The Zen Den’s Cold Care Protocols:
Traditional Chinese medicine uses the analogy of wind to illustrate the progression of colds and influenzas through the body. In nature, an uprising of wind stirs surface soils, raises or lowers temperatures, rapidly producing irritation of the eyes and skin and dehydrating through evaporation. All these things are analogous to what takes place in the body when we start to get sick. Some prefer the analogy of the body as its own eco-sphere, with weather producing predictable patterns, and disruptions in those patterns are the extreme events, just manifesting within ourselves instead of the world as a whole. From a Traditional Chinese view, treatment for the onset of such symptoms would revolve around calming wind, and tonifying or re-enforcing the surface of the body (the skin, and by extension the lungs), and protecting against irritation of the linings of the nasal and lung passages.
To achieve this end, the following things are recommended at THE INITIAL ONSET of symptoms related to either Wind Cold or Wind Heat. (Irritated, scratchy or runny eyes, nose, throat, flushing heat or cold on the skin surface, floating pulse, red tongue body, glossy tongue coat, chills OR fever):
1) Immediately discontinue most animal products, dairy products and refined sugars in your diet. Essentially, you practice a low glycemic diet. Foods high on the glycemic index contribute to the slowing of not only your immune responses but an increased tax on your digestive and cardiovascular systems, and this energy could otherwise be used to expel the wind from your lungs and surface of your skin. From a western perspective, you have more resources available for your immune system production lines. Some are surprised to ‘feel’ how much energy this frees up for fighting illness, even though they are not feeling well.
An exception to this rule may be true, scratch-made chicken soup (no noodles) as is it has the properties of tea described below while delivering needed nutrients in an easily digestible form.
2) Immediately start consuming small quantities of hot beverages on a frequent basis (every 15 to 30 minutes). This is true regardless of the symptoms you may be showing in relation to cold or hot skin, runny nose, congestion, etc. If you have the materials, consider making Kasia, or Kada tea (recipe below). The purpose of the warmth is to lower the ‘viscosity’ of various physiological processes going on in relation to this new bacterial or viral threat. Ideally, green tea will be among your choices as it is high in antioxidants and tonifies the organs primarily responsible for your immune response. Natural sweeteners like local, pure honey and astringents like lemon are excellent additions, but please avoid adding any refined sugar or artificial sweeteners! These are analogous to putting sugar in your gas tank, and your internal engine WILL ‘gum up’, slowing digestion, elimination, and the recovery process.
3) Start a regimen of Yin Chiao Chieh Tu Pien immediately. Typical dosage is 4 Tablets every 4 to 6 hours for 6 doses, for ONE TO TWO DAYS AT THE MOST. I cannot stress enough how important it is to take this step at the initial onset of symptoms. As soon as your body say’s ‘Hmnn, this is a familiar sensation in my throat, nose, larynx, etc. Perhaps I am coming down with something.’, reach for Yin Chiao! You can confirm Your suspicions by taking your temperature. In a majority of cases, this is the first indication of illness, even PRIOR to aching orifices in the head. In most cases, and with immediate self-care listed here and REST, you can avoid getting sick entirely. If you do progress to illness, still follow the protocol. You will cut your downtime AND recovery in half! It is formulas like this one that make me grateful for thousands of years of field-tested research.
Ugh! I have been sick for two days or more, already too far along for Yin Chiao, and feeling too sick to work. What else can I do?
If you have already started showing symptoms of a deeper layer of irritation, such as producing copious quantities of phlegm or nasal discharge, Yin Chiao will not have the same effectiveness as it does at the initial onset of symptoms. Consider adding the following to your care, in addition to preparing and drinking Kasia tea for three days during your illness:
- An excellent Homeopathic option for relief is Oscillococcinum, available over the counter at most Whole Foods, Vitamin Cottage’s, etc., but keep up with the first two recommendations and get plenty of rest and fluids.
- Consider seeing your Traditional Chinese medical practitioner for acupuncture and cupping. These two treatments can dramatically reduce symptoms related to invasion of wind.
- Bi Yan Pian, or ‘Open Nose Pills’ may help alleviate sinus congestion.
- Mixing powdered black pepper, powdered ginger and honey together in equal parts and consuming 1-2 teaspoons a day will quickly attack a sore throat.
- ½ Tsp. Turmeric in boiling milk with 1 Tsp. honey is a common favorite for cold symptom relief
- Gargling with warm salt water every couple of hours and using a neti pot to rinse a saline solution through the sinuses is always a way to reduce your down time.
For those who use meditation, this is an excellent time to practice a full body scan or a Loving Kindness mantra with yourself as the recipient of your intention. Sometimes sitting with physical discomfort can be helpful in coming to terms with the processes that either take us deeper into our illness or signal us how they would like to be addressed to potentially provide relief. For me, I practice visualization of healing. For example, tiny construction crews demolishing harmful bacteria, putting out fires and building new networks of tissue. With practice, you may be able to regulate certain physical attributes, such as temperature and pain. If you do not have a mindfulness practice, this is perhaps an excellent time to start. And visualization is enough, just spend time doing it. You don’t have to ‘meditate’ to get results. Get as much rest as you can and make sure you are getting plenty of room temperature or hot waters and teas.
Kasai Kada Tea
1 Tsp each (ground): Coriander, Cumin, Fennel, Ginger, Black Pepper.
Add 1-quart boiling water, cover immediately and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain and sip. You can add local honey for sweetness.
I personally make this formula using whole seeds and grind them just before use, placing ingredients into a tea bag or tea ball inside a Thermos to be carried with me, like a child would carry a teddy bear or a box of Kleenex- inseparable and providing comfort. J
The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is notintended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.
Prepared and written by John B. Porter D.PSc, Dipl. OM, LMT, Kine. Updated March, 2020
Zen Den Therapies and East To West Therapeutics, LLC 2255 S. Wadsworth Blvd. Ste. 201
Lakewood, Colorado 80227 Ph: 303-507-3708