It is important to mention first that the ingredients of Bi Yan Pian, a popular over-the-counter herbal medicine for rhinitis, may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. This name literally means “Nose Inflammation Pills” in Chinese. Just its name suggested, it is formulated mainly for relieving runny nose and nasal or sinus congestion no matter it is caused by common cold or flu, allergies, sinusitis, or rhinitis. And it is usually available in 120 Tablets per box, sometimes sugar-coated.
What is Bi Yan Pian?
According to traditional Chinese medicine, this is a superficies-relieving formula that clears heat, detoxicates, ventilates lung, opens orifice, and reduces pain and swelling. For that reason, it is highly effective for acute and chronic sinusitis and allergic rhinitis due to wind pathogen accumulated in the lung. Typically, the tablets are sugar-coated or film-coated. When the coating is removed, they are brown, slightly aromatic and bitter.
As mentioned above, this combination formula of Chinese herbs may consist of different ingredients in different brands. For example, Biyan Pian, manufactured by Wuhan Zhonglian Pharmaceutical Group Co., Ltd., includes Cang Er Zi (Fructus Xanthii Sibirici), Xin Yi Hua (Flos Magnoliae Liliflorae), Fang Feng (Radix Saposhnikoviae Divaricatae), Lian Qiao (Fructus Forsythiae Suspensae), Ye Ju Hua (Flos Chrysanthemi Indici), Wu Wei Zi (Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis), Jie Geng (Radix Platycodi Grandiflori), Bai Zhi (Radix Angelicae Dahuricae), Zhi Mu (Rhizoma Anemarrhenae Asphodeloidis), Jing Jie (Herba Schizonepetae Tenuifoliae), Gan Cao (Radix Glycyrrhizae Uralensis), Huang Bo (Cortex Phellodendri), Ma Huang (Herba Ephedrae), and Xi Xin (Herba cum Radix Asari).
Among this prescription, Cang Er Zi and Xin Yi Hua are two main ingredients and they act to relieve exterior syndrome, dispel wind, open orifice, and stop pain; Fang Feng and Jing Jie relieve superficies, dispel wind, and eliminate dampness; Bai Zhi and Jie Geng disperse the lung, expel pus, and open orifice; Lian Qiao, Ye Ju Hua, Zhi Mu, and Huang Bo clear heat, detoxicate, and reduce swelling; Wu Wei Zi astringes lung and produces saliva; Gan Cao harmonizes the properties of other herbs.
How to use Biyan Pian?
Although it is an effective treatment for rhinitis, the treatment should still be based on syndrome differentiation. Or wrong medication administration may cause very serious consequences. For example, a 40-year-old woman with chronic rhinitis was experiencing dry nasal passages, and she decided to take Tong Qiao Biyan Pian after some other friends told her that this is a good treatment. It turned out that soon the symptom of chronic dry nose got worse and later she was diagnosed with atrophic rhinitis.
According to TCM practitioners, dry rhinitis indicates the patient has deficiency fire, which belongs to yin deficiency and should be treated with herbs that nourish yin for moistening dryness. Unfortunately, the mentioned drug belongs to aromatic drugs with effect of clearing dampness-heat. The result will inevitably fuel the loss of body fluids, worsen the dryness, and in the end accelerate nasal mucosal atrophy.
It is worth mentioning that the same drug can provide very satisfactory effect to the right patients. For example, another 20-year-old woman has experiencing nasal congestion and runny nose for more than a week due to a cold. After the examination, the doctor detected the red nasal turbinate, which indicated a subacute rhinitis due to access heat inside. After that, she was given the same prescription and cured in a week.
These two cases show that the choice of traditional Chinese patent medicine for rhinitis can be tricky. So, it is a good idea to visit a qualified TCM practitioner if the patients cannot decide for themselves.
Different Chinese patent medicines for treating rhinitis
Today, a dazzling array of traditional Chinese patent medicines for rhinitis is available at the pharmacy. It is worth mentioning that they may have totally different ingredients and indications.
1. Qianbai Biyan Pian. It applies to rhinitis patients of deficient type with dry nose, a fishy smell, itchy nose, burning sensation on nose, and yellow thick mucus. It works for persistent nasal obstruction and a duller sense of taste and smell too.
2. Xinyi Biyan Pian is good at dredging orifices. So, it is particularly suitable for patients with nasal obstruction.
3. Bi Yan Kang Pian. This is a compound preparation with chemical drug of chlorpheniramine and Chinese herbs of Guang Huo Xiang (Herba Pogostemonis), Cang Er Zi, E Bu Shi Cao (Herba Centipedae), and so on. It is more suitable for acute and chronic rhinitis, especially allergic rhinitis. Because it contains chlorpheniramine, use caution when driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery because drowsiness may occur.
4. Huo Dan Wan. It is more suitable for teenager with rhinitis because they tend to have excessive liver yang but deficient spleen yang. By the way, spleen deficiency can easily lead to an increase in thick nasal discharge. Since it mainly contains Huo Xiang (Patchouli, Agastache) and Zhu Dan Zhi (Fel Suis Scrofae Domesticae), it can aromatically transform dampness, release the exterior, and activate spleen. So, it is an ideal drug for adolescent sinusitis.