Clinical Information For the Treatment Of Flu
What Is Flu?
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.
What Patterns Are Related To 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:Lung Wind Invasion - Wind ColdLung Wind Invasion - Wind Heat
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Which Tam Healing and Tongren Therapy Protocols Apply To Flu?
Flu - Tam Healing and Tongren Therapy 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 and tong ren therapy protocols may be used with flu:
3 Points Are Empirically Important For Flu
1 TCM Herb Are Potentially Used With Flu
Formulas and Products @ Our Store Associated With Flu
The Following (13)Formulas TCM Herbal Formulas May Be Useful For Flu
Chai Hu Gui Zhi Tang Wan (Bupleurum and Cinnamon Twig Decoction)
- A combination of gui zhi tang and xiao chai hu tang - together they work with both taiyang and shaoyang syndromes - common colds and flu, fever, chills, joint pain, nausea, abdominal/epigastric distention. Neuralgias from wind invasions - trigeminal neuralgia, frozen shoulder, etc.
- With the right underlying factors also useful for a range of middle jiao issues such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, cholecystitis, gastric ulcers, pancreatitis, appendicitis.
Gan Mao Ling (Miraculous Cold Pills)
- Common cold and flu patterns, particularly at the early stages.
- Can be used in lieu of actual bacterial or viral infection as long as flu or cold like symptoms are manifest.
Ge Gen Wan (Kudzu Decoction)
- Wind-cold invasion with upper neck and back pain - cold or flu, mild fever, no sweating, stiffness.
- Avoid with fever.
- Due to having ephedra use caution in patients with hypertension, panic disorder, insomnia, etc.
Gui Zhi Tang Wan (Cinnamon Twig Decoction)
- Gan Mao (wind-cold) - Common cold or flu (or related illnesses, asthma, rhinitis, etc.) presenting with fever and chills (unrelieved by sweating), headache, aversion to wind, no desire for fluids, dry cough, sore throat.
- Pain from cold - may manifest in the joints, sciatic pain, neuralgia.
- Some skin conditions that are worse with cold and tend to be dry and itchy.
- Potentially useful post-partum (for colds or fevers) to strengthen the exterior (wei qi).
Huang Lian Jie Du Wan (Coptis Decoction To Relieve Toxicity)
- Clears fire toxins (damp heat, toxic heat, fire) from all three jiaos - formula has an antibiotic function which has a broad range of uses in conditions arising from damp heat in the body. Acute bacterial infections, dystentary, fever (of unknown origin), acute bronchitis, acute conjunctivitis, UTI.
- Hypertension when it arises from fire/toxic heat.
- A range of skin issues - boils, acne, mastitis, pyogenic skin infections, gingivitis.
- Disorders of the middle jiao - hepatitis (particularly acute infectious), jaundice, H-pylori, gastritis.
- Arrest bleeding in reckless bleeding from heat.
- Gu syndrome conditions with the right underyling factors - IBS, Lyme, other inflammatory conditions.
- Generally only used for acute situations, rarely taken for longer than 15-20 days. For longer use watch for signs of damage to the spleen system in TCM terms.
- Avoid in patients with Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency. G6PD is an inherited condition usually occurring in males, more commonly in those of African and Mediterranean descent. Triggers include infections, stress, fava beans, aspirin, and other drugs. When symptoms are triggered, they include fever, dark urine, abdominal and back pain, fatigue, and pale skin. Most people recover in a few days without treatment, but avoiding relapses is important.
Huo Xiang Zheng Qi Wan (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.
- Not suitable for patients that present with yin and/or blood deficiency.
Jing Fang Bai Du Wan (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.
- Avoid with issues arising from wind-heat, possibly yin qiao would be far more suitable.
Qing Shu Yi Qi Tang Wan (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.
Ren Shen Yang Rong Wan (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.
- 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.
Xiao Chai Hu Tang Wan (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.
- Use with caution with yin and/or blood deficiencies.
- Avoid cold, raw, and spicy foods while taking xiao chai hu tang.
Yin Qiao Wan (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.
Yu Ping Feng Wan (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.
- Particularly useful for children who always get sick often and tend towards the worst versions of whatever pathogen is going around (i.e. illnesses that quickly travel deeply - common cold to bronchitis, etc.) - often needs to be taken for many months, ideally during a period when they are not sick.
- 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.
Where Do I Go Next?
Recent Questions From Our Forum...
Have questions about flu? Or want to discuss treatment techniques? You may reach us and our community of practitioners by using our forums
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