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Fight the Flu

The common cold has many forms in traditional Chinese medicine. The most common forms fall under the categories of wind cold and wind heat. As is the nature of exterior disorders involving wind, the pattern may change very quickly, necessitating a change in treatment strategy over the course of an illness. In all the forms a cold, as well as a cough or the flu, may take, prompt treatment brings the most effective results. The longer one waits to treat an infectious disease, the longer it takes to clear the pathogen.

Wind Cold pattern exhibits the following symptoms:

  • fever

  • chills (these are worse than the fever)

  • inability to get warm

  • nasal or sinus congestion with clear mucus

  • cough with clear mucus

  • stiff neck and shoulders

  • occipital headache (back of head)

  • a slower-than-normal pulse that is more easily felt at the surface.

Wind Heat pattern exhibits the following symptoms:

  • the fever is worse than the chills

  • the pulse is faster than normal

  • swollen and sore throat with headache and irritability

  • If there is a cough, it is usually dry, with occasional expectoration of yellow mucus

Using Herbs to Treat the Common Cold
Diaphoretic (sweating) therapy is especially helpful in this condition, since it warms the body and pushes the pathogen out through the pores.
For symptoms of wind cold with headache and nasal congestion as the chief symptoms, the classic formula is Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao Wan, typically taken with green tea (cha), which moves the action of the formula to the head area. Green tea has been found recently to have strong antioxidant properties, scavenging the free radicals involved in aging and disease.

Numerous formulas treat the many variations of this condition, but the most famous is Yin Qiao San. This highly effective treatment for wind heat symptoms, appearing in such conditions as influenza and tonsillitis as well as the common cold.

Using Acupuncture to Treat the Common Cold

Acupuncture and moxibustion can provide some immediate relief from cold symptoms and help the body expel the pathogen much faster. Needles are typically inserted into points along the lung and large intestine meridians, which have demonstrated the ability to activate immune function. The most important acupuncture point in treating the common cold is Large Intestine 4 ("Adjoining Valleys"), which 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.

Typically, one or two acupuncture treatments and a week's course of herbal medicine are all that are required for colds. If the symptoms are recognized and treated early, it is possible to fight off a cold in a day or two with acupuncture treatment and herbs.

Other Elements of Treating the Common Cold

When treating cold or flu symptoms due to wind heat, the results are always more dramatic if the treatment begins at the earliest possible stage of the illness. It is important to get adequate rest, a vacation from sources of stress, and good nutrition in the form of soups and fresh juices. Sweets and stimulants (such as caffeinated beverages) cause a rapid progression in the severity of the illness since they tend to feed the pathogen.

Source: Bill Schoenbart & Ellen Shefi

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