If you've come down with a minor cold during this Winter season, the best medicine is often as simple as some good rest, staying warm and comfortable, lots of water and soup and a little patience. Staying hydrated will keep mucus thin and easy to expectorate and allow your body to circulate it's lymphatic cells as effectively as possible.

We find that some patients are using Tylenol or ibuprofen at the first sign of heat or a head cold. We recommend avoiding these medications unless they are absolutely necessary to bring down a scary fever. There are a number of natural medicines that can help to reduce your body aches as well.

One of the most important aspects of your Yang Qi is to act as the soldiers guarding the borders of your "citadel." They will naturally mobilize when an invader presents at the gates. There will be a clash as the soldiers begin to fight against this outside force and the "Emperor" will start to shift the resources from the inner city to the gates to give the army what it needs to succeed in the fight. In our bodies, this looks like a fever (to burn the pathogen out), body aches (as the white blood cells are diverted from muscle repair to the fight and they also produce cytokines that inflame the muscles/joints), fatigue and mucus production. 

When we take a medication that reduces our body's ability to fight, it is akin to calling our soldiers away from the gates at the time they are most needed there. We may not feel so badly in the short term, because the fight is not happening, but we are allowing the invaders unrestricted access to the interior fortress of our body. In classical Chinese medicine philosophy, this can result in a "latent" pathogen, that hides in the deeper layers of our physical being and can manifest in chronic conditions down the road. We never want to create this situation and this is why we advise avoiding drugs unless they are absolutely necessary. 

If you're feeling like you need a boost above rest, water and soup, consider using some of the following herbs:

Fresh ginger root: Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, ginger root will help to reduce inflammation (and pain) as well as help to kill invading bugs. 

Garlic: The allicin in garlic is antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial. It also thins the blood, helping to reduce muscle inflammation and promote circulation, helping the lymphatic system to do it's job more quickly.

Elderberry: When used within the first 48 hours of a flu, elderberry has been shown to shorten the duration of the flu by an average of 4 days. The anthocyanidins in elderberry stimulate the immune system. Elderberry also promotes urination and bowel function, increasing the body's ability to rid itself of the toxins being created during it's fight against the pathogen.

If you're looking for more simple herbal remedies that are available to you if you're suffering from the common cold, contact us for more information!