Chinese name: Bi Yan Pian (bee yahn pyen)
Also known as: Nose Inflammation Pills
Acute or chronic nasal congestion, allergies, runny nose due to common cold
Dispels wind cold or wind heat, clears the nasal passages
Bi Yan Pian is one of the more popular over-the-counter medicines. It is highly effective for nasal or sinus congestion as in the common cold, allergies, rhinitis, and sinusitis. The major herbal decongestants in this formula are magnolia flower (xin yi hua), Angelica dahurica (bai zhi), and Xanthium (cang er zi). These three herbs are effective individually, but their synergistic effect upon the nasal passages and sinuses is nothing short of remarkable.
After prescribing this remedy dozens of times over the years, the only side effect one experienced practitioner has seen is some dryness in the mouth and throat. This occurred in only two cases, and it was alleviated by decreasing the dose.
This example points to the need for assessing each case and prescribing an herbal remedy based on the individual's constitution. The individuals who experienced excessive dryness both had an underlying yin deficiency, which means that their body's ability to maintain a moist environment was impaired. Herbs that have a drying nature, as in this formula, tend to push that imbalance even further.
Bi Yan Pian can be used for sinus infections; it contains heat-clearing herbs such as Phellodendron (huang bai), forsythia (lian qiao), Anemarrhena (zhi mu), and wild chrysanthemum (ye ju hua). When treating an infection, it is best to be as aggressive as possible, since it can quickly progress to a more serious condition. For this reason, this patent formula is often combined with one that focuses more on clearing infections such as Chuan Xin Lian Antiphlogistic pills.
In addition, when treating any infection with herbs, it is essential to begin taking the herbs as early as possible, take them regularly until the infection is gone, and then continue them for a day or two after the symptoms are gone. This last step is important because if treatment is discontinued early, it is possible to kill off enough bacteria to alleviate symptoms while still leaving enough behind to multiply again. Once an infection has been partially cleared with herbs and allowed to come back, it is much more difficult to clear it with the same herbs in a second round of treatment.
Until recently, the disadvantage of using Bi Yan Pian has been the presence of artificial dyes in the tablet coating. Some of the batches also contained traces of Western over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. This disturbing issue has been resolved in the Plum Flower line of patent medicines. This product line is manufactured without any artificial colors, Western drugs, or adulterants. Eventually, most of the popular remedies will be available through Plum Flower.
Manufacturer: Plum Flower
Dosage: 3 to 4 pills, three times a day. Do not exceed the recommended dosage because this formula contains Xanthium, which is slightly toxic.
In the next section, learn about a soothing herbal cough syrup with a traditional Chinese formulation.
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