Treating Colds, Flu, and Respiratory Illnesses with Chinese Medicine

January 23, 2008 at 3:21 am Leave a comment

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs have a lot to offer in preventing and treating colds and flu. Historically, there is a reason for this: China suffered through many plagues that began with cold-like symptoms, and many great physicians spent their lives learning to treat these complaints and prevent them from worsening.

Chinese medicine differentiates between several types of colds and flu, with different treatments for each. For example, a cold that begins with sneezing, runny nose, and stiff neck is treated differently from one that starts with a sore throat and swollen glands. An acupuncturist can choose specific points, based on your symptoms, that “release the exterior” and “expel the evil qi” — meaning that they help the body rid itself of the invading germs before they get in deep enough to require all that sneezing, phlegm, and feverishness!  Simple herbal formulas, which you can take at home, help the body do the same thing.  It pays to keep a bottle handy, or learn how to make herbal teas yourself, to stop colds before they begin to take hold. 

There are also specific treatments for later stages, whether your colds tend to develop into sinus infections, bronchitis, a lingering cough, or a weakened immune system that is more vulnerable to the next virus.  Acupuncture and herbs can treat any of these conditions — without antibiotics or other drugs.  However, many people find that treating a cold early, with an acupuncture session and/or herbs, allows them to avoid getting to this stage at all.

The best choice of all, though:  take good care of your immune system, and avoid colds and flu in the first place!  See the post on prevention and self-treatment for more information.

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