Influenza ("Flu") and the common cold are respiratory illnesses caused by different viruses. In the United States, influenza ("flu") viruses are most common during the fall and winter months, thereby this time of year is called the “flu season.” azendea believes in holistic day-to-day living through combining knowledge and practices from the western world as well as the far east. Here are some tips we have to help you prepare for the flu season.
How do I catch a cold/flu?
A common cold or flu is caused by a virus, usually an airborne one that is inhaled. In some cases, a common cold may be part of an overall case of a flu. A cold generally does not result in serious health problems as a flu (see comparison on the left from CDC). Chinese medicine attributes catching a cold to bad weather. As the body uses up Defensive Qi (Wei Qi) to combat harmful, incoming Wind elements, it renders itself susceptible to invasion from viruses.
What can I do to prevent catching a cold/flu?
Protect yourself from germs
Washing your hands often can help protect you from germs. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Regularly clean frequently touched things and surfaces, such as doorknobs, countertops, computer keyboards, refrigerator handles, and phones will also help reduce germs. And don't be a germ-spreader - If you are sick, stay home from school, work, and public places so you won't be spreading your illness to others.
Cover your head and neck with a hat or scarf to protect your meridians. Meridians are like invisible highways of your body where the Yin and Yang Qi (energy) flows in and out of certain organs, keeping them vital and healthy. When the Bladder Channel is exposed or most vulnerable, the wind/cold/pathogen enters in your body, causing imbalances and weakens your immunity.
Get help from Mother Nature
Try a Fire Cider - A fire cider is a traditional immune-supporting remedy with deep roots in folk medicine. It is most popularly championed by my teacher, herbalist Rosemary Gladstar. It is a zesty infused vinegar, packed with powerful immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and circulatory herbs. The addition of hot peppers and a little local honey make it both spicy and sweet, hence the name.
Herbal ingestion / Tea Infusion:
Elderberry - Daily tea or making Elderberry Syrup.
Echinacea - Start taking supplements or drinking tea daily 7 days before you begin traveling.
Chinese Herbs add on:
Licorice - nourishes your digestive system and harmonize the Qi
Astragalus - protects the outer layer of your body and lungs
American Ginseng - Replenishes and increase Qi
How do I fight off a cold/flu?
If you feel a cold coming on, try this for a few days: Boil a bowl of water. Add one to three drops of Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus-globulus) essential oil to the hot water and breathe in the steam. This will ease congestion and boost your immunity. Drape a towel over your head and the bowl for a more intense experience.
Boost your immunity - Diffuse citrus essential oil such as Sweet Orange (Citrus-sinensis), and Grapefruit (Citrus-x-paradisi) to help support the immune system and promote well-being. Diffusing Tea Tree (Melaleuca-alternifolia) essential oil can help fight infection.
Use a humidifier - Both Western and Chinese Medicine recommend the use of a humidifier to fight against the flu. In Western Medicine, a humidifier helps provide extra moisture through inhalation to the lungs, loosening thick mucus in the nose and chest. In Chinese Medicine, it helps open pores, which stimulates circulation of Defensive Qi.
Get A good night sleep allow your body to recover and repair itself.
Drink plenty of water to replenish lost fluid and also help flush out impurities. You can also steep some lemon slices with hot water, and add some honey for restoration and prevent infection. Place one drop of Eucalyptus Eucalyptus-globulus) or Peppermint (Mentha-x-piperita) essential oil on a tissue, inhale deeply to help you breathe easier.
Take a warm bath - taking a warm bath right before you go to bed may help you feel better. Add a few drops of Lavender (Lavandula-angustifolia) or Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus-globulus) essential oil with bath salt. The exception is when you have a fever, chills, and body aches. In Chinese medicine, taking a warm bath is not advisable, as it would want to bring more "wind" going into the body. Therefore, instead of taking a warm bath, using a heating pad is recommended to keep body temperature warm.
Massage pressure points
About three fingers from the knee
Press with index and middle fingers. 10+ times
Boost immunity and prevent cold/flu
Stomach Channel (Stomach flu)
Massage with two thumbs.
Apply light pressure. Press, Pause, and Release for about 10x
Clears Wind and Heat (headaches, chills, and body aches)
Bile Channel (Headache, Clears Heat, Insomnia)
Press with thumb, index and middle fingers.
Clears Wind and dampness type of flu/cold (chills and body aches, clear runny nose or phlegm)
Bile Channel (Back pain, body aches)
Consult a physician if symptoms last longer than a week.
Shealy, C. M.D., Ph.D. (2017) The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Healing Remedies.
Worwood, V. (1991) The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy
Webmd.com. How to stop a cold: https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/features/stop-a-cold#1
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