Got caught in the rain today and can feel a cold taking hold?
Took public transport today with fellow travellers coughing all around you? Have no fear – Chinese Med is here.
In Chinese Medicine, there are generally two categories of colds, ones with cold symptoms (eg chills, can’t get warm, a blocked or runny nose with clear phlegm) and ones with heat symptoms (fever, flushed cheeks, burning sore throat and thick yellow phlegm).
These two types of colds are distinguished and treated very differently in Chinese Medicine. For example, if you’re feeling cold then it’s about restoring warmth, if you’re feeling hot, then it’s about restoring coolness; and nourishing, always nourishing the body to heal itself.
So if you got caught out in the freezing cold today and can’t get warm, here’s some things you can do at home to prevent that cold cold from progressing:
Thinly slice the white end of a spring onion and steep it in a cup of boiling water, adding slices of fresh ginger and chilli if you want to go all out. Add a little rice malt syrup if need be and drink cups of this! Then have a nice hot shower, pile on many layers of clothes, go to bed early and sweat it off. In the morning your cold cold should be significantly better.
Just note, this is for the earliest stages of a cold only, and if you had no heat symptoms as this will make it worse.
If you’re on the other end of the spectrum and have flushed cheeks, feeling warm to hot with a very sore throat, then heat is the enemy! Avoid chilli, pepper, ginger, other spicy foods as well as coffee and alcohol as they are warming in nature too and will hamper your efforts to get better.
Instead, enjoy many cups of good quality peppermint and chrysanthemum tea and loads of lightly cooked green veggies. Resist the temptation to eat foods straight from the fridge or freezer as despite the quick relief they provide, they can damage your digestive system and prevent you from getting better.
Efforts to beat back any kind of cold should be done ASAP before the bug really takes hold. With either a cold or hot type of cold, do yourself a favour and have lots of early nights, loads of water, fresh chicken soup (contains healing amino acids) and good fresh veggies especially garlic (renowned for its bug fighting antimicrobial actions).
Avoid sugar and dairy as it creates more mucus and stay clear of cold foods from the fridge (including yoghurt, salads, sushi, cold water etc) as this can hamper your digestive system. When up to 80% of your immunity is said to be in your gut, digestive health is super important.
However, if you have a mixture of both heat and cold symptoms or your body requires a little more help to get you back on your feet and fighting fit, then get some Acupuncture and herbs pronto, they really do work wonders!