Cure the Common Cold & Flu with Chinese Medicine

Did you know that Traditional Chinese Medicine has had cures for the common cold & influenza for thousands of years?


Colds & Flu are externally contracted illnesses. They appear suddenly and usually include a mixture of the following symptoms:

§ Headache

§ Body aches

§ Runny nose (clear, yellow or green discharge)

§ Watery eyes

§ Nasal congestion or obstruction

§ Sore or scratchy throat

§ Sneezing

§ Coughing

§ Fever and/or Chills

§ Tightness in the chest

§ Itching or Rash

§ Nausea, Vomiting or Loss of Appetite

§ Digestive disturbances


Medications bought over-the-counter may alleviate some of the symptoms, but they are unable to address the underlying viral or bacterial pathogens that create the symptoms. Antibiotics are helpful against bacteria, but not viruses. Herbal formulas are very effective, but only when the appropriate formulas are taken properly.


Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is effectively able to treat both Common Cold & Flu, and categorizes the symptoms into the following most common patterns:




Clinical Manifestations

Common Herbal Formulas

(far from a complete list)


§ Chills > Fever

§ No sweating

§ Headache, general body ache

§ Stiff neck

§ Sneezing

§ Stuffed/Runny Nose with clear discharge

§ Itchy throat

§ Cough possible

§ Lack of thirst

§ Tongue coat = thin & white

§ Bi Yan Pian (runny nose)

§ Bi Yan Qing Du Chong Ji

§ Gan Mao Ling

§ Yin Qiao San

§ Xiao Qing Long Tang


(Wind-Cold left untreated eventually becomes Wind-Heat)

§ Fever > Chills

§ Sweating

§ Headache

§ Sore throat, swollen tonsils, coughing

§ Stuffed/Runny Nose and/or Cough with yellow or green sticky sputum

§ Thirsty

§ Tongue tip is Red. Coat is white or yellow

§ Sang Ju Yin

§ Gan Mao Ling

§ Gan Mao Jie Du Chong Ji

§ Yin Qiao San

§ Chuan Xin Lian


§ Fever, which is not relieved by sweating

§ Head feels heavy

§ Heavy or sore limbs

§ Cough or wheezing

§ Runny Nose

§ Profuse phlegm in nose or lungs

§ Irritability

§ Thirsty but no desire to drink

§ Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite

§ Infrequent urination

§ Tongue has thick yellow coat

§ Sang Ju Yin Pian

§ Er Chen Wan



Since most colds or flu present with a mixture of symptoms, a combination of 2-3 formulas may be required. The appropriate imbalance must be determined first and then followed with aggressive herbal treatment for a minimum of 2 and maximum of 14 days. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, 1-3 acupuncture treatments may also be necessary. Younger children respond so well to herbs that acupuncture is often unnecessary.


In general:

§ Warm, Acrid herbs drive out “wind-cold” patterns by encouraging sweating

§ Cool, Acrid herbs combat & expel “wind-heat” patterns

§ Aromatic herbs attack “wind-damp” patterns by dispersing dampness & harmonizing the digestive system.


Acupuncture accelerates the healing process by boosting the body’s natural defenses (immune system). It also alleviates symptoms – often immediately – but requires herbal and dietary support to achieve fast & lasting results. Herbal patents destroy both viruses and bacteria, alleviate symptoms, and push the pathogen out of the body while strengthening our immune system. In the event of a viral outbreak (flu), you will see best results when you begin taking herbs at the first signs of symptoms. The earlier the response, the quicker the recovery. In fact, beginning a regimen of immune-enhancing herbs now can prevent illness down the road. As in many areas of our life, the best defense is a strong offense.


Until you are able to recognize the patterns yourself, you should rely on a trained & licensed herbal practitioner. Most Licensed Acupuncturists (L.Ac.) have comprehensive training in treating upper respiratory disorders with both acupuncture and herbal medicine.

Becoming aware of the correct pattern as symptoms appear will become easier with practice. A Licensed Acupuncturist or Chinese Medicine practitioner can verify or modify the pattern for you as you become more familiar with them. Until you have experience treating yourself this way, you should always consult an herbalist.