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  • Courtney Smith, L.Ac

Beyond Ineffective Decongestants: Chinese Medicine's Approach to Cold and Flu Relief

As we brace ourselves for the onset of the cold and flu season, recent revelations highlighted by the New York Times have cast a spotlight on the inefficacy of a widely-used decongestant called phenylephrine, often found in oral cold and allergy medications. This revelation has left many of us concerned, particularly those who rely on over-the-counter remedies to ease their symptoms. While alternatives like pseudoephedrine and nasal decongestants are available, they frequently bring along undesirable side effects. Nasal sprays, such as Afrin, can even trigger rebound congestion when used over an extended period.

In the midst of this uncertainty surrounding conventional remedies, Chinese Medicine emerges as a holistic solution, offering herbal remedies as a potent alternative to traditional treatments. This ancient practice provides a comprehensive approach to wellness, addressing not only symptoms but also targeting the root causes of illness. Chinese herbal formulas stand out as they have the unique ability to shorten the duration of an illness and prevent symptoms from becoming chronic—a particular concern in the case of long-haul COVID. Most notably, they achieve these remarkable results without the burden of side effects.

The efficacy of these herbal formulas can be attributed to their adaptogenic, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. These formulas encompass specific herbs that effectively address various symptoms such as cough, congestion, fever, chills, body aches, fatigue, and digestive discomfort. While some of these herbs, like ginger and cinnamon, may be familiar to Americans, in China, they are often incorporated into food or brewed into soothing teas. Additionally, convenient pill forms are readily available for effortless consumption. Having these herbal formulas at your disposal can be a game-changer during the challenging cold and flu season.

But Chinese Medicine doesn't stop at herbal remedies; it offers a holistic toolkit for managing cold and flu symptoms:

  • Acupuncture: Rooted in ancient wisdom, acupuncture reduces inflammation, enhances circulation, and bolsters the body's immune response. Localized acupuncture points can effectively alleviate specific symptoms such as sinus pressure and chest tightness.

  • Guasha: This technique involves gentle skin scraping, stimulating a healing response by breaking up mucus and easing achiness. Commonly applied to the neck, back, and chest, guasha can be remarkably effective.

  • Cupping: Similar to guasha, cupping can be applied to the same areas to promote healing and alleviate discomfort. It's a practice known for its therapeutic benefits.

  • Moxibustion (Moxa): Moxibustion involves the controlled burning of dried mugwort near specific acupuncture points. This practice boosts circulation and enhances the immune system by increasing white blood cell count.

These Chinese Medicine modalities offer a holistic approach to managing cold and flu symptoms, emphasizing both immediate relief and long-term wellness. As we grapple with the limitations of conventional decongestants, exploring these alternative methods can empower us to take control of our health during the challenging cold and flu season.

Here at Mulberry Acupuncture and Wellness in Longmont, CO, we are dedicated to guiding you on this holistic journey toward well-being. Whether it's through herbal remedies or holistic practices, Chinese Medicine opens up a path to health that transcends mere symptom management. Together, let's navigate this cold and flu season with resilience, vitality, and true wellness.

This blog and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material on this blog is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health-related program.


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