Cold and Flu Season

Dr. Meschi Ph.D., ND, CNC
Laguna Hills, CA
December 2001

With cold and flue season in full effect across much of the nation people will need all the help they can get. Choosing the right herbs for a common cold/flue really depends on what kind of cold someone has.

Common cold more likely will come in three “varieties” or patterns of symptoms. “Cold”, “Hot”, and “Part cold, Part Hot.”

“Cold” colds are characterized by chills, drippy rhinitis with thin, clear or white mucous frequent sneezing and coughing. Other than a little chill and a few sneezes and generally patients do not feel very ill. But the symptoms can linger for several weeks if left unchecked and particularly if the patient has a very weak immune system.

Hot” colds in contrast, are characterized by fever, heavy painful sinus congestion, thick and sticky yellow green mucous, aches and inflammation, and general illness. The overall pattern is flu-like and the patients feels pretty lousy.

“Part Hot, Part Cold” colds are a multiple circus of symptoms characterized by alteration between fever and chills, congestion and drainage. The basic principle for herbal treatments of colds is to balance the symptom pattern with specific herbs that offer the opposites “temperature”. In other words, treat a “cold” cold with warming herbs, and a “hot” cold with cooling herbs Warming the “Cold” cold.

This is very inexpensive and easy to make and it contains a lot of antiviral compounds. Take one clove of garlic and mince it finely, mix with a quarter to half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper and freshly squeezed lemon – chug it down with a glass of water, that should warm you up. Fresh ginger is another good warming herb and a circulatory stimulant. Simply chop up a thumb sized chunk of fresh root and boil it in a teapot full of water for several minutes, then just drink up! You can sometimes add a little bit of cinnamon bark which is also a warming herb. While we are on the subject, you can never go wrong with a hot chicken soup or a vegetable broth.

Patients with “cold” colds often feel a need to warm, and there is no better way to do that other than with a hot herbal bath. An herbal bath would be a combination of Chamomile flowers, Calendula flowers, and Spearmint or lemon balm leaves.

Cooling the “Hot” cold.

In this situation, stay away from ginger, garlic, cayenne and other warming herbs. These patients will benefit from Echinacea products made by Medi Herb. Some patients with “hot” colds may enjoy a bath in cooling herbs such as elder flowers and peppermints.

Taming the “Part Hot, Part Cold” cold.

For colds with an alternating pattern, cinnamon and ginger which offer warming and cooling effects would be beneficial. Also a few drops of Eucalyptus oil in a bowl of boiling water could break up the congestion associated with “Part Hot, Part Cold” colds.

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