Cold & Flu Remedies
The common cold is so common that it is a leading cause for doctor visits, missed work, or school absences. More than 200 different viruses can cause the common cold. Most common cold medicines are not antiviral, and do not “cure” a cold. Instead, they simply relieve cold symptoms like pain, fever, cough, and congestion until the cold runs its course.
"The Flu" is caused by influenza viruses, and infections typically occur throughout the winter and fall months. Most flu infections are mild, but some can be virulent. Each year, more than 36,000 Americans die from complications related to the flu. Although the cold medicines are used to relieve symptoms in most flu cases, antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu are needed to fight the flu virus in virulent cases. Interestingly, Tamiflu is derived from a natural acid purified from a Chinese plant called Star Anise.
The traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has a long history of combating the cold and flu. While TCM did not identify viral infection as the cause of colds or flu, it considers the cold or flu as a result of invasions of pathogenic influences or toxic substances. Such invasions start at the body’s surface, and move progressively to the body’s interior, where they become more serious. TCM categorizes cold and flu into two different types: Wind-Heat and Wind-Cold. A different TCM treatment is required for each type.
A sore throat is the most common indicator of an imminent cold or flu, and is considered symptomatic of Wind-Heat. The sore throat is then followed by symptoms like a runny nose, nasal congestion, headache, cough, and a fever.
Ideally, you’d thwart a cold or flu as soon as it starts. Cold Signoff™ (Yin Qiao Jie Du Pian) is just such a Chinese herbal remedy, and is best known for stopping cold and flu as soon as they appear. This formula is widely used in China for the cold and flu, especially when they’re in the initial phases. The herbal formula contains two herbs, Lonicera and Forsythia, that are suggested in studies to be antiviral.
If you ever used Airborne®, a popular cold supplement in America, you may be surprised to learn that the key active ingredients are Lonicera, Forsythia, and Schizonepeta. Apparently, the creators of Airborne® borrowed a page from Chinese medicine, and Yin Qiao Jie Du Pian. The key difference between the two, according to at least one study, is that the doses of these Chinese herbs in Airborne® are too small to have a real effect.
Cold Signoff™ has been shown in studies to reduce the occurrence of a cold or flu as well. When you are exposed to a crowded environment where someone has the cold or flu, or when you do not want to be out sick during an important day at work, you may take it as a preventive measure.
Another popular Chinese cold remedy is Cold Signoff KF™ (Sang Ju Wan). It is similar to Cold Signoff™ in formulation and action, but has a stronger cough suppressing function.
Although Cold Signoff™ is excellent when used at the beginning stages of the cold or flu, it’s less effective when the cold or flu has progressed into later stages. In cases of a full-blown cold or flu, Coldclear™ (Zhong Gan Qing Pian) is recommended. Coldclear™ is a Guang Ci Tang® signature formula designed to help boost the body's immune system when the cold or flu is in an advanced stage. This formula is composed of Chinese herbs that are the best known, and the most effective in TCM for removing toxins.
Among cold and flu symptoms, experiencing the chills is not very common. When chills are evident, it means that your cold or flu is of the Wind-Cold type. Another symptom of a Wind-Cold invasion is a feeling of stiffness in the head and neck. The Wind-Cold type cold or flu most occurs during the winter season.
The treatment for Wind-Cold is unique, and should not to be confused with Wind-Heat. In cases of Wind-Cold cold or flu, Kudzu Relaxe™ (Ge Gen Tang Pian) is recommended. The herbal remedy induces sweating to disperse Wind and Cold, and to relieve symptoms.
Choosing the right herbal remedies for colds or flu is important to minimize the negative impact of the cold or flu on our lives. In a perfect world, you’d never catch a cold or flu, which is why we offer Jade Defender™ (Yu Ping Feng Pian), a well regarded ancient TCM formula used for bolstering the immune system. Jade Defender™ and its major ingredient, Astragalus, are shown in studies to enhance the body’s immune system. Jade Defender™ is traditionally used in China for people who are more susceptible to the common cold and flu, to build up a defense against them. It can be used on a daily basis for months at a time.by X. Li, Ph. D.