Natural Remedies for Colds and Flu: A Chinese Medical Perspective
Feb 02, 2016 05:10PM
● By Patricia Singer
From a Chinese medical perspective, colds and flu reflect a need for a time-out. We are constantly on the go in our busy, often hectic lives. A cold or flu allows us the space to stop, reflect, rest and nourish ourselves; they often give us the opportunity to redirect and reconsider our situation.
Change is inevitable. Nothing stays the same—it shifts, contorts, alters, transforms. Wind is the symbolic culprit responsible for change, a supportive “prod” pushing us to transform and create improved situations in a conscious way.
A gentle, light breeze is a simple reminder, like a mild cold. Wind can range from a gentle breeze to a tornado or hurricane—much like flu—causing destruction, devastation and definitely capturing our attention.
The “poetry” of the Wind reflects our personal journey, how we work and engage with the issues that confront our daily schedule. In Chinese medicine, there are three categories that are used to classify colds/flu—reflecting the intensity of change and the signs and symptoms experienced.
A viral infection is the first stage of a cold/flu, with symptoms such as:
• Feeling cold or having an aversion to cold
• Frontal headaches
• A drippy nose with clear fluid
• Not wanting fluids
• Constricting cold (more chills than fever) that also causes gripping pain with no inflammation and localized, painful, stiff tightness that prevents movement
• Feeling over-extended emotionally and psychologically, including finding it challenging to move ahead, looking too far forward, and not being able to focus on the present.
Essential Oils used for a Wind Cold are warming in nature.
• Pine: strengthens the lungs
• Cypress: astringent, draws into lungs
• Ginger: strong expectorant, antihistamine, breaks thin mucus—can be added to food, especially for food- borne pathogens, e-coli and salmonella
• Eucalyptus globulus: chest rub
There are several signs and symptoms when the second stage of a cold/flu begins as a bacterial infection.
• Warming heat (more fever than chills) with possible smelly sweat and a red complexion
• With injury, a red area that is painful and swollen
• Rapid, restless activity with jerky movements
• Inflammation where the heat rises and spreads up and out—goes to the eyes, head and ears—with yellow discharge
• Inability to concentrate
• Expansion of heat with face expand- ing and affecting the eyes and ears
Essential Oils used for a Wind Heat are cooling in nature.
• Tea tree: antiviral, fungal, bacterial, broad spectrum
• Ravensara: helps promote discharge
• Lemon: for low grade fever
• Peppermint: releases to the exterior
• Rosalina: clears wind heat, especially for sensory organs
• German chamomile: for high fever
• Eucalyptus citradora: diffuse with eucalyptus radiata
Dampness is related to a fungal infection—signs and symptoms may alternate from side to side or stay on one side.
• Dampness/hesitation with Wind Damp condition with weaker chills and fevers, detoxing through sticky sweat, and possible swellings (internal dampness prevents the fever generation)
• Can’t see clearly or feel foggy, sluggish, depressed and/or tired
• Inability to make decisions or be flexible
• Various types of sputum can be coughed up as well as the sinuses being affected with thick discharge coming from the nose and eyes
• One side of the nose may be clogged while the other side is fine (phlegm symbolizes repressed emotions and the inability to see options and possibility)
Essential Oils used for Wind Damp resolve dampness:
• Eucalyptus polybractea
It’s important to resolve these Wind conditions; if they are not dealt with, the condition can go deeper into the body, become latent or produce deeper symptoms, which are more challenging to deal with in the long run.
Always add a carrier oil, such as sweet almond or coconut oil to an essential oil blend. Essential oils have anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties.
In making an essential oil blend, use 10 to 25 drops of each oil in a 1 oz bottle, adding the carrier oil to fill. Shake the bottle. The blend can be used as a rub on the body (i.e., as a chest rub), diffused (10-15 drops in a diffuser), or in a bath (30-50 drops). Do not use more than four oils at a time in any given blend.
When feeling like a cold is coming, take a tablespoon or more of the mixture, add it to hot water, steep for 10 or more minutes and drink. Can be used as a preventative measure as well.
Patricia Singer, MS, LAc, is a spiritual alchemist who uses a customized approach to assist in each client’s healing process. She uses acupuncture, shiatsu, aromatherapy, dietary therapy, sound and energy healing, ceremony, and spiritual counseling. Connect with her at PatSinger.com or 203-226-8897. She practices in Westport. See ad, page 26.
Tea for Cough and Colds
A chunk of ginger (up to 4-inch piece)
Roots and white stem of 6-8 scallions (cut green stalk off)
1 qt of water
Place ingredients in a pot, cover, allow it to simmer for 20 minutes. Strain then add honey (honey coats the throat, stopping the cough).
2-4 organic lemons sliced thinly with seeds removed
Large chunk of ginger, diced
Place the lemons and ginger in a glass jar. Cover them with honey. The ingredient amounts vary based on the size of the jar. Store in refrigerator, shaking it every couple of days. The liquid will become less thick with time. Good for three months.