Common Cold and Flu in Chinese Medicine - Healers Magazine

Common Cold and Flu in Chinese Medicine

March 7, 2019

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Common Cold

Common cold usually has mild symptom compare to the flu. People with common cold are more likely to have a running or stuffy nose. Common colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations.


The flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses but they are caused by different viruses. It is because these two types of illnesses have similar flu-like symptoms, it can be quite difficult to convey the difference between them based on symptoms alone. In general, the symptoms of flu are generally worse than the common cold, and symptoms (e.g. fever, body aches, extreme tiredness, and dry cough) are more serious and intense.

Classification in Chinese Medicine

In Chinese Medical concept, we do not distinguish the cold and the flu. In fact, we separate Cold and Flu into 3 types:

  1. Wind-Cold type: Usually acquire during autumn and winter. Symptom: headache, vulnerable to cold or wind, sneeze, running nose with clear or white nasal discharge, cough with white or clear sputum, sore throat. Patients who like to drink warm water.

Food or Herbs: Boiling the brown sugar and fresh ginger with water is a good technique because the spicy and sweet taste from it will induce perspiration which then will decrease the “wind-cold evil”.

  1. Wind-Hot type: Usually acquire during spring and summer. Symptom: headache, vulnerable to heat, running nose with yellow or green nasal discharge, cough with yellow or green sputum, sore throat. Patients who like to drink ice water.

Food or Herbs: Boiling the chrysanthemum and mint with water and drinking the solution after it cools down. These herb will help clear the wind-hot evil.

  1. External-cold with Internal-hot type: Similar to Flu. Symptom: Fever, vulnerable to cold and wind, skeleton and muscle pain, chest pain, cough, sneeze.

Food or Herbs: Boiling the gypsum and ephedra with water. The gypsum will clear the heat in the body, and the ephedra will clear the cold outside of the body.

A and B type are like the cold, and C type is like the flu. Generally, cold and flu will recovered in one week without taking medication (e.g. aspirin or acetaminophen) because aspirin or acetaminophen only help patient relieve the symptoms and discomforts. Chinese medicine can help recovering the cold or flu in approximately three days.

When you get a cold or flu, just drink more water, get enough rest and put on a mask. If you still feel uncomfortable, you should visit to the Chinese medicine clinic as soon as possible.

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