Here is my go to protocol for Cold & Flu Prevention
One of the greatest contributions Chinese medicine offers the West is the availability of herbs and herbal formulas that directly attack viral infections causing the common cold, influenza, upper respiratory infections and other viral infections such as shingles. When it comes to viral infections Western medicine is at a total loss, offering at best bed rest and fluids, and at worse, antibiotics.
Why do I say worse? Antibiotics work on bacteria and are essentially ineffective against a virus and do nothing to alter the time frame of an infection, Antibiotics can however, negatively impact the body’s immune system. Antibiotics destroy as many as five hundred different species of beneficial gut bacteria and promote the growth of the fungus Candida Albicans (yeast.)
Why Try Chinese Antiviral Herbs? In a nutshell, over the counter (OTC) medications don’t cure the flu but they can help you feel better by treating symptoms such as aches, coughs, and sore throats. Antibiotics do NOT work against the flu because it is caused by a virus and not by bacteria. Tamiflu can be dangerous and has side effects many wish to avoid.
CHOOSING AN ANTIVIRAL
When it comes to cold or flu that start as a sore throat and then moves into nasal congestion and muscle aches, the medicine of choice is YIN QIAO JIE DU WAN. This formula works best when taken in the first 10-12 hours of a wind heat presentation and is an effective preventative when the slightest symptoms of scratchy throat or headache appear, often stopping a cold or flu in its tracks, making it a must-have for teachers!
Already Have a Cold or Flu? GAN MAO LING is perhaps the most useful product when a common cold is developing beyond the help of YIN QIAO JIE DU WAN and the symptoms of sore throat, sinus congestion, muscle aching, headache or slight fever are more severe. Almost 70% of this formula consists of three herbs. These three antiviral herbs are so powerful they have received a fair amount of attention by Chinese researchers and clinicians.
My personal favorite is CHUAN XIN LIAN. Another powerful, three-herb combination is good for severe sore throat and I would also recommend it for acute hepatitis and even shingles outbreaks. It’s my go-to for anything angry, red or swollen be it viral or bacterial.
Ban Lan Gen (Isatis root) is the main antiviral used in several of the formulas and is helpful when used as a preventative. You can drink it daily in a ‘tea’ and it tastes a bit like honey.
What Chinese Antivirals Should I Buy? All of them! Keep a supply handy at home because remember, a cold or flu will go from first symptom to full-blown in a matter of hours and it’s best to shut it down before it has a chance to start rather than focus on treating the symptoms and trying to boost the immune system to recover faster. Prevention is the key.
Pesticides. The secret ingredient in Chinese herbs. Traditional Chinese herbs have a strong reputation for their medicinal benefits, but a Greenpeace East Asia investigation has revealed that many of these herbs are coated in a toxic cocktail of pesticide residues, posing long-term health risks instead. We caution against purchasing inexpensive, off-brand Chinese herbal formulas as Asia markets or online or even reputable brand purchased from Amazon or other online marketplaces due to the high probability of inadvertently purchasing a counterfeit. At East Lake Acupuncture we are very selective about the manufacturers we buy from and each is well-researched. If you wish to purchase herbs or supplements online we are happy to set you up with a Wellevate account, which will give you access to hundreds of your favorite brands from a distributor you can trust.
Lifestyle choices such as poor eating habits, not getting enough sleep, improper hygiene, obesity, stress, etc. are in large part to blame. Some forms of the flu or viruses out there nowadays are quite virulent and even if you do take extra good care of yourself, you still may get sick. But one is less likely if you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables (vitamin C among many other helpful nutrients that promote immune system health), get enough and regular sleep, avoid stress, exercise regularly and so on. Chinese medicine recommends eating well cooked vegetables in the winter time. It aids in digestion and keeps you in tune with the natural rhythms of the body's cycles.
If wash your hands frequently in the winter that's great, but using good quality hand moisturizer is key to avoid skin breaks where viruses can sneak in. I personally think a lot of people spread germs through door handles. So use a glove or your sleeve when opening doors. Good luck and good health!!!
Please see your regular physician to diagnose your cold condition first and get any recommendation and referral. Having said that, TCM does have chi kung techniques, acupuncture techniques, and herbal remedies to help with colds. Please talk to both your physician and acupuncturist to best diagnose your condition.
Acupuncture can be used along with other medications (natural supplements, herbs or pharmaceuticals) in treating a cold. There are acupuncture points that build the body’s resistance to disease and boost the immune system. Other points direct their action in relieving symptoms such as congestion, cough, headache, body aches, sore throat and fever.
Some of the points that treat the common cold are contraindicated in pregnancy, so it is important for a woman to inform the acupuncturist if she is pregnant.
Alexandre Hillairet, DAOM.
Acupuncture helps with the immune system to help the body fight off the virus, as well as helping to treat the symptoms. Find a local acupuncturist to get help naturally.
Scott Sang In Lee
Find someone who really knows good needle technique.
Acupuncture with infrared heat lamp along with cupping, or guasha can help with a cold. We also have body steams that help you sweat and detox, when used in conjunction with our treatments, patients get over a cold easier.
Most colds, the common cold, are viruses and resolve on their own in 7-10 days, tops, in otherwise healthy adults. I would say the added expense and effort - versus just resting, fluids, healthy diet, saline nasal spray spray I also recommend and remembering to wash hands - is not necessary or would be worth adding. If one has a prolonged simple bacterial infection confirmed by a physician, acupuncture may be additive to healing since these generally last longer, but there are no studies to support this currently. Pending is a study - “Acupuncture for common cold: A systematic review and meta-analysis” - to see if acupuncture shortens the length of a cold. But again, the question may still remain, is it worth the time and expense?
Thanks for checking.
I've personally achieved excellent results for people who were just in the beginning stages of cold/flu - either heading things off entirely or reducing the total time of the disease. The trick is: you want to receive treatment as early as possible - either right at onset or just after.
For best results, make sure your provider is nationally board certified through the NCCAOM. I'd suggest starting with the "Find a Practitioner" page at NCCAOM.org to find someone local to you,