With all the masking, I hope you are fortunate enough to avoid the common cold. Should you not be so lucky, consider a few easy to implement care strategies you can use at home.
First off, the common cold is not so generally described in Chinese medicine. There are actually six types of common colds/flus and all of them are carried by, hold on tight for this one, the “Wind”! The various manifestations of acute sickness would be some combination of Wind and either Heat, Cold, Damp, Dry, and Summer Heat.
I know, I know, the Wind carries colds?? Consider this ancient Germ Theory. They observed that folks were more likely to get sick if they were inappropriately exposed to the elements. Or that people contracted what we now know to be seasonal allergies when exposed to certain ‘airs’. To make matters seem more superstitious, this pathogen carrying “Wind” was said to enter through the nape of one’s neck. However silly this might sound, I implore you to observe the next time you get sick how stiff your neck is, that headache, and perhaps you’ll experience an aversion to wind itself. So, pro tip #1 is to cover that neck up!! Hello scarfs. Hello turtlenecks.
The two most common types of colds are Wind-Heat and Wind-Cold. Generally to differentiate the two types, Heat types are with a notable fever, sore tender throat, and lots of sweating. Cold types are the ones with a low temperature, lots of chills with a hard time staying warm, and a minimal to no sore throat. Herbal formulas are awesome aids when used at the first sign of Wind Invasion. It is advised to keep a couple bottles of herbs on hand for such occasions. Common to most Chinese family’s shelves are Gui Zhi Ge Gen tang for Wind-Cold and Yin Qiao San for Wind-Heat.
Since that troublesome Wind entered into your nape to start with, one needs to help it exit back out. To achieve this try some home GuaSha. GuaSha translates to ‘scrape skin’- sounds fun right!? Most folks living in Asia use it at home for this exact purpose. All you need is a porcelain soup spoon or the “O” ring of a Mason’s Jar and some oil/lotion. There are many tutorials on how to perform GuaSha online. You can also check out our Instagram account for examples. If colors (petechia) start to come up stop when new marks are no longer rising to the surface. You’ve never had a better excuse to scape-to-the-point-of-bruising a loved one. Awe.
Dietarily, same as per tradition here in the states, bone broth (or broth/soup of any kind) is also encouraged. Stay hydrated! Avoid difficult to digest foods. Stick with ‘boring’ easy to digest rice, hot cereals, and soups. We don’t want your body working any harder then it already is for you.
Next time you catch a cold (despite all your excellent preventative measures like great sleep hygiene, good eating, great pooping, exercise etc.) consider TCMing it up with the aforementioned. May a hasty recovery be yours.
Written by Ashley