Facial Flushing

Facial and chest blushing may be caused by the nervous system over producing stress hormones such as Cortisol and Adrenaline (adrenaline flushing). These stress hormones can increase blood flow and heat and to the skin resulting in flushing, this may also produce the sensation of heat or warmth around the area. When this occurs it is considered to be a nervous symptom of adrenal weakness.


  • Liver function
  • Food intolerances/ sensitivities/ allergies/ spicy foods/ preservatives
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Reactions to pharmaceutical medications
  • Emotions (embarrassment, nervousness or anger)
  • Skin disorders (rosacea)
  • Exercise
  • Leaky gut
  • Stress and poor adrenal function


High cortisol levels may also be a causative factor, especially if the heat is also present on the chest and neck area. Cortisol is a stress hormone which causes constriction of the blood vessels, heat and adrenaline to surge. If you eat and feel anxious or stressed this may be a factor you need to address also. If you have other nervous system disorders, strengthening your adrenals and nervous system may help the condition.


In Chinese Medicine it is suggested that any heat conditions present in the body can be related to the health of the liver. The liver is an organ of elimination and detoxification, if it is under pressure from allergies, diet, lifestyle then it may become congested. The organ then tries to speed up its role and this causes heat in the body, in Chinese Medicine they term it excess Liver Yang. If the heat occurs after eating it may be linked to food intolerance or sensitivities, decreased digestive capacity or leaky gut.


  • Cooling the blood down by drinking and eating cooling foods rather than heating foods may also help to reduce heat in the circulation and liver. Chinese Medicine uses the principles of food to help address specific complaints, for example if there is excess heat cooling foods can help to expel heat. Cooling foods (Yin foods) are vegetable juices, sprouts, cucumber, grapefruit, seaweed, melons, pears, beans, mint, herbal teas, yoghurt, broccoli, peppermint, barley, cauliflower, zucchini, watermelon, sage, lemon juice and brown rice. Heating foods (Yang foods) are tea, coffee, alcohol, pepper, ginger, coconut, onions, oranges, red meat, sugar, preservatives and spices. Consuming more cooling foods and less heating foods may help to take the edge off the problem for you
  • Avoid tea, coffee and caffeine containing beverages as these increase adrenal stress and cortisol (stress hormone) levels
  • Keep a food diary, this can be done each day by listing the foods you eat and note whether any symptoms occur. After a while a pattern may begin to emerge which shows the trigger foods
  • Decrease stimulants in your diet as these have a stimulating effect and may cause flushing, these foods are tea, coffee, alcohol and soft drinks.
  • Foods which are too Yang and should not be consumed with this condition are sugar, red meat, dairy, wheat, stimulants and spices


  • Avoid triggers (foods, allergic triggers, stress, alcohol)
  • Manage stress (consider practising yoga, meditation, reducing stressful work load, taking time out, nourishing exercise – swimming, walking)
  • Acupuncture may be beneficial to help improve nervous system energy and release excess heat from the liver and circulation
  • Consider having an allergy test as this will help to determine any foods you may be sensitive to
  • Consider doing a gentle liver and digestive cleanse as this may help to lighten the load on these organs and cool the body down


  • B Vitamin supplements may help the nervous system to have better integrity so it is not so reactive
  • Herbal medicines which help to reduce the production of cortisol in the adrenals are Sacred Basil, Withania, Passionflower and Siberian Ginseng
  • Support liver function which helps to cool the blood and remove wastes from the body, herbs which may be of benefit are Bupleurum, St Marys Thistle, Dandelion and Schizandra