I wasn't going to talk about this before the holidays, however, I feel compelled to, hearing about all the sickness going around (including in my own home!).
Most people are not aware (including my patients at the clinic) that Chinese Medicine, particularly Chinese herbs are extremely effective at preventing a cold or flu if caught early. They also treat symptoms such as cough, headache, fever, sinus congestion, sore throat, and nausea.
With any herbal remedy, the key is to treat yourself as soon as you start feeling unwell. For some, that might mean a scratchy throat, or sneezing, general fatigue or aching in the upper back and neck. Don't wait for a sore throat, body chills, sinus congestion and lethargy before you act. It's much easier to fight a cold or flu when it first starts.
Many of my patients keep a cold and flu first aid kit at home for those times when illness strikes. My kit includes Kan herbal formula Initial Defence. It is a combination of two classic Chinese formulas that boost the immune system, treat and prevent a sore throat and cough. Any yes, I do have this formula at the clinic.
I want to give you a few at home tips for treating yourself, and your family should the flu find you. If the flu has settled in and you are suffering with a sore throat, extreme fatigue, and a cough that is keeping you up at night, know that the clinic is stocked with herbs that can help get you on your feet again.
A quick word (reminder) about prevention. Your immune system likes lots of sleep, good fresh food especially veggies, fresh air and sunlight (or Vitamin D3 during these grey months) and exercise. Stress, excessive sugar and alcohol, refined rich foods, and late party nights can depress your immune system just long enough for a virus to set up shop. Moderation is really the key!!
If you're getting sick (scratchy throat, fatigue, neck stiffness, headache, itchy or runny nose etc.), act immediately.....don't ignore the signs!
Things you can do during the early stages of illness...
1. Rest, eat less, and avoid refined sugar.
2. Slice raw ginger (4-5 slices) and steep in hot water, covered with a lid for 5-10 minutes. You can add either 1/2 tsp of raw, unpasteurized honey (buckwheat or manuka are best), or sliced green onion. Sip the tea, bundle up in bed and allow your body to sweat a little. Ginger tea is also great to relieve nausea. Avoid flat ginger ale as it has very little ginger and way too much sugar. Remember, do not give honey to children under 18 months of age.
3. Soups or broths are a great way to stay hydrated and can be spiked with fresh anti-viral/anti bacteria herbs such as thyme, oregano, rosemary, garlic, and fresh ginger. A can of Campbell chicken noodle soup won't cut it. You're better to buy broth and add your own herbs and veggies.
4. Avoid dairy products, especially if you are prone to chest and sinus infections. Dairy products increase the mucus production, filling up our chest and sinuses with sticky, difficult to eliminate phlegm.
5. Acupuncture and cupping therapy are beneficial during the initial stages of a cold (when you think you might be getting sick), and also helps to boost your immune system and reduce stress, preventing illness in the first place. I do have masks in the clinic to avoid spreading infections, so don't hesitate to come and get treated.
In my opinion, there is no reason to let your cough, sinus, chest or ear infection, and general malaise linger. Chinese herbs are safe and extremely effective in treating upper respiratory infections, and flu symptoms in adults and children.
Be well and I wish you a Happy Healthy Holiday Season.