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Natural Remedies to fight colds and flus

Sometimes despite our best efforts, a virus slips through our defenses and our immune system is called into action. In my last post I wrote about how to prevent colds and flus naturally. Here are a few things in addition to the above that you can to do fight off the cold or flu and shorten its lifespan.

▪   More Fish oil: double or even triple your dose to get more immune-boosting fat-soluble vitamins into your system.

▪   Miso Soup – especially with scallions added. When your cold is just beginning, have some Miso soup to head it off.

▪   Ginger honey-lemon tea with optional additions: ginger has anti-microbial properties and can help with nausea and G.I. upset that comes with certain strains of flu. Lemon is a good natural source of vitamin C, and has a soothing quality on a sore throat – especially when combined with honey. Honey is a time-honored cough remedy, and recent research suggests that it may be an effective cough suppressant. (Important note: never give honey to kids under 1-year of age.) Optional additions to this tea could include fresh garlic (anti-microbial), a pinch of cayenne pepper (to help break up mucous) and other warming herbs like cinnamon and clove.

▪   Sweat: in Chinese medicine, sweating is recommended at the early stages of a cold. The best way to do this is to take a very hot bath. I also recommend adding herbs and essential oils that promote sweating, such as wintergreen, eucalyptus, rosemary and thyme.

▪   Rest, rest, rest. Again, there’s no better remedy for a cold or flu than rest.

▪   Zinc. Research suggests that zinc can reduce the duration and severity of a cold – but only if it’s started early on.

▪   Get Acupuncture! –  Acupuncture gives your immune system a boost, which helps to shorten the duration of an illness. Acupuncture can also reduce the symptoms of a cold, like sore throat, headaches, and body aches.

▪   Chinese herbal formulas can be great for kicking colds out of your system. Here are some good options:

  1. Gan Mao Ling: Gan mao means “common cold” in Chinese.  This herbal formula is great for preventing and treating common colds. Take it preventatively when there is a cold going around or if you have a cold. It is best to treat are sore and itchy throat, and a little cough. If you are sweating Gan Mao Ling may not be strong enough.Gan mao ling is better for mild colds and also to prevent a common cold.
  2. Yin Qiao (also spelled Yin Chiao) – This herbal formula is a great first line of defense against the common cold. If you are experiencing a light fever and light chills, sweating, and a sore scratchy throat, Yin Qiao may be a good formula for you.It is best taken at the initial signs of a cold or flu, especially if you have a sore throat. If you take it soon enough, you can prevent the illness. If it is too late for prevention, you will have lessened the duration and severity of the cold.
  3. Bi yan pian: is a powerful formula for nasal congestion and sinus headaches.  This can be used during the cold. It can also address the nasal congestion and runny nose that follows a cold.

It is important to take the herbs that are right for you, as well as purchase high quality herbs. Whole Foods often carries popular formulas and for those of you in Denver, you can stop by my office or call me. There are many other Chinese herbal formulas, but it is better to work with your acupuncturist or herbalist to choose the best formula for you.

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