Video of TCM herbal prescriptions courtesy of YouTube.
As we all know, this is cold and flu season. A visit to your neighborhood pharmacy or retailer will present you with dozens of choices to cure what ails you. Or you may have a time-tested remedy of your own. But what about an alternative approach? Let’s see what Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) tells us about colds and flu.
Two Types of Colds
In TCM, a cold is explained by the absorption of too much wind by the body. In the Chinese system, there are two types of colds caused by pathogens that invade the bodily defenses:
- Development of a fever.
- Bodily chills.
- Sinus congestion with a clear discharge.
- Upper body stiffness and headaches.
“For example, when the symptoms include strong chills, inability to sweat, wheezing, and stiff neck, the classic and ancient remedy is Ephedra Decoction (Ma Huang Tang). The chief herb in this formula is Ephedra (ma huang). It also contains cinnamon twig, apricot seeds, and licorice. Ephedra is never used by itself in Chinese herbal therapy; it is always part of a formula, often combined with licorice (as in Ephedra Decoction), which tones down its harsh nature. Ephedra, used alone, is very dangerous, as it can raise blood pressure. Do not use this formula if you have heart disease or hypertension. And do not exceed the recommended dosage.
For symptoms of wind cold with headache and nasal congestion as the chief symptoms, the classic formula is Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao Wan, with green tea, which moves the action of the formula to the head area.” (1)
- A fever that is more prevalent than chills.
- Sore throat and headaches.
- Dry cough with yellow discharge.
“For wind heat, Chinese doctors typically prescribe herbal formulas containing chrysanthemum flowers, mulberry leaf, mint, peppermint, honeysuckle, forsythia buds, burdock seed, and licorice.
Numerous formulas are available in Chinese Medicine to treat the many variations of this condition. The most commonly used is a formula called Yin Qiao San. It is used for treating influenza, tonsillitis, and the common cold, is available as the patent formula Yin Qiao lie nu Pian.” (2)
OTC Chinese Option
Cold Signoff TM (Yin Qiao Jie Du Wan) is a product sold by ActiveHerb.com to prevent colds and influenza. You may find many herbal remedies on this web site, and learn more about Chinese alternatives to Western ailments.
“In a clinical study involving 1480 people, only 2.6% of people who took Yin Qiao Jie Du Wan for 6 weeks developed flu whereas 17.55% people in the control group developed flu. We recommend to use Cold SignoffTM for prevention of colds or flu when an outbreak occurs in the community, the family or the working places.” (3)
Acupuncture and Acupressure
The art of Acupuncture can alleviate cold and flu symptoms, and also hasten the body’s natural immunity against future attacks. There is also an acupuncture point that can be manually massaged to provide relief:
“Acupuncture points along the lung and large intestine meridians are often used as they activate the immune function in the body.
The most important acupuncture point in treating the common cold is Large Intestine 4. This point is located in the web between the thumb and index finger. This point is very effective for this condition, since it suppresses pain and relieves exterior conditions. Patients frequently experience quick relief when the point is needled or massaged.” (4)
(1, 2, and 4). Holistic Online: Chinese Medicine for Cold.