Yi Guan Acupuncture and Chinese Herbalism is proud to offer our own line of herbal medicinal teas designed to taste good and be good for you. Today we’d like to present Northwest Passage, an herbal decongestant for relief of seasonal allergy symptoms.


This tea is the classic preparation of Cang Er Zi San, created in the 13th century and in continual effective use since then. It is named after one of its chief herbs, cang er zi, or xanthium fruit. The formula’s herbal actions are to disperse wind, unblock the nose, and alleviate pain. The other chief herb in magnolia flower and, like xanthium fruit, works to disperse wind and dampness, particularly of the nasal passages. In Chinese medicine, among other things wind refers to symptoms the come on quickly brought in from the external. Dampness, in this case, refers to the retained fluid and mucous in the frontal sinus. This accumulation of fluid causes pressure which results in frontal headaches, as well as the blockage of the nasal passages, making it difficult to breath cleanly.


Though in use for centuries, this formula is relatively new to Western pharmacologic study. At this time, it is not fully known what the full complement of active compounds are in this formula. Clinical outcome studies verify the classical known ability to clear the nasal passages in cases of perennial allergic rhinitis. Other studies elucidate the Western pharmacological mechanism of action. One study showed that the formula, by inhibition of cytokine release, modulates mast cell sensitivity, mast cells being the source of histamine, the chemical responsible for allergy symptoms. Other studies demonstrated the cytokine modulating properties of the chief herbs.


Stuffy nose? Nasal congestion? Sinus headache? This mixture disperses “wind”, unblocks the nose and alleviates pain. For those with chronic seasonal allergy problems this is the tea to help clear the passages as you negotiate your way through allergy season. Combine it with out Windbreaker tea for a stronger effect to clear and boost your immune system. As with all of our teas, it is sold as a finely ground powder, and not as loose tea leaves or coarsely ground leaves. This caffeine-free tea is not steeped in a tea bag and later removed, like jasmine tea. But it is dissolved in the water and ingested with the beverage, similar to matcha tea. Add 3 grams of the powder (or 1-2 teaspoons) to a cup of warm water and enjoy!

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Interested in other medicinal teas or herbal remedies? Contact Dr. Perez at his office, located just off of Bee Caves Road, for more information or to place an order.

Article Sources:

Treatment of perennial allergic rhinitis using Shi-Bi-Lin, a Chinese herbal formula, J Ethnopharmacol . 2009 Feb 25;122(1):100-5.

Effects of the Chinese herbal formula Shi-Bi-Lin on cytokine release from the human mast cell line, Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol . 2005 Jul;95(1):79-85.

The effects of Fructus Xanthii extract on cytokine release from human mast cell line (HMC-1) and peripheral blood mononuclear cells, Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol . 2008;30(3):543-52.

Chemistry and bioactivity of Flos Magnoliae, a Chinese herb for rhinitis and sinusitis, Curr Med Chem . 2008;15(16):1616-27.

Traditional Uses, Botany, Phytochemistry, Pharmacology, Pharmacokinetics and Toxicology of Xanthium strumarium L.: A Review, Molecules . 2019 Jan 19;24(2):359.