The common cold is highly prevalent, especially during late fall and early winter. Many people gather indoors to escape the cold, only to then contract a cold from someone in the vicinity. Although there are no effective antivirals that cure the common cold, there are many remedies and herbs that can help combat symptoms. In fact, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) uses complementary therapies to help accelerate healing and regain internal balance.
What Is Traditional Chinese Medicine?
TCM originated in China and it’s a form of traditional medicine system that involves a series of complementary practices. Some of these practices include acupuncture, herbalism, massage, tai chi and qi gong, cupping, gua sha, and more. TCM follows three primary Chinese concepts:
- Yin and yang, the opposing life energies
- Qi, the energy that people believe to influence physical and mental processes
- Wu Xing, or the five elements theory
TCM considers the common cold to be an exterior syndrome, dividing it into three sections: the wind-cold type, the wind-heat type, and the summer heat dampness type. For thousands of years, TCM remedies successfully helped people combat the common cold. One thing of note is that these alternative remedies have been proven to be effective, convenient, and safe. Continue reading to learn more about how to combat the colds and flus with TCM.
Yin Qiao San
Many TCM practitioners commonly prescribe yin qiao san to help fight colds that involve chills, mild fever, and sore throat. The formula includes a combination of peppermint leaves, honeysuckle flowers, edible burdock, forsythia, balloon flower root, and natto. A 2016 study found that herbal formulas like yin qiao san helped decrease the risk of pneumonia. Honeysuckle is on eat active components of the formula, and researchers identified its strong antivirus properties. Combining yin qiao san with a stronger antiviral formula like Gan Mao Ling may be very effective against sore throats.
Ginger And Scallion Stalk
This remedy is most beneficial for the wind-cold type of the common cold, during which people experience nasal congestion and coughing. The idea is that the herbs expel the wind from the body to relieve exterior symptoms. Combine 30 grams (g) of sliced ginger with 10 g of scallion s talk in about 200 milliliters (ml) of water in a pot. Bring the liquid to a boil and then remove from heat. Add raw honey or agave to the decoction for better taste. Drink this two to three times daily until cold symptoms subside.
Jade Windscreen Powder
This is a well-known ancient prescription that Wei Shilin developed in the Yuan Dynasty. It was commonly used to treat weak patients with wind-cold type common cold symptoms. Jade windscreen powder helps to improve the symptoms in patients, and it may also reduce the risk of recurring colds. Nowadays, it’s typically a blend of atractylodes rhizome, astragalus root, and siler root, all of which aim to boost immune function and protect the body from viral and bacterial infections.
There are many common herbs that you can make into teas. In TCM common herbs include cinnamon, ginger, orange peel, and turmeric. The idea behind using these herbs is to help heat up the body internally, encouraging sweating in a way that’s not too dangerous. Ginger exhibits antibacterial and antiviral activity, and it helps to soothe sore throats and reduce nausea. Turmeric is a rich source of antioxidants that help to reduce inflammation. It’s best to consumeas a warming tea, just like cinnamon, which is full of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents. According to studies, cinnamon helps to fight bacterial and fungal infections.
This is a therapy that involves repeatedly scraping the skin in a downward motion with a tool. Firstly, apply an unguent, such as a massage oil or balm, and then the scraping takes place. Ideally, leave this therapy to a TCM practitioner. Gua sha is most effective on the chest and upper back, as it works to break up congestion in the lungs. It helps increase circulation to symptomatic areas by breaking up surface capillaries.