Traditional Chinese Medicine for Treating Cold & Flu

Updated: Jul 5, 2020

With school already back in session, peak cold and flu season is right around the corner!

In Western medicine, there is no cure for the common cold. Cold and flu drugs may treat symptoms, but their effectiveness varies and some of their ingredients can have side effects varying from inconvenient (drowsiness, high blood pressure, and anxiety), to dangerous (such as hemorrhagic strokes).

Chinese medicine strikes at the source, not just the symptoms, to alleviate cold and flu more quickly than conventional methods.

Chinese Medicine for Cold & Flu

Chinese medicine focuses on "pushing out" the pathogen rather than just neutralizing it, cutting down on lingering symptoms and preventing the virus from regaining a foothold and starting a recurring cycle of illness that can potentially become more serious.

Chinese medicine prescribes natural herbs to rid the body of viruses. Many Chinese herbs have anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.

Since colds and flu come from external pathogens, symptoms can change as the virus spreads. Unlike over-the-counter medication, Chinese herbal prescriptions can be adjusted as symptoms change to combat the virus more effectively and specifically.

Herbs can bolster the immune system to help the body naturally combat viruses that cause cold and flu. Acupuncture has also been proven to stimulate the immune system to more effectively combat illness.

Many Chinese herbs are also foods! Good foods for relieving colds and flu include:

  • Seaweed

  • Ginger

  • Garlic

  • Green tea

  • Mint

  • Fermented soy or miso

  • Chicken broth

  • Honey

Congee, a Chinese rice porridge, is also recommended by Chinese medicine practitioners during illness. It is gentle on the stomach, but can also be combined with meat or vegetables to make a heartier meal. My recipe for congee can be found here.

All Chinese herbal medicine is based on individual diagnosis; two people can catch the "same cold" and present with very different symptoms and severity! Always consult with a licensed Chinese medicine practitioner before starting any herbal treatment regimen.

Catch cold and flu season early! Call us at (321) 972-2940 to schedule your initial consultation today.


Black, J. "The Treatment of Colds and Flu with Chinese Medicine." (December 5, 2015). Retrieved from

Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. "TCM for Colds and Flu." (January 12, 2015). Retrieved from

Suttie, E. "5 Best Foods for Colds and Flu in Chinese Medicine." (November 26, 2015). Retrieved from

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