How to Kick your Cold

There’s a bad cold going around here in New York City.  Actually it is probably a couple.  People are coming into the office everyday coughing and sneezing up a storm.  Others have a chest cold and sinus headaches.  What is it from?

I think this changing weather does not allow your body and your energy to adjust.  So your immune system is unprepared for the bugs.

There are things you can do to prepare.  Don’t get caught without knowing what to do when you have early signs of a cold.

What to do when you start feeling sick

1. Gargling with salt water We all know that salt has long been used as a preservative for food.  This is because it prevents the spread of bacteria by dehydrating them. We can do the same in your your body.  If you feel a tickle in your throat or a sore, fight off that early infection by gargling twice a day. Gargling with salt water is also great way to fight off early infections in your throat and prevent a cold before it happens.  I recommend using kosher salt, which is very affordable, because it doesn’t have any additives that normal table salt does.

2. Ginger tea after a cold rain: After you get caught in a cold rain, we know it is easy to get sick- you get a headache, sniffles, a sore neck, and your body gets achy.  Fresh ginger tea is an ancient remedy from Chinese medicine to beat this oncoming cold. A cup is a great way to warm up and give you system a boost to fight off that cold.

3. Soup with fermented soybeans and scallions:  An ancient Chinese medicine recipe for early stage colds is a soup of scallions and fermented soy beans with noodles.  It works because it combines aromatic vegetables and helps you sweat it out.  For those of us not living near Chinatown, fermented soybeans may be hard to come by, so you can substitute other aromatic foods, like miso, garlic, and basil.  Use vegetable or chicken stock as a base.

4.  Acupuncture: Acupuncture helps boost your immune system to get rid of that pesky cold that won’t go away.  I have seen this in the clinic  but it also stands up to modern research. So if you have a cold that you can’t kick, go see your acupuncturist.

5. Chinese herbs:  Chinese herbs can work by both boosting your immunity and through anti-viral and antibiotic properties.  They are very powerful to stop the common colds and flus when they happen.  In fact, on of the first books of Chinese medicine, called Shang Han Lun, or in English On Cold Damage in Chinese, focuses on how to treat colds and other infectious diseases.

6. Chicken Soup. What your grandmother told you is true. Chicken soup is a great way to boost you immune system to prevent or treat a cold.  Countless studies have proven this for chicken soup.  I also think vegetable soup works well because it is jam packed with nutrients.

Joseph Alban, L.Ac.
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