NATURAL COLD REMEDIES
You’ve Never Heard Of
What’s the best way to fight off the common cold? Better yet, how can you prevent catching a cold in the first place? There are some natural methods based on Eastern medicine you should try, ranging from herbal formulas to teas with anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
These tips for fighting off the common cold aren’t quite like the home remedies you may have grown up with, but they’re not too far off, either. Try these next time you feel the onset of a cold or think you’re experiencing symptoms.
The Significance of “Hot” and “Cold” Symptoms in Eastern Medicine
When it comes to common cold symptoms, Eastern medicine divides them up into two categories:
- “Wind-heat” symptoms
- “Wind-cold” symptoms
In Eastern medicine, the wind, cold, and heat are all considered pathogens that enter the body and cause colds. The symptoms you’re experiencing will help you determine what actions to take to treat or prevent your cold.
Here’s a quick breakdown of “hot” vs. “cold” symptoms:
- Sore throat
- Nasal congestion
- Yellow phlegm
- Runny nose
- White phlegm
- Scratchy throat
- Body aches
If you feel like you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s time to make some changes to help you fight off your cold! Here’s how:
1. Alter Your Diet to Fight Your Symptoms
What’s cooler than being cool? Wind-cold symptoms might be a start. All hip-hop references aside, if you feel wind-cold symptoms coming on, you can dispel them by eating warming foods and liquids.
The following foods have warming properties, so you can make meals with them:
- Green onion
- Cayenne pepper
- Seaweed (like kelp or kombu)
- Chili peppers
- Sweet potato
If you’re experiencing more wind-heat symptoms, try these foods and drinks instead:
- Cooling citrus fruits (oranges, limes, etc.)
- Almond milk
For either symptom, you should try making your own Chinese chicken soup, a home remedy that’s been passed down for centuries.
In general, you should avoid dairy products, alcohol, sugar, and wheat.
2. Take Eastern Herbs to Help Prevent Colds
There are tons of herbal concoctions out there you can take to support your immune system. Here are few common herbal remedies:
Yu Ping Feng San
This formula, also called Jade Windscreen, is often used to help boost immunity. If you’re in an environment where germs and pathogens are prevalent, such as at work or school, this is an ideal formula to have on hand — especially if you’re prone to colds. You can buy the herbs and make a tea with them, or you can buy a pre-made tincture, like readywell.
Gan Mao Ling
Like Yu Ping FengYin Qiao San, the herbal formula known as Gan Mao Ling is another winner. But, it’s also said that this formula will shorten the lifespan of your cold if you already have one.
Te Xiao Bi Min Gan
This formula is ideal for dissolving phlegm, like nasal mucus, and fighting off inflammation. It’s also well-known for fighting off allergies in general.
Yin Qiao San
Yin qiao san is often taken to help with wind-heat conditions with a high temperature, scarlet tongue and yellow to green phlegm. Do not use it if you lack those signs or you might feel much worse.
Other Cold-Fighting Chinese Herbal Formulas to Check Out
There’s a slew of herbal remedies passed down for centuries in Eastern medicine that are ideal for fighting the common cold (or preventing it, too). Here are a few more you should look into if you’re curious:
- Cold Signoff (Yin Qiao Jie Du Pian/Wan)
- Coldclear (Zhong Gan Qing Pian)
- Breathmooth (Ke Chuan Pian)
- NasoPass (Bi Yan Pian)
- Kudzu Relaxe (Ge Gen Tang Wan)
- FlemClear (Qing Qi Hua Tan Pian)
Try these formulas to help you prevent colds when you feel the symptoms coming on, but discuss it first with your TCM specialist to make sure it’s the right move for your body.
3. Consider Moxibustion and Acupuncture Treatment
Moxibustion is a form of heat therapy where dried plants, or “moxa,” are burned near the surface of your skin. The warmth from the burning plants stimulates the qi in your body and provides a warming sensation that dispels cold-causing pathogens.
Moxibustion is usually combined with acupuncture in the same session to help increase your body’s immune system. Since this technique is a little more involved (and potentially dangerous!), you’d definitely want a licensed TCM practitioner to do this one for you.
4. Drink Nutritious Teas to Fight Off Symptoms
A hot cup of tea can help your body fight off infections — and it’s just nice to sip on in a warm blanket!
Here are some teas that are excellent for warding off the common cold:
- Ginger tea is considered to have anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties
- Isatis root tea has anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties, and is used to fight off very high fevers and viral infections
- Astragalus root tea is ideal for boosting your immune system and fighting off physical and emotional stress. Best taken to prevent a cold or at the very beginning
- Citron tea is rich in vitamin C, which produces white blood cells and helps the body defend against infections
- Peppermint tea helps ward off mucus build-up in your throat
- Chrysanthemum tea has a cooling effect, making it ideal to fight off headaches and fevers
5. Reduce Airborne Germs by Boiling Vinegar and Water
That’s right: A 50/50 mixture of boiling vinegar and water can fight off airborne germs. Just pull out some white vinegar and water, then let them boil for up to 30 minutes. The steam will circulate in the air, which helps fight off odors and surface germs, like mold and other bacteria.
6. Sweat it out
Chinese medicine makes use of sweating out early-stage colds. You can take a hot bath, sip ginger or mint tea, wrap up in a thick comforter and go to bed. Don’t get chilled on the way!
Got any more home cures or herbal formulas you’d like to mention? Drop them in the comments below!