To understand Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is necessary to first understand the concept of Qi (chee). Qi is the vital energy in our bodies and in the world around us. There are different types of qi that are named according to where the qi is located; there is food qi, air qi and so on. The defensive (Wei) qi is similar to the immune system and resides between the skin and the muscles. The strength of the Wei qi is dependent upon the quality of the food and the air we take into our bodies, as well as our emotional health.
The lungs rule the surface of the body (the skin), including the opening and closing of the pores. If an external pathogenic influence (EPI) were to threaten the health of an individual, one might get a chill or feel cold before the onset of other symptoms. It is very important to treat an invasion at the earliest stage possible because an EPI can invade the body’s defenses quickly. Treatment of an invasion by an EPI is done through addressing the lungs and their relationship with the skin. An EPI may be classified as either wind-heat or wind-cold. Wind-heat will present symptoms such as sore throat, headache, feeling feverish, slight sweating, sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, cough, and the presence of yellowish phlegm. Wind–cold will be similar, but the person will feel colder, be achy and the phlegm will be white or clear.
To treat an invasion of either wind-heat or wind-cold a person would take a combination of pungent, diaphoretic (induces sweating) herbs that were either cooling or warming in nature. Some cooling herbs include peppermint; and the flowers of chrysanthemum, forsythia, honeysuckle and Echinacea can be detoxifying if there is a sore throat and a feeling of feverishness (even if there is no actual fever). Some warming herbs that induce sweating are jalapeno pepper and fresh ginger. These herbs are readily available and may even grow in your own yard; however, you must be sure that these plants have not been exposed to poisonous chemical sprays and that you have properly identified them.
Drinking a tea that has been strongly infused with these herbs, or taking pills or tinctures will help the defensive energy to push the EPI back out of the body. Releasing an invasion of wind can be difficult; you must take the herbs several times a day, stay covered and warm, and drink enough fluids to replace what is released through perspiration. To prevent the spread of these contagions, it is advisable to stay at home, resting peacefully.
A word of caution to those who are very young, elderly, or those who have a weak constitution: sweating can be very exhausting and depleting to the body and leaves the pores wide open and vulnerable to other diseases. It is inadvisable to attempt this course of treatment unless under the direct supervision of a qualified health care provider.
Wind-Cold Invasion: Sometimes referred to as “the Common Cold”
Symptoms: fever, absence of sweating, aversion to cold, chills, stiff neck, headache (usually occipital), body aches, lower back ache, shortness of breath, tight and floating pulse.
Remedy: “Sweat it Out!”
1 one-inch piece of fresh Ginger, grated or sliced
1 fresh Jalapeño pepper
2 Tbs. Cinnamon twigs
2 Tbs. dried Catmint
Decoct fresh Ginger, Jalapeño pepper & Cinnamon twig (if available) in 16oz. water for 20 minutes. Add dried Catmint herb and steep for 10 minutes, covered. Strain the decoction and drink as hot as possible. Cover up (especially the neck!) and sweat. Rest and rehydrating is absolutely necessary!
Stuffy Nose with Chills ~ White or Clear Mucus
Please note: if this condition is chronic, has been around a while, or the face is also flushed, chances are that this is a condition of Heat and this protocol may not be appropriate.
Remedy: “Blow That Schnozz!”
2 Tbs. dried Peppermint
1 one-inch piece of horseradish root, or 1 Tbs bottled horseradish (not “prepared” horseradish)
~ OR ~
1 Tbs. Wasabi
Infuse Peppermint in 8oz. boiling water and steep for 10 minutes, covered. Meanwhile slowly chew horseradish/Wasabi and inhale slowly through the nose. This may be intense. Follow with the hot Peppermint tea.
Neti Pot: Using a neti pot once or twice daily helps to keep nasal passages clear and hydrated. Nettles Tea: A cup or two daily acts as a natural anti-histamine and provides nutritional value.
Hard to Expectorate with White/Clear Mucous: There will likely be an accompanying aversion to cold, and no fever. If this condition is chronic, has been around a while, there is a fever, or the face is also flushed, chances are that this is a condition of Heat and this protocol may not be appropriate.
Remedy: “Mustard Plaster ~ Hold the Mayo”
½ teaspoon Mustard powder
1 Tablespoon Flour Warm Water
Combine flour and mustard powder and slowly add warm water until a paste is formed. Spread evenly on a piece of cotton flannel or clean cotton rag. Spread olive oil over the patient’s chest, then put the patient to bed in a tight cotton t-shirt, and place folded flannel with mustard paste on chest. This will provide 2 layers of cotton between the plaster and the patient’s oiled skin to protect against burning. Skin sensitivity can vary, so check the skin frequently to make sure the mustard hasn’t caused burns. The skin will become red as blood is drawn to the area, providing increased circulation, warmth and promoting expectoration. Itchiness may be an indication that the plaster is too strong. Ratio of mustard to flour can be adjusted individually according to skin sensitivity. Usually left on anywhere from 20 minutes to a couple of hours, if made mild enough, this plaster can be left on overnight.
Often a dry cough associated with colds and flu, or post-nasal drip, this is an annoying cough that keeps a patient from getting the much needed rest required for healing.
Remedy: “Steve’s Super Cough-Busting Syrup” Mince one onion and place in a shallow bowl Pour raw honey over the chopped onion to cover. (About 1 Cup of honey to 1 Cup minced onion). Allow to infuse for 8 hours Strain out the onion Take 1-2 teaspoons as needed for persistent coughs.
Fever: A fever is the body’s way of raising temperature to encourage sweating or to create a hostile environment in order to rid itself of a pathogen. If a fever persists for more than a couple of days without overall improvement or if the fever exceeds 102°, then taking measures to reduce the fever are suggested.
Remedy #1: “Anti-pyretic Tea”
1 tsp. Yarrow
1 tsp. Elder flowers
1 tsp. Peppermint
1 tsp. Catmint
1 tsp. Feverfew
1 tsp. Lavender flowers
1tsp. Chamomile flowers
Combine all ingredients into a blend, and then infuse 1 tsp. of formula with 6 oz. boiling water for 15 minutes, covered. Drink infusion as hot as tolerable, cover up (especially the neck), rest and keep hydrated. The combination of cooling, anti-pyretic and diaphoretic herbs will help the patient sweat and reduce the fever; the nervines will help to calm the patient and allow them to rest.
Remedy #2: Auriculotherapy Point ~ Ear Apex
With a small blunt instrument, like a dull pencil, gently stimulate the fever-reducing point located at the top of the ear. To find the point, fold over the ear toward the face so that the back of the ear is revealed. Where the crease appears at the top of the ear is called the Ear Apex-the highest point on the ear. Once the point has been stimulated, a mustard seed affixed to a piece of band-aid can be placed at the site to keep the point stimulated. This usually reduces a fever within minutes.
Sore Throat: This is a symptom of a pathogen, and it’s a good idea to treat the root as well as the symptoms. Cooling, detoxifying, and anti-viral/bacterial herbs are good choices to get to the heart of the problem.
Remedy #1: Sore Throat Gargle
1 cup warm water
1 Tbs. Sea Salt ½ tsp.
15 drops Sage (true) essence. (I can only recommend Wisdom of the Earth Essential Essences)
Gargle with mouthfuls of this mixture as frequently as desired to bring quick relief to the pain and discomfort associated with sore throat.
Remedy #2: “Coolio Tea”
1 tsp. Echinacea root
½ tsp. Goldenseal root
1 tsp. Dandelion root
1 tsp. Pepper mint leaf
1 tsp. Sage leaf
1 tsp. Chrysanthemum flower
1 tsp. Honeysuckle flower buds
1 tsp. Catmint herb
Add 12 oz. water to the first three ingredients and place in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, add remaining ingredients and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain and squeeze out all liquid from herbs. Drink ½ Cup of this formula every 2-3 hours until symptoms are gone, from that point on, drink it 3 times daily for another three days to keep symptoms from returning.
Headache: Headaches can have a number of causes, and without proper diagnosis, are frequently difficult to treat properly. If there are concurrent symptoms of “Wind-Cold,” sore throat, stomach flu, sinus trouble or fever, treat it accordingly. If the root cause cannot be determined, treating it only as a symptom is better than not at all.
Remedy #1: “Essential Headache Relief” Apply to temples, occiput and crown a total of 30-40 drops of the following essences: Rosemary, Holy Basil, Peppermint, Spearmint, Mugwort, Anise seed, Niaouli, Lavender, Pine, and/or Spruce (red). Use care with the mints, as their effervescence can be uncomfortable if not sandwiched between any of the others and if used in excess. (I can only recommend Wisdom of the Earth Essential Essences)
Remedy #2: Auriculotherapy Points ~ Ear Lobe Frequently massage the ear lobe, paying particular attention to the upper portion where the lobe meets the auricle. Applying essence to the area may be helpful as well. (I can only recommend Wisdom of the Earth Essential Essences)
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