Runny Nose

Runny Nose - Rhinitis


A runny nose is scientifically termed rhinitis.   This condition has an irritation or inflammation of the inner nose with the mail symptom beeing a runny or dripping nose.  There are many different irritants which may cause a runny nose such as pollens, chemicals, bacteria and virus.  These irritants create inflammation within the nasal cavity causing excess amounts of mucus to be produced.  This Mucus follows gravity downwards and out the nose creating the "runny nose" or "nose dripping".   Depending on the viscosity of the mucus it may cause nasal congestion or "plugged nose"  or post nasal drip conditions. This condition is different than sinusitis.


These irrtants causing a runny nose or rhinitis commonly effect the ears, throat and eyes. This will lead commonly to sleep disturbances like snoring or difficult breathing.  


This section is broken into:

Acute Runny Nose  -  Chronic Runny Nose  -  Allergic Rhinitis  -  Atrophic Rhinitis


Acute Runny Nose

An acute runny nose can be caused by many different irritants or polutants.  It is often caused by pollens, dander or bacteria which the body over reacts too.  There are 2 common formulas used to cure an acute runny nose in traditional chinese herbal medicine. 


Acute Cold and Wind 

a clear mucus discharge running from the nose which is accompanied by slight chills and mild acheyness in the body.  There will be a dislike of the wind and slight flu like symptoms of fatigue.  

Herbal Formula: Xin Yi San


Acute Heat and Wind 

an acute runny nose which is slightly thick and has a yellow color to it.  This may be accompanied with a bacterial infection.  There will be a feverish feeling and a sore throat.  The patient will feel hot with possible slight sweating.

Herbal Formula: Cang Er Zi San + Sang Jue Yin

If throat is very sore add Niu Bang Zi


Chronic Runny Nose

A chronic runny nose can be caused by many different causes including house hold irritants (pain, mould, ..), medications, allergies such as pollens or animal dander and diet.  For herbal cures there are 3 different types of runny nose and each specific situation must be diagnosed properly.  Here are 3 examples:


Lung Insufficiency

A runny nose which is generally accompanied with weather changes like windy days, damp weather or extreme changes of weather.  As this is more of a chronic or recurring type rhinitis a pattern of when it occurs should be possible.    This person will catch colds easy and each cold has a clear, runny type of nasal drip. 

Herbal Formula: Cong Er Zi San add huang Qi Bai Zhu, Pei Lan


Spleen Insufficiency

This type of runny nose relates closely to our diet.  Certain foods will produce more mucus as well as some of us have mild allergies to foods which may cause sinus congestion.  If we have a very mild reaction to a food such as gluten this may cause a chronic runny nose or congestion and by eliminating that food from our diet, the runny nose will be cured.  In this type of pattern the patient will have a heavy body, distended mild headache, fatigue, foggy head or poor memory.  The following formulas are great for this condition but diet changes along with these formulas will give rise to long term changes.  

Herbal Formula: Shen Ling Bai Zhu San with Huo Xiang, Pei Lan


Stagnation of Qi and Blood:

In this type of case for runny nose it will be more of a thick discharge which can be either yellow, white or clear but in all cases there is nasal congestion.  This congestion will be relieved by physical activites such as running or walking or biking.  There will be dryness within the nose, throat and mouth.  There is often dry skin and sometimes pain in the nasal area.  

Herbal Formula: Tao Hong Si Wu Tang + modifications (Cang Er Zi, Xi Xin)



Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic runny nose can be of 2 types, seasonal or Perrenial.  Seasonal runny nose comes and goes with the seasons occuring most commonly during the pollen seasons and generally  will develop after 6years of age.  Perrenial runny nose occurs all year long and can occur in young children.  In either case the body is overreacting to a specific allergen like dust or pollen.  This is treated commonly similar to the above section of chronic runny nose with some slight changes.  There are 2 common patterns listed below:


Deficiency of Both Lung and Spleen

Common runny nose after certain foods such as gluten or dairy or exposure to pollens or mites.  The runny nose is generally short lived and not severe.  There will be recurrent colds, fatigue and possible digestive upset like bloating or loose stools. 

Herbal Formulas: Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang


Kidney Insufficiency

Runny nose which is directly related to weather.  Along with the nasal congestion there may be frequent or dribbling urination, whole body cold, low sex drive, cold feet, low back pain, knee weakness and poor memory.  

Herbal Formula: Jin Gui Shen Qi Wan    add - Bai Zhu and Pei Lan



Atrophic Rhinitis

This is a very different type of rhinitis.  There isn't much of a runny nose but there is lots of nasal congestion.  This is a dry type of rhinitis where the musus producing cells within the nose shrink and dissapear and decreases blood supply. The nose becomes clogged with thick foul smelling crusty mucus.  The mucus will be very dark in color and have a bad smell.  The patient will not smell this as they will have a poor sense of smell due to the lack of blood flow and dying nerves.  If not treated properly permanent damage may occur to ones smelling and tasting senses.  

A diagnosis from a medical doctor is recommended.  The following formulas may help you on your road to recovery and possible cure.  


Qi and Yin Insufficiency

nasal congestion with a painful nasal cavity and dry painful throat.  There will be a general sense of itchiness in the effected areas.  The patient will be slightly fatigued, feel warm or feverish at night, have dry skin, dry eyes and the chronic dontition of nasal congestion.  

Herbal Formula: Yang Yin Qing Fei Tang


Yin Deficiency of Both Lung and Kidney

A more severe type of nasal congestion than the above pattern.  There will be little or no runny nose but lots of dry discomfort and congestion in the nose.  The patient will be unable to smell or taste their food well,  they will be unable to smell the strong foul odour coming from their nose, headaches, poor memory, green or dark yellow dry chunks can be squeezed from the nose.  

Herbal Formula: Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang


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