6 Natural Ways to Protect Yourself Against Colds, Coughs & The Flu using Chinese Medicine.

Symptoms of a cold

6 Ways to Help Your Immune System Fend Off Colds, Coughs and Flu Symptoms

By: Blaise T. Ryan, R.TCMP, R.Ac
Registered Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and Acupuncturist
Colds, coughs and the flu virus can affect us at any time of year.  Some of us are more prone to catching them than others.  Sometimes minor colds or stubborn coughs can linger for weeks, or escalate into a full-blown infection and knock us out of commission.   Sometimes they come with fever, chills, sore throats, mucus, congestion, body aches and fatigue.   The fall and winter and winter are the most common times to catch them.  Here are some traditional Chinese medicine tips to protect yourself from colds and coughs this year:

1) Avoid getting chilled.

 

It’s often during the seasonal shifts where people get sick because their bodies don’t adjust the drastic changes in temperature.  According to Chinese medicine, when you catch a chill, this is called an “invasion of wind-cold“.  This is why even in English we call it “catching a cold“.  The wind-cold goes into your skin and your immune system goes into hyper-drive to deal with it, causing mucus, fever, aches, etc.
If you get chilled, the best thing you can do is to sweat.  Take a hot bath or a sauna.  Or drink a warm-ginger tea and lie under some blankets to sweat it out.  When you sweat, the “wind-cold” is released through your pores, and you will avoid getting more sick.  If the wind-cold isn’t expelled, then it will go deeper into your body, possibly causing a cough or a full-blown cold.  The key is catching it at the beginning stages and sweating it out.
Try it, you’ll see how well it works.

 

Acupuncture relieves stress and boosts the immune system.

Acupuncture relieves stress and boosts the immune system.

2)  Get Acupuncture

 

Acupuncture helps keep your immune system strong and in balance.  When someone’s immune system is weak, they tend to get colds and coughs easily.  When their immune system is out of balance, they tend to have allergic reactions to certain environmental influences or foods.
 Acupuncture helps stabilize and reinforce your immune system, so it does it’s job properly and efficiently to defend your body against outside threats and maintain a balanced relationship between all your internal systems (organ system, nervous system, endocrine system, circulatory system, lymphatic system, etc.)
There are many factors that can weaken your immune system, like stress, adrenal fatigue, digestive problems, insomnia or internal inflammation. Getting regular acupuncture solves these issues and strengthens your body in the core, by affecting the internal organs through the acu-points.

 

3)  Eat pears and drink ginger tea in the fall.

 

Ginger has anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-fungal properties.

Ginger has anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-fungal properties.

The fall is the season of the lungs.  Pears moisten and nourish the lungs, which are one of the four main organs involved in your immune system, according to Chinese medicine.
The three other organ systems are the Kidneys, the Spleen and the Large Intestine.  Choose organic pears and eat them with the skin for the best effects.  Pears are great when you have a dry cough. Ginger empowers your spleen and lungs, and defends against “wind-cold” attacks.
The best way to make ginger tea is to boil fresh ginger for 5-10 minutes.  Sweetening it with some honey is also good because honey strengthens the Spleen organ system and balances the drying and hot nature of ginger.  Make sure you use real honey, not the cheap stuff made with corn syrup.
Ginger also has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and has even been shown to reduce ovarian cancer cells.  Ginger is a powerful super-food and healing herb.  I always have ginger in my fridge and so should you.

 

4) Avoid refined sugar.

 

Excessive refined sugar weakens the immune system and causes an internal inflammatory response, due to the spike in insulin levels triggered by the sugar intake.  If you want to test this theory, the next time you start to feel like you might be coming down with something (you have scratchy throat, body aches, sniffles, fatigue, etc), then eat a bunch of doughnuts or sugar.  You will likely get sicker very fast.
So if you want to avoid catching colds and coughs.  The next time you notice people around you getting sick, or you are feeling like your immune system is low, stay away from refined sugars.  Instead eat more fibrous foods, drink more pure water and get some rest.

 

Most efficient way to position your body on the toilet to optimize your bowel movements.

Most efficient way to position your body on the toilet to optimize your bowel movements.

5) Keep your bowels moving.

 

Regular and complete bowel movements are the cornerstone to good health.  If your large intestine isn’t excreting waste and toxins regularly, then you are likely re-absorbing toxins into your system.   Instead of having a strong immune system standing by ready to defend against an external pathogen, your immune system will be too busy trying to cope with excess of toxins in your body.
If you do not have 1-2 regular and complete bowel movements per day, your immune system may be compromised.
 To help your bowels move more regularly; drink more pure water, consume more fibre, get acupuncture, eliminate foods that are causing constipation, do an intestinal cleanse, change your posture on the toilet, or seek a Chinese herbal prescription to help your bowels move.
If you are unsure about the cause of your constipation, consult your registered practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine for their help.

 

6)  Take some Chinese herbs.

 

Everyone should have this herbal cough syrup in their home medicine cabinet. Safe for children too.  Come into my clinic to get some.

Everyone should have this herbal cough syrup in their home medicine cabinet. Safe for children too. Come into my clinic to get some.

Whether you have a cold, a cough, a sore throat, a fever or if you are healthy now but you tend to catch colds or coughs easily, arm yourself with some Chinese herbal formulas.
These formulas use 100% natural ingredients derived from plants.   They are fully safe, with little to no side-effects, and have proven their efficacy to treat a wide variety of symptoms and health issues over thousands of years.
There are formulas that will help your immune system get stronger to defend itself against colds, coughs and the flu.  Some herbal formulas are so effective I think everyone should keep them in their home medicine cabinet in case they start to feel unwell.
Like this herbal cough syrup, which I have available in my clinic. Come see me at my clinic to get the herbal formula that’s right for you, or consult your registered practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine for a herbal prescription.