Many of us know that feeling when we are “coming down with something.” For some it is sniffles, others a scratchy throat, coughing, headache, fatigue. Getting extra rest, paying attention to hydration, improving nutrition, and having chicken soup (a study has confirmed what many of us have experienced – chicken soup is laden with medicinal and anti-inflammatory properties) are some examples of common and helpful ways to give the body what it needs to support recovery from a cold.
Chinese medicine offers some very helpful additional support. There are herbal formulas that have been used for centuries that can often alleviate the cold symptoms at the onset, as well as others than can often strengthen the immune response and possibly prevent the cold from taking root.
Below are highlights of some of the most popular formulas:
Gan Mao Ling
Translated as “common cold effective remedy’, this is a very popular formula, often used preventatively when a person has been exposed to someone with a cold or can be taken at the first sign of cold symptoms; often considered a first line of defense.
Xin Yi Wan
This formula is traditionally used when sinus symptoms are predominant, such as congestion or discharge, post-nasal drip, sneezing, and loss of sense of smell. Headaches and stiff or achy neck may also be present when this formula is indicated.
Gui Zhi Tang
This formula has been in continuous use since the third century! This formula is traditionally used when stiff neck, headache, aversion to wind, chills, mild fever not relieved by sweating, and/or stuffy nose are present.
Medicinal mushrooms have a long history of successfully use in supporting the immune system. Mushrooms such as Reishi, Maitake, and Shiitake mushrooms have antiviral, antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and adaptogenic (helps your body adapt to stress) properties
Yu Ping Feng San
This formula is traditionally used when a person appears to catch colds easily and wants to strength the defenses. The formula translates as “Jade Screen” as Jade represents something precious and the Screen reference refers to the protective barrier symbolizing protection from illness.
New Research for Cold Prevention: Vitamin D
A major study published in the British Medical Journal in 2017 found that Vitamin D can protect against acute respiratory infection. To see what amount is right for you: consult with your healthcare practitioner, get your levels checked, and have your practitioner determine the proper dosage.
Always consult with your healthcare practitioner if symptoms persist or worsen as well as to determine which formula/immune strategy is best for you.