The common cold can make you feel just horrible. As most over the counter medications serve only to help decrease the symptoms, there is no actual treatment for the common cold except rest. When treating a cold, the importance is not just alleviating symptoms but helping rid the body of the pathogen.
In Chinese Medicine, acupuncture and herbal medicine help the body’s natural immunity ward off a cold thus not only helping to get rid of the bug but also to prevent a cold from further turning into the flu.
Chinese Medicine has different diagnoses for a cold. A common pattern this time of year is a wind cold and wind heat pattern. Each pattern is treated with different acupuncture points as well as herbal prescriptions.
A wind cold type of pattern presents wit a runny nose, chills, headache and fever. A common formula that I prescribe with this type of pattern is Gui Zhi Tang. Gui zhi tang helps the body’s immune system naturally rid the pathogen by warming the pathogen and expelling it from the body. A wind heat type of pattern presents with headache, thirst, stuffy nose with yellow discharge and feeling warm. For this type of pattern, I would prescribe a formula like Sang Ju Yin which helps to clear heat, decrease inflammationand mucous as well as increase immunity.
The best time to treat a cold is during the initial stages of symptoms. This is because the pathogen is at the superficial aspects of the body where it can be treated. As the pathogen progresses further into the body, the symptoms begin to worsen and different treatment is needed at that time.
Of course, the number one trick in treating a cold is to prevent it in the first place. This means a strong healthy immune system. I usually recommend a formula called Jade Wind Screen, which naturally helps build immunity. If a person has a weak constitution, I will also prescribe herbs to help nourish their body along with their immune system to prevent them from getting sick.
Here are some recommendations on how to increase your body’s natural immunity, thus helping to prevent getting sick in the first place.
Avoid Uncooked Raw Foods
This time of year calls for warm nourishing foods that help build our natural “qi” or energy. Lightly cook your foods to help your digestive system easily breakdown and absorb nutrients. An over consumption of raw and uncooked foods lowers our body’s natural temperature and therefore starts to lower our natural “qi”, which is needed to support our immune system.
Wear A Scarf
Dressing for the weather is particularly important in staying healthy and preventing illness. Your neck is one of the most vulnerable areas of your body for pathogenic attacks. Therefore, it is important to cover your neck in order to stay healthy and prevent getting sick.
It is important to eat around the same time everyday. Make sure not to skip meals or eat too late. A routine enhances your digestive system’s function, which is important because the digestive system supports our overall immune system.
Make sure to eat a variety of foods and well-balanced meals. Incorporate fiber found in oats and barley as it helps to cleanse your digestive system. Increase vegetable intake with chard and kale, which is abundant with vitamins and antioxidants. Finally, supplement your diet with a good multi-vitamin to further help boost immunity.
Get Your Z’s
So why is sleep so important? Sleep enables the body to recover from stressors that break it down during the day.
A study done by the Archives of Internal Medicine found that people who get less than seven hours of sleep are three times more likely to get sick. So make sure that you get at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
If you want more information or have specific questions, please call our office at 917.763.8560 to schedule a complimentary 20 minute phone consultation.