Chinese medicine’s 3 Steps to Prevent Cold & Flu
by: Jessica Fritz, L.Ac/Owner Wholistic Acupuncture
Step 1: Prevent!
Chinese medicine is a great preventative medicine for escaping cold and flu season. The key word is “preventative”. Acupuncture treatments can also help shorten the life of an existing viral or bacterial infection, but prevention is a better, happier option. Acupuncture treatments strengthen your “wei qi” which translates as “protective energy”. This unique energy is your body’s first line of defense against cold and flu viruses. Eating irregularly, emotional stress, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, etc. can weaken this protective qi, so choosing healthier options and getting regular treatments will give you an edge against getting sick.
Step 2: Take Your Herbs
Chinese herbal medicine is an integral aspect of Chinese medicine and many of the herbal formulas for cold and flu work incredibly well – particularly if taken (you guessed it) as a preventative. If you are around others who are sick or start to develop a sore throat or congestion that is the optimal time to take herbs. The following herbal formulas are the most commonly prescribed for colds or flu:
- Yin Chiao (aka yin qiao) is a pill form combining ten herbs that work together to clear “wind heat” or “heat toxins.” This herbal formula temporarily boosts your immunity. It also helps when you start to have symptoms like headache or sore throat.
- Ban Lan Gen Tea is an herbal beverage containing a combination of southern Isatis root, dandelion and viola. Drinking this helps to clear toxic heat and minimizes the effects of colds and flu. These herbal granules also contain cane sugar to sweeten the taste – so this is contraindicated for people with diabetes.
Step 3: Relax your Mind/Move your Body
Daily exercise and mindful walking is a wonderful way to start every day. Even in the winter, bundling up and going for a walk in the morning is relaxing, energizing and acclimates your body and mind to the seasons – which improves your balance with nature, and thus your immunity. It is also beneficial to do a Yang (active) and Yin (restful) activity daily for greater balance.