By Allison France
With the early arrival of winter our bodies are just as confused as our minds. While we know you are already wearing scarves, supplementing zinc and drinking ginger tea we wanted to give you one more trick that may help your immune system navigate cold season.
Yin Qiao San is an herbal formula used in Chinese medicine to prevent an external pathogen (ahem, a cold) from taking root in the body and forcing you to surrender to the couch. It is imperative to take this formula the moment the first sign of illness arrives; the dry or scratchy throat that makes you run for a double dose of vitamin C or the fatigue that seems to hit out of nowhere when you notice those around you are also battling fatigue and extra runny noses.
This formula comes in pill form, tea or a liquid tincture. We often recommend the liquid tincture because it is easy to carry outside the house and somewhat soothing to the back of the throat. The flavor is a bit strong so it’s best to chase with water, but once you realize how effective it is at keeping colds at bay, you won't mind the taste. Our recommendation is to keep a bottle on hand in your vitamin cabinet so you don’t have to rush over for an appointment to pick it up. The trick to this formula is catching the symptoms before they take root and fully manifest. The herbs in this formula clear heat and therefore are best for the cold symptoms that include sore throat, headache, thirst and fever. Although it’s called a cold, we’re really look for those symptoms that are manifesting as heat in the body.
If you aren’t feeling well but don’t have any of the above heat symptoms you’ll need a different formula. Chinese herbs work in concert with one another to treat the root pattern underlying the presenting symptoms, therefore there is no one formula that treats “sore throats” or “headaches”. Instead, the formula must be matched with a variety of symptoms that are indicating a specific underlying pathology. In the case of this formula, it can generally be used for colds that are accompanied by symptoms of heat and dryness.
Ask about Yin Qiao San at your next appointment with either Andrea or Allison or schedule an herbal consult if you would like some more information on Yin Qiao San and to stock up for the next 5 months of cold prevention that we have ahead! Be well.
Andrea is a licensed Acupuncturist, Massage Therapist and Chinese Herbalist living and practicing in the beautiful city of Missoula, Montana.