Everyone seems to be coming down with some type of bug these days. Since late Nov the weather has been uncharacteristically cold, sometimes with bouts of wind. A few weeks ago, I was conversing with a friend who lives in the bay area, where on top of cold there is considerable dampness.
In Chinese medicine the weather is a pathogen. Cold, wind, and damp are the illness factors against which the body must be protected. There is no coincidence that when the weather gets colder people “catch cold.” Modern thinking has gotten us a bit away from the traditional conceptions of illness coded in the language. We now have an updated terminology of flu and viruses, which obscures why remedies as simple as chicken soup or lemon and cayenne often work.
This confusion is not particular to those encumbered with the language of modern microbes. Since the remarkable success of antibiotics, even practitioners of Chinese medicine East and West have fallen prey to a mindset that ignores the signs of cold in favor of herbs that parallel antibiotics in their cold nature. The “nature” of a remedy, its thermogenic or cryogenic properties, is of central import in real Chinese medicine, but biomedicine’s perspective on inflammation has come to overshadow this traditional distinction. As a result then, the ice cold remedies like Yinqiao San have attained a special place among Chinese herbal patents for their antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties despite the signs the body might be showing.
The point here is not to knock Yinqiao. It is clearly a very effective formula… when used correctly, but that’s the point. Most of the time it is not. This is because having a cold is not the same as having “a hot.” We return to the instance of my friend in the Bay area. He had actually taken some Yinqiao for a few days and was still feeling horrible. Poor guy should have noted these signs to quickly alleviate his suffering.
- Runny Nose
- No thirst and desire for warm beverages
- Little appetite When you have these symptoms, then efforts should be made to warm the body. Avoid cold foods, particularly fruit juices and raw vegetables. Cold is a very real pathogen that needs to be treated with warmth. When your efforts at managing seasonal colds are to no avail, then it’s time for the Next Step