Your Cold and Flu and Chinese Medicine

“Western medical theory states that a virus causes the common cold and to treat it we need to destroy the virus. In contrast, Chinese medicine’s approach is to regulate the body’s internal terrain so that the pathogen is expelled.” – Jason Blalack, M.S., L.Ac.

In my desire to see everyone I know have access to the herbal remedies they need for whatever it is that ails them, I have been tempted to take the rich education in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory and practice that I have and quickly Westernize it. I see now, first hand, how we got to where we are in modern medicine – convenience, and quick fixes are like bright shiny lights among the darkness of all that we do not know. When it comes to our health, the unknown is quite possibly the scariest place to be on planet earth. I know this because my own body has been damaged by Celiac disorder, and I have no idea how long it will take to heal it.

The thing about Traditional Chinese Medical Practice, though, is that it is subtle and yet so effective when properly applied. This is the very reason why it is absolutely necessary to see a TCM practitioner and to allow the full diagnostic and therapeutic process to unfold. Chinese medicine, when practiced well, is designed to coax the body into such a harmonious state that it functions as it was meant to – with endurance and strength and resistance to disease.

This morning I was researching an herb in Chinese Medicine that has been somewhat over-prescribed in cases of the common cold because of its anti-viral effects. From a Western medical perspective it makes sense, but when taking a closer look at its actions in the body according to its nature, it makes sense in only very specific cases. To prescribe it generally is to potentially cause further issues for the patient.

There are very many people who have become ill over the past month due to the cold and flu season. Upon seeing a TCM practitioner who practices both herbal medicine and acupuncture, one may find that a few days of light, flowery herbs will send the illness right out, while another with seemingly very similar symptoms might need a little longer and a stronger approach.

A TCM practitioner cannot simply respond to a persons diagnosis of say, the “Flu” and provide a standard herbal prescription. In Chinese Medicine there are numerous patterns that could classify as a “flu”. It is the practitioners most imperative task to identify the individual’s presentation of illness and to treat it accordingly. This is best for the patient and essential for the proper practice of TCM. It is why Traditional Chinese Medicine is as relevant, successful and as artful today as it ever was.