Chinese Medicine and Colds and Flu
Thursday, 11th May 2017
Winter is almost upon us and prevalence of colds and flus’ is on the rise. It seems general expectation is to just “solider on”, however pushing symptoms to the side can often prolong the illness. Lets take a look at some natural remedies for colds and flu.
In Chinese Medicine upper respiratory infections are thought of as ‘pathogenic Wind entering the body’. It is believed that ‘pathogenic Wind’ can be cleared with appropriate food, rest herbal medicine and timely acupuncture treatment. If left unattended to upper respiratory infections can develop into a bacterial infection and consequently a course of antibiotics in western society, something we all want to avoid! Here we have some tips for natural cold and flu management and prevention.
In Chinese herbal medicine there are volumes dedicated to the treatment of the common cold, or invasion of wind pathogens as it is otherwise known.
“Historically Wind was said to be the bearer of the ten thousand evils”, it disrupts our protective qi or defense barrier allowing pathogens (bacteria or viruses) to enter the body.
If you were sneezed on, rained on or were under a fan or air-conditioning for too long the bodies exterior defense mechanism can become weakened. If your general health is compromised, or the pathogen is particularly strong, it is at this point that you might start to develop cold and flu symptoms.
As is the nature of Wind, cold and flu symptoms may change very quickly necessitating a change in treatment strategy over the course of an illness. It is generally thought prompt treatment brings the most effective results. The longer one waits to treat an infectious disease, the longer it takes to clear the pathogen.
Early warning signs that your exterior defense is compromised
- Itchy ears
- Tight neck
- Dry or scratchy throat
- Aversion to wind and cold
If you recognize these symptoms please don’t ignore them! Try these first first aid recommendations instead.
First Aid Recommendations At This Point:
- DRINK hot lemon, ginger and honey tea.
- EAT a nourishing soup, stew or risotto made with plenty of chicken broth, fresh ginger, spring onion and garlic
- REST Get into bed early and rug up, try and induce a light sweat
- ACUPUNCTURE This is the most effective time for a treatment
- HERBAL MEDICINE The herbal formula widely recommended for the very first stages of a Wind invasion is surprisingly tasty. It’s full of cinnamon, ginger, dates and licorice
Early Symptoms of Cold or flu
- Runny or stuffy nose.
- Sore throat.
- Slight dry, non-productive cough.
- Nasal congestion.
- Body aches or a mild headache.
- Low-grade fever and/or chills.
This is the point that the symptoms start becoming more noticeable. The pathogen is still considered to be on the exterior of the body in Chinese Medicine and relatively easy to treat. Ignoring the symptoms, or pushing on through however can allow the pathogen to enter deeper into the body making it much harder to resolve.
First Aid Recommendations At This Point:
- Come in for a treatment and some herbal medicine quickly, if we can catch the pathogen while it is still in the exterior there is a really good chance of avoiding the illness.
- Take the day off and rest. Get into bed and rug up, try and induce a light sweat.
- Do an old fashioned steam inhalation with a little eucalyptus oil or a tsp of our Eucalyptus Rub added to hot water
- Drink hot lemon, ginger and honey tea.
- Eat a nourishing soup, stew or risotto made with plenty of chicken broth, fresh ginger, spring onion and garlic.
Full Symptoms of a Cold or Flu
- Very sore and swollen throat
- Cough becoming heavier and more productive
- Congestion with clear to yellow mucus
As the pathogen internalizes symptoms develop quickly and bacterial infection can develop. As the mucus congestion changes colour from clear to white to yellow to green you can see, and feel, the infection setting in.
Treatment Recommendations at this stage:
- Come in for a treatment and some herbal medicine. You’ll be needing something stronger at this point, but treatment will help you move through the illness much faster.
- Drink chrysanthemum, peppermint and ginger tea. Our Harmonizing Tea is excellent for this stage.
- Avoid wheat, diary and sugar. Eat plenty of chicken broth and soup.
- Jump into bed and stay there.
- Pop on some of our Eucalyptus Rub It’s great for chesty coughs and stuffy noses and is gentle enough to use on children. Simply rub into upper chest, back and feet.
- Try these acupressure points for sinus relief:
Prevention for the Common Cold
Prevention is always better than cure, these simple steps will help keep you well over the winter months.
- Stay warm. Grandma was right, it’s important to keep the chest, lower back, feet, head and nape of the neck well covered
- Stay out of air-conditioning and drafts
- Include plenty of bone broth into your diet
- Make sure you get adequate rest
- Incorporate regular, moderate exercise into you day
- Try this GINGER & DATE RICE PORRIDGE for breakfast – This recipe based on Chinese Medicines’ go to formula for very early stage cold and flu and is a lovely warming way to start the day