Common Cold - Basics
The common cold is transmitted through inhalation of and physical contact with one of the 200 different viruses that cause cold symptoms. These symptoms include coughing, sneezing, sore throat, congestion and headache.
Below you will find alternative and natural treatment options including those from a Chinese Medicine perspective for the common cold.
Common Cold - Diagnostic Patterns
The Chinese Medicine treatment of common cold generally involves arriving at the appropriate TCM diagnosis or pattern. This pattern within the individual is what treatment is based on not the general condition (see treating the cause and not the symptoms).
The following patterns may represent the underlying contributing factors for the development of common cold:
Common Cold - Acupuncture Protocols
The treatment of conditions with acupuncture can be a complicated endeavor that should only be undertaken by individuals with a deep understanding of the underlying Chinese Medicine theory (and/or whatever system being used for treatment). There are many approaches, but generally speaking few viable approaches are involved on a point to condition basis. Rather using proper diagnostic procedures the patients diagnostic pattern is ascertained and that is what is treated. The protocols listed here exemplify some of these clinical approaches.
The following Acupuncture Treatment Protocols May Be Used With Common Cold
Common Cold - Tam Healing - Tong Ren Protocols
Tong Ren Therapy is the energy healing/medical qi gong aspect of the Tam Healing System. The areas of focus for common cold that we would use in Tong Ren techniques form the basis for our acupuncture treatments as well. Generally you would mix these primary points with points specific to the patients underlying TCM pattern and then our tuina (medical massage) would be largely focused on these points as well.
The following Tam Healing/Tong Ren Therapy Protocols May Be Used With Common Cold
Common Cold - Formulas From Our Store
The following herbal formulas are potentially useful in the process of treating common cold. For a complete list from our store with more details see our common cold formula section.
Common Cold - Questions
Need treatment options for common cold and not finding the information you need?
Using our forums our staff and our community may offer guidance with regards to the treatment of common cold.
Common Cold - Related Acupuncture Points
The following (10) acupuncture points may be useful for common cold. A subset of these could potentially be useful with acupressure stimulation and/or tongren therapy methods as well.
Generally treatment would be based on the TCM patterns listed above instead of selecting points by function alone, (see general points selection rules.)
Herbal Medicine Blog Posts
The following (15) Formulas TCM Herbal Formulas May Be Useful For Common Cold
- Ligusticum Tea Pills
- Headaches, primarily from wind-cold (but used with wind-heat/wind-damp), with neck stiffness, muscle aches and/or nasal discharge.
- In certain cases may be useful for migraines, frequent headaches - particularly when they are influenced by cold weather and/or changing from warm to cold environments.
- Rhinitis, sinusitis.
- Expel Wind
- Release Wind from the Skin and Channels
- Use only with direction during pregnancy.
- Avoid in cases of headache from liver yang rising or deficiencies of qi and/or blood.
- Two Aged Herbs
- The primary base formula to resolve phlegm damp, particularly in the lungs and GI system - cough (with white mucus), plugged ears, sinus blockage - along with GI symptoms of nausea, vomiting.
- Upper respiratory tract infections, bronchitis, emphysema, COPD - when arising from phlegm damp.
- Phlegm accumulation in the head symptoms such as dizziness, insomnia, meniere's disease, alcohol hangover.
- Cysts from phlegm accumulation - fibroids, breast cyst, ovarian cyst, thryoid cysts, goiter.
- Treat Phlegm
- Dry Dampness and Expel Phlegm
- Avoid in patients with yin deficiency - i.e. cough from dryness.
- Miraculous Cold Pills
- Common cold and flu patterns, particularly at the early stages.
- Can be used in lie of actual bacterial or viral infection as long as flu or cold like symptoms are manifest.
- Clear Heat
- Clear Heat and Relieve Toxicity
- Agastache Powder to Correct the Qi
- Acute flu or cold symptoms including fever, aversion to cold, headaches, sinus pressure, runny nose.
- Vomitting and diarrhea from interior damp with possible abdominal cramps or pains.
- Expel Dampness
- Transform Damp Turbidity
- Not suitable for patients that present with yin and/or blood deficiency.
- Schizonepeta and Siler Powder to Overcome Pathogenic Influences
- Early stages of disease arising from wind cold damp - common cold, flu, bronchitis, mumps.
- Early stages of skin diseases - boils, carbuncles, eczema, dermatitis with the right underlying factors.
- Mastitis arising from cold/damp.
- Release the Exterior
- Release Exterior Cold
- Avoid with issues arising from wind-heat, possibly yin qiao would be far more suitable.
- Clear Summer Heat and Augment the Qi
- Please note that there are two formulas with the same name but slightly different compositions. One is from Wang's Wen Re Jing Wei and tonifies the yin more strongly, the other (which is the one discussed here) is from Li's Pi Wei Lun (Discussion of the Spleen and Stomach) and tonifies the spleen more strongly. Both have similar usages but are not directly interchangeable.
- Clears summerheat and dries dampness - summer colds and flus, heatstroke - fever, fatigue, excessive sweating with loose stools and heaviness in the body.
- Along with respiratory infections in the right cases certain types of asthma may be appropriate for this formula.
- Dampheat related inflammatory condtions such as Colitis are approprirate with the right underlying factors.
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with symptoms of spleen deficiency and heat.
- Wtih the right underlying factors the range of perimenopausal symptoms may be appropriate - low libido, fatigue, water retention, fibroids, heavy cycles. Where this appear with spleen qi deficiency signs and kidney weakness, this formula may be appropriate.
- Clear Heat
- Relieve Summerheat
- Ginseng Decoction to Nourish the Nutritive Qi
- Tonifies both qi and blood and nourishes the heart and calms the spirit - generally used for weakness from longer term or deep diseases such as cancer and for a host of other conditions affecting a broad range of the body and psyche such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and autoimmune conditions such as Lupus, Scleroderma, MCTD.
- May be used alone or in conjunction with a formula such as yu ping feng wan to enhance immunity - particularly in patients with frequent colds and flus.
- Raynaud's condition in addition to the other connective tissue issues listed above.
- Micturition syncope, nephritis, cancers of the genitourinary tract.
- Male infertility, possibly with Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan, for sperm volume and motility issues.
- Along with other immune benefits, hepatitis C.
- Lung cancer.
- Tonify the Qi and Blood
- Use with caution or seek an alternative in deficiency cases with very pronounced sensations of coldness. Part of this is due to the relatively neutral (i.e. non warming) aspects of this formula.
- Minor Bupleurum Decoction
- Shao Yang Syndrome (or "lesser yang stage") - alternating fever and chills, hypochondriac pain, irritability, bitter taste in mouth, poor appetite, nausea. Often used for illnesses (chronic or short-term) such as the flu, etc. that have "cleared" but not completely. People will describe not feeling quite right or having a range of low level symptoms for months or longer after a particular illness. Instead of fever and chills alternating they may manifest with cold extremities and warm interior or other variations.
- A range of liver related conditions including malaria, jaundice, hepatitis, liver cancer, meniere's disease, general protection from medicines that may harm the liver, etc. among issues with other digestive organs - pancreatitis, stomatitis, gastritis.
- Liver/speen disharmonies resulting in broader issues such as depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, menstrual irregularities (PMS, cramping, etc.).
- Other general immune issues such as the common cold, flu, tonsillitis, general seasonal allergies with the right underlying factors.
- Regulate and Harmonize the Liver and Spleen
- Use with caution with yin and/or blood deficiencies.
- Avoid cold, raw, and spicy foods while taking xiao chai hu tang.
- Minor Blue Dragon Pills
- Cold/flu like symptoms such as aversion to cold, cough, clear watery phlegm -from exterior wind cold invasion.
- Wheezing, heavy sensation, edema due to interior water accumulation.
- Release the Exterior
- Release Exterior-Interior Excess
- Not meant for long term use.
- Magnolia Flower Drink To Clear The Lungs
- Colds and/or allergies with heat signs (yellow mucus and/or fever, etc.).
- Chronic sinus congestions / issues, chronic sinusitis, chronic rhinitis, loss of smell.
- Nasal polyps with the right underlying factors.
- Difficult to resolve sinus issues with thick, sticky mucus.
- Headaches from sinus congestion.
- Release the Exterior
- Release Exterior Disorders with Head and Neck Symptoms
- May not be appropriate with heat signs from lung yin deficiency.
- Honeysuckle and Forsythia Formula
- Common cold or flu presenting with fever w/slight or no chills, headache, desire for fluids, cough, sore throat.
- Acute respitory infections, acute fever, tonsillitis, canker sores.
- Release the Exterior
- Release Exterior Wind Heat
- Jade Windscreen Formula
- Frequent colds, flus, chronic bronchitis - general low immunity to common infections.
- Spontaneous sweating, aversion to wind and/or cold.
- With appropriate diagnosis may be used to treat acute facial paralysis/Bell's Palsy.
- Stabilize and Bind
- Stabilize the Exterior and the Lungs
- Use with caution with patients presenting with yin deficiency.
- Do not use for spontaneous sweating due to an exterior syndrome - only for sweating due to wei qi deficiency.
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