Can Chinese Medicine treat the common cold/ flu?
This kind of question or situation comes up all the time. The quick answer is, most definitely. The more involved answer is as follows.
Chinese medicine (CM) has developed an immense amount of theory as well as hundreds of formulas to treat these type of conditions. They placed great importance on this area of study because they believe that a pathogen (bacteria, virus etc) that enters into to the body, to cause a cold or flu, can cause many problems down the road if not evicted or eliminated properly and quickly. For example, if one mistreats a cold or flu or does not treat it at all one runs the risk of the pathogen going into deeper layer of the body. For example, at the beginning stages of a cold or flu, CM views the pathogen in the somewhat superficial layers of the body. It hasn’t gone into to the organs. A common situation is a cold or flu that starts in the head and then slowly moves down into the lungs and later turns into something like pneumonia. This can be prevented with CM. Chinese medicine also sees untreated/mistreated colds & flues causing problems sometimes even months later. Therefore the primary objective is to ‘release the pathogen’ as soon as possible. This concept applies to a wide range of illness including asthma, allergies, as well as colds and flues. Whenever CM views the pathogen in the outer layers it tries to evict it out. Spicy warm or spicy cold medicinals and therapies that open the pores, many times creating a sweat, are used to do this. Many western therapies such as antibiotics, echinacea/goldenseal, isatis, are said to have a cold & bitter qualities that actually prevents the pathogen from leaving, suppressing it, and allowing the pathogen to go deeper in, and possibly resurfacing at a later date when the body is weak. Sometimes this resurfacing is much harder to deal with because the pathogen is at a deeper layer. Many chronic illnesses (i.e. CFIDS & Fibromyalgia) are thought to be sometimes caused by such a situation. So the answer to the question above is yes CM treats these conditions. If caught at the early stages one can usually prevent any serious drug-out battle. If the cold or flu has already latched on, then treatment is also important to evict the pathogen which will many times cut the recovery time in half.