Healing Colds and the Flu with TCM

Winter is here and the cold and flu season is upon us. Do you know that there are herbal formulations that support the immune system to fight colds and flus? In traditional Chinese medicine we see colds, viral infections and flus as externally contracted, which means they enter from the external environment through the respiratory and digestive tracts. Wind is seen as the carrier of external toxins or viruses. Discerning whether it is a cold wind or a hot wind allows us to choose a remedy to fight it.


Two traditional formulas, Yin Qiao San and Gan Mao Ling, are used at the first signs of a cold. Often the first sign of an impending cold or flu is a sore throat. Both a wind heat and a wind cold can have a sore throat. Sometimes we get a headache and feel achy, especially in our shoulders or  we might notice fever or chills or a combination of both. which come in tincture, pill or powder The two formulas above come in tincture, pill or powder taken on the 1st or second day of “catching” a cold, can prevent viruses and can shorten the duration of a cold or flu.


Yin Qiao San or Honeysuckle and Forsythia formula is an herbal remedy that if taken at the first signs of a wind heat invasion can keep one from getting a cold. It is usually only needed for a day or two and is a formulation we always have on hand in the winter. If you feel hot with a possible fever, sore throat, headache and think you are coming down with a bug this is a great formula to prevent it from taking hold. It has herbs that clear wind, cool heat and support the immune system.


Gan Mao Ling is another herbal formulation that we keep on hand during cold and flu season. It addresses wind cold or wind heat invasions. Symptoms may or may not include a sore throat, but one will often experience achy muscles, especially in the shoulders, with chills and a sense that you cannot get warm enough. When symptoms first start with a stuffy nose and headache Gan Mao Ling can help the immune system fight off a cold or flu.


The next time you get a sniffle it may be worth a visit to Jade so you can start one of these herbal formulas ASAP.