• Chinese herbal products you should know about this cold season

    Chinese medicine excels at regulating the immune system. Herbs have been used for thousands of years for the prevention and treatment of infections like the common cold.  Text books written in the Han Dynasty (40-200 A.D.) are still used in advanced Chinese herbal training courses. This medicine is OLD, yet it is always developing, growing, and adapting to modern life.

    Strengthen Your Protective Army

    Herbs can improve the immune system’s ability to respond to threats from the environment.  One commonly used formula to do this is Yu Ping Feng San. The main ingredient here is astragalus, which is used in both eastern and western herbal traditions. It increases your energy levels and immune system function. Traditionally, this formula is used to boost the “wei qi” in the body. The wei qi is commonly compared to an army that guards the border of your body that keeps out pathogens. The herbs in Yu Ping Feng San are used to strengthen that army so that you have lots of soldiers guarding the perimeter of your body. Basically, take Yu Ping Feng San to boost your immune system so that you don’t catch a cold.

    This formula is best taken before cold and flu or allergy season. You need to give it time to build up your defenses. It is safe to use long-term.

    Yu Ping Feng San is available in my online dispensary as Astra-C. It is the classic Yu Ping Feng San with the addition of vitamin C and zinc for added support.

    Be Prepared for Battle

    Sometimes, a strong virus can still sneak past a strong army. I never go through cold/flu season without some anti-viral herbs at home (or in my purse).  Cold Snap, Airborn, and Yin Qiao San contain anti-viral herbs that work particularly well when sore throat is the first symptom of a cold. In addition to the sore throat formulas, Gan Mao Ling is an effective formula for a cold that starts with sinus issues and tight/sore neck. It contains strong anti-viral herbs, and works great! These formulas work best when taken at the first sign of a cold or feeling “off.” Continue taking them as directed for a few days, until symptoms are relieved.

    You can also take these herbs when you know you will be exposed to viruses, such as during air travel. Take them as directed for about 3 days.

    Cold Away is available in my online dispensary, and is useful for cold, flu, fever, sinus and chest congestion, and sore throat. If you prefer a liquid tincture, Gan Mao Ling is also available in that form.

    Other Things You Can Do

    Useful nutritional supplements include vitamin C, zinc, vitamin D, and probiotics.

    Another important thing to keep in mind, especially if you tend to run cold or feel cold easily, is to stay warm during the fall and winter. Besides dressing appropriately, stay warm by eating warm and cooked foods. Now is the time to switch from salads to healthy soups. Soups are full of vitamins and minerals and you’re not losing nutrition by cooking these foods. They are in the broth.  Some nutrients even become more bio-available after cooking them. It’s also very easy to make a big batch of soup and the weekend and have that to eat for part of the week. Cooking with fresh ginger is also helpful. You can also put some chopped ginger in your thermos, add boiling water, and sip ginger tea throughout the day.

    Be sure to stay active, get fresh air, and meditate for stress reduction.

    As the holiday season rolls in, stay committed to sticking to healthy diet. All the sugar, alcohol, comfort foods, and travel tend to make us weak and set us up for illness in January and February. Love yourself and eat your veggies!

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    If you have a chronic illness, are pregnant or nursing, or are taking prescription medication, always talk to your health care provider before starting a new supplement or herbal product.

    Are you ready for battle?

    If you are feeling cold, weak, easily tired, or stressed, you would probably benefit from an additional herbal formula as well as acupuncture. Let me help you feel strong and energized again.