Golden Light Herbs
Chinese Herbal Products

Colds and Flu

Skip Navigation Links

Chinese Medicine considers Colds and the Flu to be some combination of Heat, Cold, Wind, Dampness and Dryness. The possible combinations of these factors are nearly endless, but, the symptoms of the basic patterns are a little easier to recognize. For example, when Cold invades the body, the tongue fur will be white; When Heat invades, the tongue fur will be yellow; When Dampness invades, the tongue fur will look greasy.

Usually Cold or Heat will combine with Wind to invade the body. These common patterns are listed below along with typical symptoms. Match your symptoms with those in the chart and find the Chinese Medicine description of the kind of cold/flu you have. Then treat it accordingly.

Pattern Symptoms
Wind-Heat High fever, chills, sweat, sore throat, thirst, cough with thick yellow phlegm. Dark colored, scanty urine.

Thin yellow fur.

Wind-Cold Chills, fever, no sweat, scratchy throat, runny or stuffy nose, cough with white or clear phlegm.

Thin white tongue fur.

Floating, tight pulse

Summer Heat with Dampness Similar symptoms to Wind-Heat, but, with diarrhea  and nausea. Greater thirst and sweat.

Greasy yellow tongue fur.

Rapid pulse.

Wind-Cold with Dampness Similar symptoms to Wind-Cold, but, with tired, heavy body and sore joints.

Greasy, white tongue fur.

Dryness Similar symptoms to Wind-Heat, but, with dry mucus linings and lips and no phlegm.

It is important to distinguish between the types of cold and flu in order to select the best remedy for what you have. Just as important is to catch the cold before it gets too far. Chinese Medicine describes the usual progression of the Heat diseases as starting at the surface where it invades the Wei (Protective) Qi. At this level, there is usually a low fever and an aversion to cold, maybe a headache, thirst and cough. At this level, the invading pathogen can be pushed back out thru the pores. Treatment is usually herbs that induce sweating such as Gan Mao Tuire Chong Ji or Yin Chiao or Gan Mao Tong. If you take the medicine, drink warm water and bundle up and sweat, it is an easy matter to get over the cold overnight.

If the progression of the disease is not stopped at this point, it penetrates deeper into the body. At the next level it affects the Qi of the body. Fever gets worse as does thirst, but, other symptoms vary with the organs affected.

There are 2 more levels to which the disease can travel. Penetration to the Ying level will have symptoms that will include an even higher fever. Sleeplessness and rashes may appear. When the disease passes into the Blood level, all symptoms become extreme. Fever is critical, rashes become skin eruptions and sleeplessness becomes coma. There may be vomiting of blood.

I am purposely not going into the details of the deeper stages to which a cold or flu can penetrate. If you are unable to effect recovery within the first 3 days, the disease is likely to push further in and become more severe. If it does progress deeper, see a doctor. If you don't fully recover from even these common maladies, they can linger and manifest much later as much more serious problems. I want you to be able to help yourself, but, you must also know when to call for help. This would be the time!  

Cold diseases progress in a somewhat different manner. As Cold first penetrates the body, fever and headache occur as well as an aversion to cold. The next stage manifests alternating chills and fever and loss of appetite. The third stage is marked by sweating, thirst and an aversion to heat.

From here the disease penetrates to the Yin aspects of the body. Fever may disappear. Diarrhea and vomiting occur. The fifth stage affects the Kidneys. The extremities are cold and the desire for sleep is great. The final stage shows signs like some parts of the body are hot and other parts are cold.

The first 3 stages of Cold invasion are bad enough, but, they can be treated easily and successfully. If Cold penetrates to the forth stage where it affects the Spleen and diarrhea or vomiting occur, see a doctor. When the disease is at the surface, it can be pushed back out. When it penetrates to where it affects the Spleen and Kidneys, the situation becomes very serious. When the digestion is involved (4th stage) it is difficult to get the necessary nutrition to fight the disease. When the Kidneys are involved, all organs will be adversely affected. (The Kidneys are the root of Qi in the body.) The final stage is when Yin and Yang become likely to separate and death occurs.

Progression to the deepest levels is not a certainty. An untreated cold does not have to evolve to the most critical stages. Sometimes, your body can recover on its own in a week or two. Without help, your body will use up its resources fighting the cold. If it doesn't overcome the cold quickly, your body's defenses will become depleted and unable to defend against the next attack. If you can stop a cold/flu at its earliest stages of progressing, a speedy and full recovery are assured using up the least amount of the body's resources. Just remember, if the symptoms worsen, call a doctor for treatment/advice. Don't hesitate.

Ed Reinhard
Golden Light Herbs 

©GoldenLightHerbs 2011

Qi Tonic Cold, Flu Yang Tonic Yin Tonic Chinese English Dictionary chinese herbs
Powered By: