PREVENTION & TREATMENT OF COLDS & FLU
Over the centuries, traditional medical practitioners have used herbs to ward off infections and relieve cold and flu symptoms. But which of these herbs are most effective? Most appropriate? Most safe? Which are used to prevent colds and flu and which relieve symptoms?
Using herbal formulas to prevent and treat colds and flu is one of the best-developed and most successful aspects of traditional Chinese medicine. Specific treatment practices and formulas have been handed down unbroken from the earliest schools to the modern universities of China.
PREVENTING COMMON COLDS & FLU
In Chinese medicine, prevention of colds and flu is addressed by tonifying the organ system (the physical and energetic aspects of the organ) most affected by what are called in the medicine, "external wind attacks" (e.g., wind cold attack or wind heat attack). In the case of colds and flu, that would be the Lungs. Additionally, those organ systems that help build a person's defense against external attacks will be strengthened. That would include those organs that contribute to building the immune system including the Lungs, Spleen and Kidneys (perhaps, even the Liver). Lastly, if a person has pre-existing conditions that are exacerbated by contracting a cold or flu, such as asthma or other respiratory diseases, correcting imbalances in those areas will also be addressed.
The best time to start preventive measures is long before the cold/flu season. For most people, that would be in early fall. However, it's never too late to start a prevention program. For some people it would be advisable to start a prevention program in August. Such cases would be those with respiratory diseases, compromised immune systems, and those who have a history of easily contracting colds or flu.
Top Antiviral Herbs in Chinese Medicine
Huang Qi - Astragalus
Effective Herbal Formulas in Chinese Medicine
Deficiency Pattern: Most people with chronic illness fall into the Deficiency category. They are the targets of cold and flu during every seasonal change and in every flu season. Their energy is low, their immune systems are weak, and they have trouble recovering from prolonged illness. Women with a Deficiency condition often catch a
cold before every menstrual cycle. When Deficiency-pattern people are hit by cold or flu, they should use specific formulas to boost immune system:
Wind-Heat Pattern: Symptoms of the Wind-Heat pattern include: fever; headache; sweating; a running nose with yellowish-colored mucus; dry mouth; thirst; sore throat; productive coughing with thick yellowish phlegm; a thin, yellow tongue coating; and a floating and rapid pulse. Cold and Flu Formula (Yin Qiao San) is one of the most popular herbal formula to treat the Wind-Heat pattern:
Wind-Cold Pattern: Symptoms of Wind-Cold pattern include: aversion to cold; mild fever; absence of sweat; chest congestion; sneezing; running nose with clear mucus; itching throat, or a cough with clear mucus; a thin, white tongue coating; and a tight pulse.
Among others, Cinnamon Decoction (Gui Zhi Tang), Minor Blue Dragon Decoction (Xiao Qing Long Tang), and Cnidium and Tea Formula (Chuan Qiong Cha Tiao San) are also widely used: