School is back in session, the weather is getting cooler – and cold and flu season has arrived.
Traditional Chinese Medicine offers very effective treatments for all flus and common colds, and this blog post will give you an overview of causes, symptoms, and treatments (herbal treatments are suitable for kids and adults!).
In Chinese medicine, all flus/common colds are caused by an invasion of External Wind. Wind is considered to be the leading external pathogen that can invade the body and cause symptoms of illness. General symptoms caused by external wind can be: aversion to cold or wind, fever or the sensation of fever, sneezing, cough, runny nose, neck stiffness and ache, and an itchy throat.
To prevent from getting sick, you can keep your neck covered as much as possible on windy days, especially the back of your neck!
External Wind is just one of six external pathogenic factors : Cold, Heat, Dampness, Dryness, and Water can also contribute to illness, in combination with wind. Some examples are:
Wind-Cold: enters through the skin, and results in an aversion to cold, sneezing, cough, runny nose with white-watery mucus. You will have more chills than fever, pronounced neck stiffness and ache, but no sweating, and no thirst. This is the very typical common cold.
Wind-Heat: enters through the nose and mouth, and often results in infections. You’ll feel an aversion to cold, have more fever than chills, and suffer from sneezing, cough, runny nose with slightly yellow mucus, neck stiffness and ache. You’ll also experience slight sweating, itchy and/or sore throat, and possibly swollen tonsils. The combination of those external pathogens cause the typical flu, strep throat, and mono, etc.
Other pathogen combinations include:
Wind-Dampness (resulting in an aversion to cold, fever, swollen neck glands, nausea, sweating, neck stiffness, body aches, muscle ache, feeling of heaviness in the body, and swollen joints)
Wind-Dryness (with fever, slight aversion to cold, slight sweating, dry skin, nose, mouth and throat, dry cough, and sore throat)
Wind-Water (you’ll feel an aversion to cold, and suffer from fever, oedema especially on the face, swollen face and eyes, cough with profuse white and watery mucus, sweating, and no thirst)
It’s important to know that a Wind pathogen can only enter the body its own Defensive Qi (immune system) is weaker than the pathogen. The body’s qi can become relatively weaker from things such as overwork, irregular diet, emotional stress, or a combination of these factors.
In Victoria, Wind-Cold, Wind-Heat, and Wind-Damp are most commonly seen. I have herbs available and can make formulas for treating those conditions, like Gui Zhi Tang to treat Wind-Cold, Yin Qiao San for treating Wind-Heat (this one is great for treating sore throat as the main symptom), Sang Ju Yin (for treating cough as the main symptom), and Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San to treat Wind-Damp.