Seasonal Formula for Allergies

Julie M. Goss, L.Ac., MAcOM,

Ageless-Acupuncture LLC

Cang Er Zi San (Xanthium Powder)

Cang Er Zi                

Xin Yi Hua

Bai Zhi          

Bo He            

Preparation:  grind the herbs into a fine powder and take in 6g doses with a tea made from Bulbus Allii Fistulosi (Cong Bai) and green tea.

Indications include biomedical-defined disorders:

•  acute or chronic sinusitis

•  acute, chronic, or allergic rhinitis

Copious, purulent, and foul-smelling nasal discharge, nasal obstruction, dizziness, frontal headache, a normal or yellow tongue coating, and a floating, rapid pulse.

This condition is known as profuse nasal discharge (bi yuan) and is caused by wind-heat attacking the head.  The profuse, foul-smelling nasal discharge, yellow tongue coating and rapid pulse reflect the presence of heat.  The acute attack with copious discharge, frontal headache, dizziness, and floating pulse reflect the presence of wind.

Bi Yuan (Deep-Source Nasal Congestion)

This condition is also known as nao lou (brain leak) in Chinese, is a commonly observed rhinological (pertaining to the nose) disease characterized by turbid fishy-smelling nasal discharge, stuffy nose and impairment or complete loss of smell.  In Western medical diagnosis, this is refered to as acute and chronic sinusitis and chronic rhinitis.

Etiology and Pathogenesis

Deep-source nasal congestion and discharge is categorized according to repletion (excess) and vacuity (deficiency).  Repletion patterns are usually caused by invasion of external wind-heat or external wind-cold that transforms to heat.  These evils can enter the lung, ultimately obstructing the nasal orifice.  Other excess etiologies include stagnation of Qi following emotional upset, which transforms into heat that accumulates in the gallbladder; and internal damp-heat of the spleen and stomach caused by improper diet and eating habits.  Repletion patterns are usually acute and of short duration.

Vacuity (deficiency) patterns are either due to lung vacuity cold or to spleen Qi vacuity.  These patterns are of long duration and respond poorly to treatment.

ANALYSIS OF FORMULAThe chief herbs, Cang Er Zi and Xin Yi Hua unblock the nasal passages and are frequently used in treating profuse nasal discharge.  Deputy, Bai Zhi, releases the exterior and opens up the orifices, disperses wind-dampness, and promotes the discharge of pus.  The other deputy, Bo He (Herba Menthae Haplocalcis), releases Wind-Heat from the exterior and clears the eyes and head.

COMMENTARY::  Profuse nasal discharge usually appears after an unresolved case of the common cold.  With the appropriate presentation, this formula may be used in treating acute or chronic sinusitis and acute, chronic, or allergic rhinitis.


* For more pronounced heat in the Lungs, add Sang Bai Pi and Di Gu Pi and Huang Qin

* For very copious and purulent nasal discharge, add Jin Yin Hua


Individual Herbs used in the formula of 

Cang Er Zi Wan 

Cang Er Zi (Xanthium fruit; Cochelbur fruit)- this is a pungent, bitter, warm, slightly toxic fruit that enters the therapeutic meridian of the Lung.  It acts to open the aperture of the nose; to dispel wind and dampness (Anti-rheumatic); to relieve pain and itchiness.  It has long been indicated for allergic rhinitis, nasosinusitis with headache and running nose, chronic rhinitis.  This herb can also be used for Rheumatic arthritis (RA) or chronic lumbago (low back pain).  And finally, it has been used in cases of Leprosy, pruritus (itch) of the skin.   C/I:  Do not use for a person with headache or arthritic pain due to anemia (blood deficiency).

Bai Zhi (Angelica root)-  this is a pungent and warm root which enters the therapeutic meridian of the Lung and Stomach.  It dispels wind and other pathogenic factors from the body(Diaphoretic); it helps to discharge pus and to reduce swelling; and it will help to alleviate pain and headache.  Common indications of when to use this herb include:  Frontal headache, supra-orbital (above the eye) neuralgia (acute paroxysmal pain radiating along the course of one or more nerves); Rhinitis (inflammation of the nasal mucus membrane), nasosinusitis (inflammation of nasal sinuses); Boils, carbuncles and skin disease.   C/I:  For a person with stagnant heat and fire in the body caused by deficiency of Yin.

Xin Yi Hua (Magnolia flower)- this is a pungent and warm flower that enters the therapeutic meridian of the Lung and stomach.  It acts to disperse wind and cold and to open the nasal orifice.  Clinical cases when this is indicated include:  Stuffy nose, headache, running nose; Rhinitis, nasosinusitis.   C/I:  Do not use in people with hyperactive fire symptoms due to Yin deficiency.

Bo He (Mentha; Peppermint)-  this is a pungent and cool herb that enters the therapeutic meridian of the Lung and liver.  It acts to dispel wind and heat, clear the head and eyes and to promote the eruption of measles; to relieve the stagnation of liver Qi.  Clinical uses include:  Common cold caused by wind and heat; Headache, pharyngitis (inflammation of the pharynx- located from the back of the nasal cavity and mouth to the esophagus), conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva- located in the mucus membrane that lines the inner surface of the eyelids) ; Initial stage of measles; Fullness sensation in the chest and costal region.   C/I:  Do not use for a person with depletion of blood by the heat caused by Yin deficiency; with exuberance of liver Yang; with spontaneous sweating.

[C/I - Contraindicated]

© studiodowney 2012