioner is trying various combinations to see what works for you. Stick with it. It&#39s hard when you get early good results then a relapse of sorts but, it will come right eventually. It&#39s got to be better than what you have had to suffer, after all.

Good luck!


Hi Chad. I followed your advice and have been feeling a lot betterm, thank you so much!!! For me, the Te Xiao Bi Min Gan Wan works really good, I can tell that my allergies have been in check b/c the pollen counts are still massive here and I haven&#39t been feeling half as bad as I was. Plus, the Tibetan bam is a gem, that stuff works really good.

The only question is how long can I take this formula for? I know most herbs are not damaging to the liver, per se, but just want to make sure. Unforutnately, my issues usually last throughout the summer....


Yes, I really like that formula and clinically have seen it work wonders on a very consistent basis. It&#39s a really well balanced formula that can be taken for quite awhile without any issues. That said, over time your need for it should be minimized. Keep in mind that even though many of the herbal formulas are used for the same symptomatic relief as their western counterparts, they are, over time, working to truly resolve the underlying issues. Usually with chronic issues we might do something like the following: Start with 5 pills 2-3/x day, then when symptoms have been minimized for a couple weeks go to 5 pills 2x/day - then go to just per needed usage... Glad you are feeling better!

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