*disclaimer: the statements below are not intended to replace diagnosis and treatment by your licensed healthcare provider.
Last night in clinic I had a young patient who was sick and sneezing/snotting all over the place. Yikes! After she left, I wiped EVERYTHING down with antiviral wipes and washed my hands vigorously. But within an hour I stated to feel funky -which probably means that I was already manifesting the crud, as I can’t imagine I could actually get sick that fast.
Anyway, now I’m sitting at home trying to kill off/cut off whatever is trying to hatch in me. I thought I would share my “tricks”. To be perfectly honest and in the spirit of full disclosure, sometimes these natural remedies work amazingly, other times, the crud get might get the better of me, but it’s always worth a shot! Here are a few to try:
1: Release the exterior. There are lots of herbal products that are “antiviral” and very cold, but many of my teachers actually think, and classical philosophy teaches, that you should first try to “Release the Exterior” and do a little sweating before you throw a bunch of “anti-toxic” cold herbs at “The Crud”. Since I’ve never had any real luck with Yin Qiao San formula myself, I’ve taken to the “Release the Exterior” method. If you have access to a Chinese Herbalist, try getting a classical “release the exterior” formula like Gui Zhi Tang (raw is best). Cook it up, drink some, take a wam shower/bath, then roll up in a sleeping bag and sweat a bit. I often put on a down coat at the same time!
2: If you can’t get a classical Chinese Formula (or as an addition to), make an herbal tea using any of these easily accessible herbs: Ginger (sheng jiang), Mint (bo he), Lemonbalm, Catnip (Jing Jie), Lavender, Tulsi/Basil, Chrysanthemum (ju hua), Angelica (bai zhi), Turmeric (jiang huang). Add in any other of your favorite “cold and flu” herbs. Try to use some fresh herbs if you have them. This gives the tea more “Qi”/Prana. Also use raw honey if you have any. Raw honey is an AMAZING medicine! You can also use Echinacea tincture (adults: 1 teaspoon every several hours. Dosing is based on a ~150lb person, cut down dose as appropriate for smaller people).
3: As I mentioned above: Sweat -but not too much: Raising the body temperature helps activate immune cells and reduce the ability of viruses to replicate. But, sweating too much will further weaken the body, so don’t over-do it.
4: Moxa Stomach 36/”Su San Li”: This is another classical Chinese Remedy. You will need to have someone, such as your acupuncturist, show you how to do this for safety, but I really love this trick -especially for true Colds (where snot is clear and aversion to cold is greater than fever/sore throat). Once you know how to do it, you can do it quite safety at home. Once again, works best if you do this in conjunction with sweating.
5: Meditation and/or rest: Both a friend and I discovered a few years ago that lying very quietly and doing a self-guided (or recorded) meditation seemed to really help at the first sign of a cold/flu. You could especially do this after moxa, drinking your tea, a warm bath and wrapping up. This can work really well if you do it soon enough. It is important to calm the mind so that the body can use all its energy towards fighting off the pathogen. Stress and distracted attention will divert the body’s anti-pathogenic resources.