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Treating Colds and Flus with Classical Chinese Medicine
By: Sophia Tang, L.Ac.

Treating colds and the flu with Classical Chinese Medicine

Is there any cure for colds or the flu, the answer is "Yes" if you are asking this question to an authentic Chinese Medicine practitioner.
 

Thousands of years ago, Chinese medicine already knew how to effectively treat colds and the flu. I would tend to believe that most western medicine doctor would tell you "No" and say there is no cure for colds and the flu. The only thing that you can do is to rest and drink more fluids, enduring all uncomfortable symptoms, which should be getting better when your immune system wins the battle. Some people may take some over-the-counter drugs like acetaminophen and ibuprofen to reduce the uncomfortable symptoms such as headache, body aching and sore throat. Usually it may take about a week to recover from a cold, and a little longer for the flu if you do not receive any treatment, but with an accurate diagnosis and treatment from a well trained authentic Chinese medicine practitioner, most uncomfortable symptoms including headache, fever, chills, body aches, sore throat, fatigue, etc., should be already better just with one or two cups of herbal tea, You should be recovered within 1-2 days.

What happens if I do not get treatments for colds and the flu?

Due to uncomfortable symptoms, you may not able to do anything other than getting some rest. Children, the elderly, and people with chronic disease or weak immune systems may quite easily get some other complications such as sinusitis, bronchitis, ear infection, asthma attack or even pneumonia. A residual pathogenic substance such as wind cold energy, viruses, etc, could become the source of any future health problems.

Prevention for colds and the flu with Acupuncture and Chinese medicine

Gui Zhi Tang is the most important formula in the classical medical text "Shang Han Lun", which translated in English, means 'On Cold Damage' or 'Treatise on Cold Injury'. This formula can be taken regularly to harmonize your Yin and Yang, and to strengthen your immune system. During cold and flu season, getting acupuncture once a week to strengthen the body immune system, it is also a very good way to prevent colds and the flu.

How does Chinese medicine treat colds and flu?

If you are just getting a cold with minor symptoms, sometimes with just acupuncture, you can recover very quickly. But if you are getting the flu with severe symptoms, the herbal medicine is needed to help you to relieve all uncomfortable symptoms within 1-2 days.
 
An authentic Chinese medicine does not prescribe the formulas for colds and the flu according to what kind of viruses you get. The formulas are chosen by what kind of symptoms you have. The treatment principle is to expel pathogens such as viruses or wind cold energy through sweating, urination, and strengthening your immune system.

Here are six most common used classical formulas to treat colds and flu

Gui Zhi Tang
Gui Zhi (Ramulus Cinnamomi Cassiae)10 g
Shao Yao (Radix Paeoniae)10 g
Sheng Jiang (Rhizoma Zingiberis Officinalis Recens)2 slices
Da Zao (Fructus Zizyphi Jujubae)10 dates
Zhi Gan Cao (Honey fried Radix Glycyrrhizae Uralensis)10g

Cook these raw herbs using 6 cups of water over a good sized flame. Cook down to 2 cups of water. An adult drinks one cup of herbal tea every 3 hour with an empty stomach. For kids, just give them a half a cup each time. You will sweat a little bit after taking herbal tea. Eating some hot steamed rice soup will be helpful to increase the effectiveness of this herbal tea.
 
When to use this formula:
Main symptoms are sweating, aversion to wind, muscle aches, with a little bit fever and loss of appetite. Usually, after taking the herbal tea, all uncomfortable symptoms should be gone and your appetite will return the following day. This means that you already have recovered from a cold or the flu.

Ma Huang Tang
Ma Huang (Herba Ephedrae)5g
Gui Zhi (Ramulus Cinnamomi Cassiae)10g
Xing Ren (Semen Pruni Armeniacae)5g
Zhi Gan Cao (Honey fried Radix Glycyrrhizae Uralensis)10g

Cook these raw herbs using 3 cups of water under a good sized flame. Cook down to 1 cups of water. Drink this cup of herbal tea with empty stomach. If you have any record of heart disease, you cannot take this formula.

When to use this formula:
Main symptoms are feeling the chills, fever, muscle and joint aches, without any sweating.

Ge Gen Tang
Ge Gen (Radix Puerariae or Kudzu)..15g
Ma Huang (Hb.Ephedrae)5g
Gui Zhi (Ramulus Cinnamomi Cassiae)10 g
Shao Yao (Radix Paeoniae)10 g
Sheng Jiang (Rhizoma Zingiberis Officinalis Recens)2 slices
Da Zao (Fructus Zizyphi Jujubae)10 dates
Zhi Gan Cao (Honey fried Radix Glycyrrhizae Uralensis)10g

Cook these raw herbs using 6 cups of water under a good sized flame. Cook down to 2 cups of water. An adult drinks one cup of herbal tea every 3 hour with an empty stomach. For kids, just give them a half a cup each time. You will sweat a little bit after taking the herbal tea.

When to use this formula:
Main symptoms are stiff neck and upperback, headache, aversion to wind, muscle aches, sore throat, thirsty, etc. Usually kids can easily get this kind of cold or the flu.

Da Qing Long Tang
Ma Huang (Herba Ephedrae)10g
Gui Zhi (Ramulus Cinnamomi Cassiae)15g
Sheng Jiang (Rhizoma Zingiberis Officinalis Recens)2 slices
Shi Gao ( Gypsum) ..20g
Xing Ren (Semen Pruni Armeniacae)10g
Zhi Gan Cao (Honey fried Radix Glycyrrhizae Uralensis)10g
Da Zao (Fructus Zizyphi Jujubae)10 dates

Cook these raw herbs using 6 cups of water with a good sized flame. Cook down to 2 cups of water. An adult drinks one cup of herbal tea every 3 hour with an empty stomach. For kids, just give them a half a cup each time. You will sweat a little bit after taking the herbal tea.

When to use this formula:
Main symptoms are fever, coughing with thicker yellow phlegm, body aches, thirsty, loss of appetite, no sweating, feeling a chill, but feels very hot inside of body. In ancient time, this formula is the most popular one to treat epidemic diseases

Xiao Qing Long Tang
Ma Huang (Herba Ephedrae)10g
Gui Zhi (Ramulus Cinnamomi Cassiae)15g
Gan Jiang (dried Rhizoma Zingiberis Officinalis)5g
Xi Xin (Herba cum Radice Asari)5g
Wu Wei Zi (Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis)10g Bai Shao (Radix Paeoniae Laciflorae)10g
Ban Xia (Rhizoma Pinelliae Ternatae)10g
Zhi Gan Cao (honey fried Radix Glycyrrhizae Uralensis)10 g

Cook these raw herbs using 6 cups of water under a good sized flame. Cook down to 2 cups of water. An adult drinks one cup of herbal tea every 3 hour with empty stomach. For kids, just give them a half a cup each time. You will sweat a little bit after taking the herbal tea.
 
When to use this formula:
Main symptoms are fever, coughing with watery white phlegm, body aches, itchy throat, no thirsty, no sweating, feeling very chills inside of body.

Xiao Chai Hu Tang
Chai Hu (Radix bupleuri)15g
Huang Qin (Radix scutellariae)15g
Ban Xia (Rhizome pinelliae ternatae)15g
Sheng Jiang (Rhizome zingiberis officinalis recens)2 slices
Dang shen (Radix Codonopsis )15g
Zhi Gan Cao (Honey fried radix glycyrrhizae uralensis)10g
Da Zao (Fructus Zizyphi Jujubae)10 dates

Cook these raw herbs using 6 cups of water under a good sized flame. Cook down to 2 cups of water. An adult drinks one cup of herbal tea before breakfast and dinner with empty stomach. For kids, just give them a half a cup each time.

When to use this formula:
Main symptoms are the alternate attacks of chills and fever, feeling of fullness and discomfort in chest and the upper lateral region of the abdomen, and nausea. Any women who get a cold or the flu during the menstrual cycle, do not use other formulas. This is the only formula to be used to recover the sickness.

Reference: The treatment for colds and flu from Dr. Hai- Sha Ni

Note: This article is for educational purpose. Please get the diagnosis from your Chinese medicine doctor to get the customized formula to treat your cold or the flu.

About the Author


Sophia Tang is a licensed Acupuncturist and Classical Chinese medicine practitioner. She has a master's degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in the United States.
 
She is specializing in classical Chinese medicine practice to treat any acute or chronic diseases. These include but are not limited to the common cold, flu, allergies, sinus infection, asthma, lung disorders, smoke, alcohol and drugs addictions, insomnia, anxiety, depression, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, obesity, heart diseases, frequent urination, constipation, diarrhea, acid reflex, digestion problems, infertility, hypertension, diabetes, kidney stones, gallbladder stones, edema, kidney failure, prostate disorder, breast disorder,  autoimmune disorders and just about anything else you may have problems with.

To know more about her practice, please visit web site http://www.sophtangacupuncture.com

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