01 Nov 2013

The Merck Manual describes the common cold as an acute viral infection of the respiratory tract, with inflammation in any or all airways, including the sinuses, throat, larynx, and often the trachea and bronchi. Fever and more severe symptoms such as aches, chills, sore throat, etc., are usually characteristics of the flu.

Why doesn’t Western Medicine have the answer?

Western medicine tries to kill germs after they have invaded, but antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses. Flu shots target a small percentage of scientists’ best guesses of this year’s flu season.

How can Chinese Medicine help with cold and flu season?

Astra 8In addition to reducing stress and getting more rest in the fall and winter seasons, be sure to stay hydrated and increase hand washing. If you are in a high stress situation, or one in which flu or colds are circulating and increasing your exposure , begin taking Astra 8, from Health Concerns, available in my office. The Chinese title for the herbs in this ancient formula is “Jade Wind Screen.” Chinese doctors proved time and again that this formula could screen out cold and flu germs. I have significant personal experience with this formula’s effectiveness in boosting the immune system. And if you get that vague feeling that you have been exposed and now have the first symptoms of a cold, take Gan Mao Ling, another Chinese herbal formula available at Whole Foods or in my office. If you have a sore throat, you are probably developing the flu, and you must purchase Yin Chao and begin taking it immediately. A day later is too late!

woman sleepingAbove all, get plenty of sleep during this Yin time of year (the more inner, restorative, quiet time of year), and get regular exercise to keep your immune system in good shape. Because the sun sets earlier, figure out a way to get in those walks or work-outs earlier in the day.

Be well, and call me with any questions!

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About the Author


Janet Barrows, has a Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (MSOM) from the Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College in Berkeley, CA. She is a California State Licensed Acupuncturist (L. Ac.) practicing acupuncture and integrative medicine in Santa Rosa, CA. Her practice includes acupuncture, natural herbs, facial rejuvenation, nutrition, and medical qigong.