The common cold is something that can strike us down any time of year with an average adult having a cold 2-4 times a year. Chinese medicine has had a long history of traditionally treating and preventing the common cold. In Chinese medicine 'Wind' is considered the main culprit usually associated with heat or cold that enter the body and cause colds and flu. Of course with the advent of modern medicine we are now aware that colds and flu are caused by viruses and bacteria. Does that mean we should discount some of the older traditional views and advice in the treatment of illness? I think not. Although Chinese medicine has some unusual approaches, there is still relevancy of the broad framework of Chinese medicine in treating illness and disease. One of the many strengths of Chinese medicine is its pragmatic and common sense approach to treating illness, not only with Chinese herbs and acupuncture but also with simple lifestyle and dietary advice. Below are some simple tips to aid in the recovery of the common cold.
1. Keep warm
Now of course this seems like a very obvious piece of advice but how often do we see people going about their business without a scarf or jacket. Dressing warm means also to cover the back of our neck. The chinese consider that the ‘wind’ attacks the body at its weakest points, the head and neck, and from there causes illness. By ensuring we cover up correctly we can help protect ourselves from the elements. Even in hot weather it is suggested we protect ourselves from the elements.
2. Eat simply.
Eating simply means to eat fruit and vegetables that are in season and foods that are not overly processed. A generation or two ago this wasn't considered much of an issue, as usually the fresh fruit and vegetables that was available was seasonal and the cost of something out of season was prohibitive. Now due to the global market, it is much easier and affordable to have access to heavily processed foods and out of season fruit and vegetables. In general during the cooler months we should eat warm foods that are seasonal and cooked thoroughly and as the months get warmer we can begin to start to include lightly cooked foods such as stir fries, warm salads etc. During a bout of a cold often our appetite can decrease and our digestion can get sensitive. Usually simple nourishing soups are a great option in not only providing nourishment but also help ensure you stay well hydrated. Keeping the spices simple is a good idea such as salt and pepper, some seasonal vegetables and a dry soup mix with barley and lentils. For colds accompanied with clear or white phlegm that is easy to discharge and a sensitivity to cold and wind, you could include some leeks, black pepper, garlic and ginger. For colds accompanied with yellowish phlegm that can be hard to expectorate and a sensation of feeling hot and sweaty vegetables such as celery, carrot, asparagus and bitter greens such as kale and spinach can be very useful with minimal usage of garlic, leeks and ginger.
If you do get sick remember to rest. Again this would seem to be common sense advice but too often people insist they must soldier on. They go to their jobs, social commitments and gym - not only wearing themselves down and prolonging the length of time they are unwell, but also spread their illness around.
4. Seek treatment
As mentioned Chinese medicine has had a long history in being used to treat and treat colds and flus. At Coburg Chinese Medicine we encourage people to seek treatment earlier rather than later. A stuffy nose is much easier to treat thana month long upper respiratory tract infection. A combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can be useful
The advice above is general and readers are encouraged to check with their treating health practitioners to see if it is appropriate for them.
Based in Melbourne, the Coburg Acupuncture clinic is located in the heart of Coburg on Sydney Rd and provides Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, massage and cupping services. The Coburg Clinic services people from Coburg and surrounding Northern suburbs such as Brunswick, Pascoe Vale, Preston, Fawkner, Thornbury, Northcote.
To book an appointment or see if acupuncture is right for you call (03) 9041 6569.