Food for thought: Home remedies for combating The Common Cold

In Chinese medicine there are two types of common cold:

Wind-Heat: Symptoms include a blocked nose that does not run, sore throat, thick yellow or green nasal discharge, thirst, sweating, aversion to heat and are often accompanied by a headache. Wind-heat conditions are treated by using diaphoretics with cooling or cold characteristics.

Wind-Cold: Common in the winter and spring. Symptoms include: runny nose, sneezing, no sweating, inability to get warm under covers, aversion to cold, excessive build up and/or discharge of sinus congestion, typically white in color. Wind-cold conditions are treated by using warm diaphoretics- or sweat inducing foods. What you eat during a cold has a huge impact on how the cold will progress.

Remember the following when combating a cold: -Drink plenty of warm/hot water, such as teas, throughout the day -Eat only light and easily digestible foods -Liquids including congee, soups and broths should form the bulk of your diet -Refrain from fish, meat and fats- specifically lamb, beed, pork and chicken after taking a diaphoretic (ginger, scallion, etc.) to induce sweating -Eat plenty of fruit, especially oranges, kiwi, tomatoes, apples and pears -Consume green veggies and salads -Avoid spicy ingredients until after your cold symptoms have disappeared

During the initial stages of a cold, when you just start sneezing and your nose begins to run- try these nose drops!

Garlic OR Daikon Nose Drops: (If garlic is too powerful use daikon juice instead)

2 fresh garlic cloves, peeled or 1 TBSP (15 grams) fresh daikon, grated 1/4 cup (60 mL) water at room temperature Press the garlic cloves to extract the juice. Mix the garlic juice with water- the proportion should be 1 part garlic or daikon juice to 10 parts water. Apply the juice as nose drops.

When your nose is blocked- try this natural alternative to over-the-counter meds!

Scallion inhalers 1 white head of scallion, slice lengthwise Place the scallion slices directly under your nostrils. Inhale deeply. Continue breathing deeply until your nasal passages are freed.

When you feel a cold coming on- try this sweat-inducing soup!

Ginger and Scallion Soup 2 cups (500 mL) water 2 TBSP (30 grams) fresh ginger, sliced 2 TBSP (30 grams) white head of scallion, sliced In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the ginger and scallion and simmer over a low flame for 15 minutes, or until the ginger is soft and its smell has spread through your kitchen. Drink hot before bedtime. Stay away from the cold and especially cold drafts.

When a cold is in its early stages and accompanied by a headache- try this warming remedy!

Garlic and Scallion Congee 3 cups (750 mL) water 1/2 cup (100 grams) white rice 3 garlic cloves, finely minced 2 tsp. (10 grams) minced scallion, white heads only In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the rice, return to a boil, then lower the flame and simmer for 20 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally. When the rice has cooked down to a gruel, add the garlic and scallion. Cook for 5 more minutes over a low flame. Consume hot once a day, as part of a meal. Wear heavy clothing or get under the covers to maintain the heat of the congee within your body.

For Wind-cold symptoms, try these sweat-inducing remedies right before bed:

Ginger and Pear Soup 2 cups (500 mL) water 1 pear 1 TBSP (15 grams) sliced fresh ginger 1 TBSP (15 grams) sliced scallion, white heads only 2 eggs, beaten Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Cut the pear in half, do not peel it. Add the pear, ginger, and scallion to the water. Return to a boil, cover the pan, and reduce the flame to low. Simmer for 20 minutes. In the meantime, thoroughly beat the eggs in a glass or ceramic bowl. When the broth is ready (when the aroma of ginger spreads through the kitchen) pour the decoction into the bowl containing the two beaten eggs. Mix and drink the decoction while it is still hot, then get under a heavy quilt or thick blanket to start sweating. Take this remedy once per day for 3-4 days, or until the cold goes away.

Ginger and Onion Rice: 1 tsp. (5 grams) sliced fresh ginger 1 scallion, including roots and green tops 1 cup (200 grams) rice 6 cups (1.5 Liters) water 2 tsp. (10 mL) rice vinegar Put the ginger, scallion, rice and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the flame. Simmer on a low flame with the lid half-covering the saucepan, stirring occasionally. Cook for 25 minutes, or until the rice has become a gruel. Stir in the vinegar. Cook for another minute or two. Divide into four portions. Take one portion, hot, then get into bed or cover up with a warm blanket. Take this remedy 2x/day while the cold persists.

For Wind-heat symptoms, try these cooling  remedies right before bed:

Peppermint and Scallion Broth 20-30 fresh peppermint leaves, or 2 heaped teaspoons (10+ grams) dried peppermint 2 or 3 crushed white heads of scallion 2 cups (500 mL) water Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the flame. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until half the water has evaporated. Drink hot or warm.

Ginger Tea 1 cup (250 mL) water 1/4 cup (50 grams) fresh ginger, thinly sliced 1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar 1 tsp (5 grams) green tea leaves Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the ginger and sugar. Turn the burner off and wait for 1 minute, then add the tea leaves.  (The green tea leaves contain Vitamin C so waiting 1 minute post-boiling ensures the vitamin is not destroyed by the heat). Steep for 5 minutes before drinking. *You can add 1/2 tsp vinegar to enhance the tea’s warming and detoxifying effect *Recommendation: eat some rice congee immediately after taking this tea

Watermelon and Tomato Juice: *best in the summer for hot and dry colds* 2 pounds fresh watermelon 2 pounds fresk tomatoes Thin cotton towels or cheese clothes Chop the watermelon and tomatoes into small pieces, keeping them separate. Put them separately into thin cotton towels. Twist each to extract the juice. Mix the juices in equal proportions, Drink at room temperature, slightly cooled but not cold, as often as you like *also combats dehydration, quenches thirst, relieves indigestion and lack of appetite* Source: The healing Cuisine of China: 300 recipes for vibrant Health and Longevity by ZHUO ZHAO & George Ellis

How to stay healthy when your family and friends are all getting sick!

Did you know that Acupuncture is EXCELLENT for building up your immune system and knocking out the common cold and associated symptoms before they get a foothold in your body and wreak havoc on your body and mind?

It’s true! Getting acupuncture regularly will help boost your Defensive Qi (Wei Qi) in your body, helping you stave off illness and recover faster when you do get sick. Check out this newsletter by Licensed Acupuncturist, Jessica Chen, that goes into depth about wind-cold and wind-heat invasions AKA the common cold and ways to prevent them this flu season!

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Remember these tips to staying healthy while all your coworkers and friends are calling out sick!

-Drink warm beverages: If you drink Iced coffees- switch to hot coffees or better yet, switch to teas! Teas have many herbal properties that can help combat illness. Take MINT for example- mint tea can soothe a sore throat!

Eat warm foods: Stews and warm meals are great for the cold, winter months. Avoid eating cold foods such as salads and stick to warm root vegetables and heartier foods. Try to avoid spicy foods or greasy foods and excess sugar intake- which will all produce phlegm and exacerbate any cold symptoms.

Keep your neck covered: Now that it is officially scarf season I’m sure you are noticing many people sporting cute and stylish scarves with their winter outfits- but fashion benefits aside, scarves do hold a higher value to your health! Wearing a scarf will protect the back of your neck- which in Chinese Medicine is considered your wind-gate- the entrance way that pathogenic factors such as wind-cold and wind-heat use to enter into your body. It is important to keep this area covered when you are out facing the elements this winter to avoid getting sick.

Get regular Acupuncture treatments: To build your immune system, make sure to get regular acupuncture treatments prior to, and during the fall and winter months or changing seasons. Make sure that as soon as you feel the slightest tinge of a cold or sore throat coming on- you call your acupuncturist and book an appointment PRONTO! It can mean the difference between being sick for another couple days or catching a full on cold and being out of commission for weeks!!

*Remember there are many stages to the common cold and your acupuncturist can help aid a faster recovery, regardless of what stage you are in*