URTICARIA (HIVES) & Chinese Medicine
Updated: Feb 15
Hives present on the skin as red, itchy welts and are typically the immune system’s reaction to a variety of triggers. These can be food, medication, heat/ cold but also stress. The expression that someone is ‘giving you hives’ – is annoying - reflects that aspect quite nicely.
Usually, hives will go away after a short period of time but they can become chronic. It is important that you try to avoid whatever causes those hives and avoid scratching the affected area.
In Chinese medicine, as always, the nature of the pathogen has to be analysed thoroughly. How and when does the urticaria present?
Itch is part of a ‘Wind’ pathogen, while redness is ‘Heat’. So, an individualized herbal formula will have more Wind herbs if itching is predominant or more cooling herbs if redness is the main issue. If the cause is stress based, Qi (Energy) Stagnation has to be addressed, if generalized tiredness is a factor, then Qi and Blood deficiencies must be considered. Acupuncture and cupping also play an important part when treating Heat and Wind issues.