Common Cold and Flu

Chinese medicine has been used for centuries to treat various illnesses, including the common cold and flu. The principles of Chinese medicine are based on the belief that balance and harmony in the body are essential for good health. This article will explore the different syndromes of cold and flu in Chinese medicine, including wind-cold, wind-heat, and summer heat, as well as the suggested remedies to help relieve symptoms and restore balance to the body.

Wind-Cold Syndrome

Wind-cold syndrome is characterized by symptoms such as an absence of perspiration in hot weather, breathing through the nose, clear discharge from the nose, cough with heavy and unclear sounds, clear sputum, diarrhea, dislike of cold, dizziness, headache with dizziness, hoarseness at the beginning of illness, itch in the throat, light fever, loss of voice, nosebleed, pain in the body shifting around with no fixed region, pain in the joints, stuffed nose, and vomiting.

Treatment for wind-cold syndrome aims to induce perspiration, expand the lungs, and disperse cold. One recommended formula is Jing-Fang-Bai-Du-San. Additionally, incorporating the following herbs and foods can be beneficial: peppermint (including oil), spearmint, sweet basil, cayenne pepper, fennel, fresh ginger, mustard seed, star anise, and prickly ash leaf.

Wind-Heat Syndrome

Wind-heat syndrome presents symptoms such as coughing out yellowish sputum, fever appearing more severe than chills, headache with dizziness, intolerance of light in eyes with swelling and dislike of wind, muddy discharge from the nose, nosebleed, pain in the eyes, pain in the throat, perspiration, red eyes, thirst, toothache, yellow urine, and yellowish discharge from the nose.

Treatment for wind-heat syndrome focuses on inducing perspiration and clearing heat. Yin-Qiao-San is a commonly used formula for this syndrome. Additionally, consuming the following foods and herbs may help: banana, bitter endive, black fungus, salt, spinach, strawberry, bamboo shoot, cucumber, Job's tears, laver, leaf beet, mung bean, peppermint, purslane, spearmint, sweet basil, celery, coconut meat, and green onion.

Summer Heat Syndrome

Summer heat syndrome is associated with symptoms such as chest discomfort, constipation, cough, dizziness, dry lips or dry sensations in the mouth, fatigue, feeling miserable and thirsty, heavy sensations in the head, high fever, nausea and vomiting, no perspiration, obstructed urination with red urine, oppressed and rapid breath, perspiration due to hot weather or putting on warm clothes, excessive perspiration, scant and reddish urine, and thirst.

Treatment for summer heat syndrome aims to clear summer heat and transform dampness with aromatic herbs. Xin-Jia-Xiang-Ru-Yin is a recommended formula. Additionally, incorporating the following foods and herbs can be beneficial: apple, apple cucumber, cantaloupe, coconut liquid, hyacinth bean, lemon, watermelon, banana, bamboo shoot, bitter endive, bitter gourd, celery, chicken egg white, crab, mung bean, peppermint, and purslane.


Chinese medicine offers a different perspective on the common cold and flu, categorizing symptoms into wind-cold, wind-heat, and summer heat syndromes. Through the use of various herbs, foods, and traditional formulas, Chinese medicine aims to restore balance and harmony in the body, which can provide relief from symptoms and promote overall well-being. While Western medicine tends to focus on symptom management, Chinese medicine addresses the underlying imbalances that cause illness. As such, it may provide a valuable complement or alternative to conventional treatments for those suffering from colds and flu.

It is essential to consult with a qualified Chinese medicine practitioner for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment, as self-medication can be ineffective or even harmful. As more people seek holistic approaches to health, understanding and embracing the principles of Chinese medicine can offer a new pathway to recovery and prevention for those battling common ailments like colds and flu.