Natural Treatments for Nosebleed
By Dr. Mao Shing Ni
NOSEBLEED, OR EPISTAXIS, as it is known medically, though alarming in appearance, is a relatively benign condition that affects over 45 million Americans. Nosebleeds often appear during the dry and cold autumn and winter months and can be caused by common colds, sinus infections, allergies, excessive use of nasal sprays, environmental irritants, and injuries. Hypertension, drug use, and taking over the counter medicines can also cause nosebleeds. The nasal cavities are lined with millions of tiny blood vessels, and they can bleed when injured. Most of the blood is released through the nostrils, but some can escape down the throat, causing an upset stomach. Acute nonstop or chronic nosebleeds require a visit to an ear, nose, and throat specialist for cauterization to stop the bleeding.
In Chinese medicine, bleeding has many origins. Nosebleeds can result from pathogenic heat in the blood, sinus infections, and spleen network weakness that leaves you deficient in bioflavonoids and prone to weakened blood vessels. When aggravated by anger, frustration, and bitterness the liver energy can flare upward and cause nosebleed. This is closely associated with nosebleeds caused by high blood pressure. An unhealthy diet can produce heat in the stomach, which manifests with gum inflammation and nosebleeds. In acute cases, I try to stop the bleeding with topical and oral herbal therapy coupled with acupuncture to lower pressure in the blood vessels. In chronic cases the best approach is to identify and address the underlying condition, whether the culprit is hypertension, allergies, or lifestyle. Here are some recommendations I give to my patients. Consult with your physician immediately if you feel weak, dizzy, or faint, or if chest pains accompany the nosebleed.
- Diet for Nosebleeds
- Home Remedies for Nosebleeds
- Daily Vitamin Supplements for Nosebleeds
- Herbal Therapy for Nosebleeds
- Exercise for Nosebleeds
- Acupressure for Nosebleeds
- Nosebleeds: Advice on what to avoid
DIET FOR NOSEBLEEDS
- A generally healthy and balanced diet with smaller and more frequent meals and ample amounts of complex carbohydrates and wholesome protein sources is a good start. Favor celery, yarrow flower (make tea), bananas, sunflower seeds, honey, soy products, mung beans, bamboo shoots, seaweed, whole grains including buckwheat, and green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and kale. Dandelion greens, chrysanthemum flowers and cassia seeds (make tea), lotus root, and hawthorn berries (make tea) are also a good addition. Drink at least 8 cups of warm or room temperature water a day.
- Avoid overeating and foods that are greasy, deep-fried, barbecued, or spicy. Alcohol and coffee dehydrate and produce dryness; they also induce heat and can cause a rise of yang energy to the head, potentially contributing to nosebleeds.
HOME REMEDIES FOR NOSEBLEEDS
- Soak your feet in a hot foot bath for 20 minutes to guide the heat down and stop the bleeding.
- Apply ice packs to the forehead just above the nose and also on the back of the head just inside the back hairline. Apply pressure at the bridge of the nose until the bleeding stops.
- Insert a cotton ball soaked in witch hazel into the nostrils to stop bleeding. Witch hazel acts as an astringent.
DAILY SUPPLEMENTS FOR NOSEBLEEDS
- Supplementing with beta-carotene (800 milligrams) and vitamin A (200 IU) supports the immune system’s repair capabilities.
- Vitamin B complex, especially B6 (50 milligrams), supports vascular health.
- Vitamin C (1,000 milligrams) and K (200 milligrams) can help improve clotting time and prevent excess bleeding.
HERBAL THERAPY FOR NOSEBLEEDS
Herbs can be found in health food or vitamin stores, online, and at the offices of Chinese medicine practitioners. Herbs should be used according to individual needs; consult with a licensed practitioner for a customized formulation. To learn more about the herbs listed here, go to www.askdrmao.com.
- Yarrow and liverwort tea can help prevent nosebleed.
- For nosebleed associated with colds, respiratory infections, and sinusitis, mulberry, chrysanthemum, imperata, reeds, mouton, gardenia, apricot seeds, platycodon, mint, and licorice are traditionally used.
- For nosebleed due to alcohol abuse, poor diet, or malnutrition, herbs traditionally used include rehmannia, ophiopogonis, anemarrhena, achyranthes, gardenia, and mouton.
- For nosebleed resulting from stress and emotional upset, herbs traditionally used include gentiana, rehmannia, gardenia, biota, cyathulae, alismatis, plantaginis, skullcap, mouton, angelica, and licorice.
EXERCISE FOR NOSEBLEEDS
During a nosebleed, stop all exercise. Otherwise, a regimen of daily qi gong and tai chi combined with moderate cardiovascular exercise is helpful.
Stress can increase episodes of nosebleed, so I teach my patients this stress release meditation. Follow the simple steps below.
- Sit comfortably or lie down on your back. Slow your respiration to deep, abdominal breathing. Say the word “calm” in your mind with every exhalation. You’ll be visualizing the relaxation of a body part and releasing tension with every exhalation. Trace the following 3 pathways outlined below.
- Start at the top of your head. Inhale, and then exhale and visualize your scalp muscles relaxing. Say “calm” in your mind. Repeat this, saying the word with each body part as you move down through your face, throat, chest, abdomen, thighs, knees, calves, ankles, and feet. When you’ve relaxed your feet, visualize all the tension in your body leaving through your toes in the form of dark smoke.
- Next start at the temple region of your head. This pathway focuses on the sides and upper extremities. Inhale, and then exhale and visualize your temple muscles relaxing. Say the word “calm” in your mind. Repeat this, saying the word with each body part as you move down through your jaw, the sides of your neck, shoulders, upper arms, elbows, forearms, wrists, and hands. Once you’ve relaxed your hands, visualize all the tension leaving your body through your fingertips in the form of dark smoke.
- The final pathway begins on the back of your head. This path relaxes the back of your body. Repeat the breathingvisualization- word routine, as above, as you go from the back of your neck to your upper back, middle back, lower back, back of thighs, calves, and heels. Then focus on the acupoint Bubbling Spring (KID-1), on the soles of your feet, for 1 minute.
Practice this meditation for at least 15 minutes twice a day.
ACUPRESSURE FOR NOSEBLEEDS
- Find the acupoint Valley of Harmony (LI-4), at the web between your right thumb and index finger. Apply steady pressure with your left thumb until you feel soreness. Hold for 2 minutes. Repeat on the left hand.
- Locate the acupoint Upper Star (DU-23), in the center of the upper forehead, two finger-widths inside the front hairline. Apply steady pressure with your index or middle finger until you feel soreness. Hold for 2 minutes.
NOSEBLEEDS: WHAT TO AVOID
- Exposure to dry, dusty and cold conditions by using a warm mist humidifier at home or work. Try to avoid getting a cold or the flu and do not overuse nasal sprays, as they can irritate the nasal passages.
- Stress and overexertion, and keep your blood pressure under control.