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 Cold/Flu  Holistic-online.com

Chinese Medicine for Cold

Chinese medicine views the common cold as an invasion of Wind. There are two basic types of colds:

1. Caused by Wind Cold. Cold colds produce chills and sensitivity to cold and drafts.

2. Caused by Wind Heat. Heat colds are flulike; they produce fever.

Wind Cold: 

This pattern exhibits the following symptoms:

  • fever
  • chills (these are worse than the fever)
  • inability to get warm
  • nasal or sinus congestion with clear mucus
  • cough with clear mucus
  • stiff neck and shoulders
  • occipital headache (back of head)
  • a slower-than-normal pulse that is more easily felt at the surface. 

Diaphoretic (sweating) therapy is often recommended for this condition, since it warms the body and pushes the pathogen out through the pores. 

An effective remedy is miso soup with the white part of spring onion  and fresh ginger. For more severe or advanced cases, there is a full range of therapies, depending on the combination of symptoms.

For this condition Chinese doctors often use formulas containing cinnamon twig, ginger root, asarum (which is similar to ginger), kudzu root, and licorice.

For example, when the symptoms include strong chills, inability to sweat, wheezing, and stiff neck, the classic and ancient remedy is Ephedra Decoction (Ma Huang Tang). The chief herb in this formula is Ephedra (ma huang). It also contains cinnamon twig, apricot seeds, and licorice. Ephedra is never used by itself in Chinese herbal therapy; it is always part of a formula, often combined with licorice (as in Ephedra Decoction), which tones down its harsh nature. Ephedra, used alone, is very dangerous, as it can raise blood pressure. Do not use this formula if you have heart disease or hypertension. And do not exceed the recommended dosage.

For symptoms of wind cold with headache and nasal congestion as the chief symptoms, the classic formula is Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao Wan, with green tea, which moves the action of the formula to the head area. 

Wind Heat:


  • the fever is worse than the chills
  • the pulse is faster than normal
  • swollen and sore throat with headache and irritability
  • If there is a cough, it is usually dry or nonproductive, with occasional expectoration of yellow mucus.

For wind heat, Chinese doctors typically prescribe herbal formulas containing chrysanthemum flowers, mulberry leaf, mint, peppermint, honeysuckle, forsythia buds, burdock seed, and licorice.

Numerous formulas are available in Chinese Medicine to treat the many variations of this condition. The most commonly used is a formula called Yin Qiao San. It is used for treating influenza, tonsillitis, and the common cold, is available as the patent formula Yin Qiao lie nu Pian.

In addition to Yin Qiao. a number of other effective remedies exist in Chinese medicine.
Gan Mao Ling is almost always useful in cases of wind heat. 
If the fever is high, Zhong Gan ling is preferred. 
If the sore throat is especially severe, Chuan Xin Lian Antiphlogistic Tablets are often prescribed.

Along with herbal remedies Chinese doctors also prescribe the following for wind heat:

  • Adequate rest
  • A vacation from sources of stress
  • Good nutrition in the form of soups and fresh juices
  • Avoid sweets and stimulants (such as caffeinated beverages). They aggravate the condition by feeding the pathogen. 
  • Avoid tonifying herbs such as ginseng. Ginseng will powerfully feed the pathogen causing the illness, making the person feel much worse.

Chinese Patent Formulas for Cold

Sang Ju Yin Pian
Yin Qiao Jie Du Pian (Yin Chiao Chieh Tu Pien)

Sang Ju Yin Pian (Mulberry Leaf Chrysanthemum Drink Tablets)

This Chinese herbal remedy is prescribed for colds for the following symptoms:

.Dry mouth 
.Sinus congestion 
.Slight thirst 
.Some fever (but not high)
.Sore throat 
.Watery eyes


Morus Leaf (Herba Mori)
Chrysanthemum Flower (Flos Chrysanthemi Morifolii)
Forsythia Fruit (Fructus Forsythiae)
Apricot Seed (Semen Armeniacae Amarae)
Platycodon Root (Radix Platycodi)
Phragmites Rhizome (Rhizoma Phragmites)
Licorice Root (Radix Glycyrrhizae)
Mentha Herb (Herba Menthae)

Recommended Dosage

Take four pills three times a day.

Yin Qiao Jie Du Pian (Lonicera Forsythia Detoxification Tablets)

This Chinese Herbal remedy is useful for combating the following symptoms of cold:

.Aversion to wind 
.Body aches 
.Sore throat 
.Stiff neck 


Lonicera Flower (Flos Lonicerae)
Forsythia Fruit (Fructus Forsythiae)
Arctium Fruit (Fructus Arctii)
Platycodon Root (Radix Platycodi)
Mentha Herb (Herba Menthae)
Phragmites Rhizome (Rhizoma Phragmites)
Licorice Root (Radix Glycyrrhizae)
Lophatherum Leaf (Herba Lophatheri)
Schizonepeta Herb (Herba Schizonepetae)

Recommended Dosage

Four pills two to three times a day. Discontinue use after three days.

Acupuncture and Moxibustion

Acupuncture and moxibustion can provide some immediate relief from cold symptoms and help the body expel the pathogen much faster. Acupuncture  points along the lung and large intestine meridians are often used as they activate the immune function in the body. 

The most important acupuncture point in treating the common cold is Large Intestine 4. This point is located in the web between the thumb and index finger. This point is very effective for this condition, since it suppresses pain and relieves exterior conditions. Patients frequently experience quick relief when the point is needled or massaged.

See Also:

Acupressure for Cold

Herbal Remedies for Cold

Acupressure for Flu

Herbal Medicine for Flu

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