Flu - Basics
The flu is a respiratory illness caused by an influenza virus. The most common form of the flu is seasonal influenza, which peaks in the late fall and winter. Symptoms include headache, fever, sore throat, body aches, chills, vomiting, cough, runny nose, diarrhea and tiredness. People at risk for seasonal flu include the elderly, young children, pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions such as diabetes. The flu is contagious and can be transmitted from person to person, or through contact with the virus on the surface of an object.
Below you will find alternative and natural treatment options including those from a Chinese Medicine perspective for the flu.
Flu - Diagnostic Patterns
The Chinese Medicine treatment of flu 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 flu:
Flu - 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 flu 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 Flu
Flu - Formulas From Our Store
The following herbal formulas are potentially useful in the process of treating flu. For a complete list from our store with more details see our flu formula section.
Flu - Questions
Need treatment options for flu and not finding the information you need?
Using our forums our staff and our community may offer guidance with regards to the treatment of flu.
Flu - Related Acupuncture Points
The following (3) acupuncture points may be useful for flu. 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.)
Flu - Related Chinese Herbs
The following (1) chinese herb may be useful for flu. In most cases, however, treatment with Chinese Herbal Medicine is done with herbal formulas based on the TCM patterns listed above instead of selecting herbs by function alone. When available, relevant formulas will appear below and/or in the store listings above.
Herbal Medicine Blog Posts
The following (9) Formulas TCM Herbal Formulas May Be Useful For Flu
- 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.
- 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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