Got a Cold? Chinese Medicine to the Rescue!!

Got a Cold? Chinese Medicine to the Rescue!!

In our practice, patients often call to reschedule their appointments because they are sick. They are worried about coming to the office and exposing us to their germs. They may not know that acupuncture and herbal medicine can effectively treat colds and flu.

But guess what….?

That’s the perfect time to come in for acupuncture! Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine are uniquely and elegantly equipped to treat colds and flus at every stage. 

Infectious Disease Theory is discussed throughout Chinese Medical history in texts dating from the 1st or 2nd Century. 

 There are detailed discussions of their transmission, progression, as well as the importance of strengthening the immunity. Treatment strategies were developed and have been in use for thousands of years to resolve acute and chronic illnesses effectively.

Here are some general tips and guidelines that may help:

Colds & Flu’s

Come in for treatment at the first sign of illness. If you can’t get in for a treatment for some reason – call to pick up an herbal formula to help you. If your cold is lingering or you eare having relapses, make sure to come for acupuncture and Chinese herbs to help clear this up and strengthen your immunity.

Did you know….?

The Chinese herb formula Yin Qiao San- Honeysuckle and Forsythia Powder is a classic formula that treats colds and flu effectively. It is commonly used at the initial stage of a cold or flu presenting with heat, sore throat, and fever. Taking a dose every couple of hours at the first sign of illness can reduce the severity of the cold and also clear it up faster.

We like to use the modern formula Gan Mao Ling- Common Cold Effective Remedy at the initial stage of illness that is characterized predominantly by chills. It can also be used preventively. For instance, when traveling in an airplane where everyone is coughing and sneezing around you. I use it daily during the cold and flu season to prevent catching my patient’s colds. My patients love it so much; they give it as gifts to family members and friends!

We love setting up households with simple, effective herb formulas to keep in the medicine chest. Every year, we hold a free “Medicine Cabinet Makeover” community workshop with tons of great info, that’s safe for everyone!

What to do at home?

  • Good old lemon and honey is soothing to the throat and lungs. My mother used to make me cups of apple cider vinegar and honey in hot water to drink. I love it to this day.
  • Take Vitamin C to help fight infection. You can also ( if not pregnant) take vitamin A: This nutrient supports the cells that line your lungs.
  • Elderberry Syrup is both yummy and has been shown to shorten the length of colds.
  • Sleep: So simple. Let your body rest.
  • Water: also simple. Also free; hydrating helps flush germs from the body and helps keep mucus thin, so you can cough it up more easily.
  • Chicken Soup: Do I even need to discuss this? Of course not!
  • Neti-pot: or any kind of nasal irrigation. The saline helps flush out bacteria and viruses and helps shrink inflamed sinuses.

Even Better? – Let’s keep you well!

If you know that you get sick more often in a particular month or time of year – it is best to start getting acupuncture before you get sick. Chinese medicine is an effective modality for boosting the immune system to prevent many chronic or recurring illnesses. Work with your practitioner to have regular acupuncture and herbs on hand to begin taking as soon as you feel sick.

The formula Yu Ping Feng San– Jade Windscreen Powder is used to prevent illness in people who fr catch colds easily. If you catch “everything going around”, this can be an excellent formula for you. For example, I have used it with my patients who are schoolteachers and tend to catch colds from their students.


Similar to colds and Flus, come in as soon as you experience symptoms. As allergies can be a longer-term problem, we can set up an ongoing program.

Even Better….?

It is best to start treatment during the season before you usually have allergies. Allergies are a form of [ disorder and your practitioner can work with you to correct the underlying imbalance and support your constitution – so A BONUS– feel better, stronger, healthier and reduce your allergies all in one place!

When in doubt…..?

Call us, and most likely, we will tell you, “Yes, Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture can help that – come in!”


1. Traditional Chinese Medicine and Infectious Disease, by John Chen Ph.D., PharmD, OMD, Lac Acupuncture Today, August 2009, Vol. 10, Issue 08

2. Notes from the South Mountain, A Guide to Concentrated Herb Granules, by Andrew Ellis, 2003

3. Role of Vitamin A in the Immune System