Ligusticum (chuan xiong) is a popular herb in Chinese medicine. While the root and rhizomes have therapeutic properties, ligusticum is also used for flavoring and fragrance due to its pungent and warm qualities. Ligusticum’s properties are well suited for autumn and ailments that typically occur during the change of seasons.
Ligusticum is featured is the formula chuan xiong cha tiao san or “ligusticum chuan xiong powder to be taken with green tea”. The Chinese Medicine Materia Medica specifies this formula for exterior disorders with head and neck symptoms. Exterior disorders affect the most yang aspects of the body. In the perspective of Chinese medicine, the head and neck are located furthest from the earth and therefore the most yang. Wind-heat or wind-cold disorders often manifest in the head and neck. The common symptom profile is headache with chills and fever, dizziness, and nasal congestion.
From a western medical slant, chuan xiong cha tiao san can be seen as a formula that treats conditions such as upper respiratory infection, migraine headache, tension headache, neurogenic headache and acute and chronic sinusitis. Ligusticum helps to promote healthy bloodflow and relieve pain. Many Chinese medicine practitioners also prescribe Ligusticum as part of an individualized formula to treat irregular menses, migraine headache and infertility.