How to treat nosebleeds with TCM

Puzzled by junior’s frequent nosebleeds? Learn the cause, plus, how to fix the problem ― from a TCM perspective.

Nosebleeds are common among many children but are usually not serious in nature. Western medicine often cites dryness, irritation, and minor trauma through acts like nose picking as a root cause. Other causes include conditions like sinusitis and allergic rhinitis.

But in Traditional Chinese Medicine, a deficiency in the function of a major organ can give rise to nosebleeds, says Lim Lay Beng, a TCM physician at YS Healthcare. She elaborates:

-The lungs These control the respiratory system and are linked to the nose. “When the lungs are weak ― possibly due to immature development in premature babies, or chronic lung disease ― external factors such as the wind, heat and dryness can attack them,” says Lim. This triggers “bright red nosebleeds or nasal mucus with bright red blood”, as well as a burning sensation in the nasal passage, a dry cough and mouth and fever. 

-The stomach When the stomach is weak, because of things like over-feeding, excessive spicy food or insufficient sleep, there can be stomach heat. This heat can follow the stomach meridian (the pathway that runs from the bottom of the eye, down the front of the body, down the leg to the tip of the second toe) to the nose and trigger nasal bleeding of a bright or dark red colour. “This can come with dryness in the nasal passages, bad breath, thirst and constipation,” Lim notes.

“When the liver is weak, possibly due to immature development, stress, anger or depression, the liver qi will stagnate and create liver heat and fire.”

-The spleen Regulates blood circulation. When the spleen qi (physiological function) is weak, persistent nosebleeds that are pink in colour can happen. The bleeding can be heavy or light, the sufferer is pale and complains of fatigue, poor appetite and loose stools.

-The liver “When the liver is weak, possibly due to immature development, stress, anger or depression, the liver qi will stagnate and create liver heat and fire,” says Lim. This heat and fire, she explains, can trigger nasal bleeding in a deep red colour. This is accompanied by dizziness, headaches, bloodshot eyes, anxiety, irritability, and a bitter taste in the mouth.

-The kidneys The kidney yin and yang (the two opposing forces in the universe) is the root of yin and yang of the whole body. Lim explains, “Kidney yin moistens and nourishes the whole body, while kidney yang provides warmth and promotes all of the body’s organs and tissues.” So, when the kidney yin is insufficient, it will impact the liver yin and trigger intermittent and mild nosebleeds that are red in colour. It can be accompanied by dizziness, tinnitus (the perception of ringing in the ears), palpitations, hot flushes and night sweat.

How are nosebleeds treated by TCM? We find out next…