An herbal formula for Cold prevention

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Fall and Winter are the seasons in which people think about getting the cold or flu.

In Chinese medicine we call it a Wind/Cold or Wind/Heat invasion or EPI – external pathogen invasion.

This formula is one that we start a lot of our patients on as kids go back to school. This formula is for prevention and for early symptoms of a cold. You can start taking it before you have symptoms. It is especially good if you are planning air travel. I start this 2 weeks before, take during the trip and continue for a week after. Rarely do we get hit by the airport / conference bugs.

Yu Ping Feng San. Translation: Jade Windscreen. As a cold or flu is referred to Wind/cold or heat, as mentioned above, you need a good windscreen to help prevent it’s invasion into your body. If your defensive qi (Wei) is weak it can be easily invaded by wind, cold, heat, dampness and result in the symptoms of a cold or flu. If the are more chills we call it Wind/Cold or more fever Wind/Heat. It is not unusual for Wind/Cold to convert to Wind/Heat in a matter of a few hours or always feel as if it was a Wind/Heat invasion.

Historically jade is a very precious stone in China, as valued as gold in the West. Its culture and history stretches 9,000 years back into the ancient and enormous Chinese empire. Jade has always been a special stone, used not just for fine objects but also as material for grave goods for the imperial family. It is believed to be a link between both the physical and the spiritual worlds, and is the only material that completely encapsulates both the yin and yang qualities of Heaven and Earth, earning it the moniker ‘The Stone of Heaven’.  Jade was considered a guardian against illness and evil spirits, which is why even babies in China are given a tiny jade bangle to wear to ward off bad luck. In the Han dynasty, emperors were buried in jade gowns and jade cicadas were placed on dead kings’ tongues to prevent decomposition and safeguard chi or energy.

It only has 3 herbs in it. One chief, two assistants. Most Chinese formulas have 4 or more herbs.

Huang qi  (astragulus) – a major herb used to support the protective (Wei) qi. Nourishes the Lungs, stabilizes the exterior (that has been invaded)

Fang feng (ledebouriella) – assistant herb: this herb releases the exterior and expels the wind. When the protective qi is unstable,  the skin pores can contract trapping the cold inside. It also expels Wind / Damp. With this you feel the achiness.

Bai zhu (atractylodis) – assistant herb to help the huang qi support the Spleen which thus supports the Lungs. In 5 Elements the Earth (Spleen) nourishes the Metal (Lungs). It is not easy to directly support the Lung qi so we have to go through Earth to do it.

Stay tuned in. Tomorrow we will discuss Yin Qiao San – Honeysuckle and Forsythia Powder.

Disclaimer: This information is for your education only. It is always advised that you speak with an acupuncturist before you use any Chinese herbal formula.  Herbal use is never recommended with pregnancy.

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