Herbal Medicine During Cold & Flu Season

herbal tea for cold season

Back to school season has arrived, and likely along with it, the influx of cold and flu germs

Herbal medicine is an extremely effective way to help boost your body’s immune system and also help rid the body of pathogenic illness, if and when it does arrive.

Most of us are familiar with the concept of boosting or building up our immune systems.

Have you ever fallen ill and then been advised to load up on Vitamin C, Echinacea, ginseng etc.?

You can understand that those herbs, in theory, would be helping to build up the immune system, so that you get better faster and start to feel better… right?

Let me explain the theory from a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) perspective:

Your body’s immune system is on and in action 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

That’s its purpose, to protect you from bacteria and viruses, otherwise known as external invasions. If, for whatever reason, your immune system is compromised or weak, cold or flu viruses are able to invade into the body and cause illness.

The first step to getting better, would be to rid the body of that outside factor.

Imagine for a moment, a small village, swarmed by villains suddenly. Would you want to get those villains out of the village as soon as possible, or would you want to build up a surrounding wall to lock in the villains with the village people?

This is essentially what is happening when you take immune boosting herbs when you are sick with the cold and flu. You may, in fact, building up and tonifying the illness instead of your immune system, causing you to be sick for potentially worse and longer than you would have been otherwise.

What we want to do, is, first, get the illness out of the body and then, work on restoring our health.

For that same reason, it is always better to be supporting your health and your immune system pre-emptively and pro-actively so that your defense systems in place can the best job they can to protect you.

Herbal medicine offers effective, safe, and side effect free treatment of common ailments like cold, flu, strep throat, sinus infection, cough, and more.

One of my favorite herbal formulas coming into cold and flu season is Immune Defense by Dao Labs. This offers 2 immune boosting herbs, paired with a single herb that helps dispel any pathogens that do try and invade your body’s immune system.

*Herbs to be taken during illness should always be prescribed by a licensed herbalist.

Why cupping?

Cupping falls under the medical umbrella that is TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), cupping  is a therapy in which a cup (glass or plastic) is attached to the skin surface to cause local congestion through the negative pressure created by introducing heat (with glass only) in the form of an ignited material.

In the ancient time in China, cupping method was called “horn method”. This name was due to the use of animal horns, which we have now replaced with glass and plastic.

Cupping therapy is warming and promotes the free flow of qi and blood in the meridians.

A.K.A promotes movement and healing in the body.

We have a saying in TCM that when there is blockage there is pain and when there is free flow there is no pain. We will also rarely, if ever use the application of ice. If you have every sprained your ankle you have likely applied ice immediately to stop swelling.

So, imagine that ice, or cold, is restricting and stops movement (swelling). Which is ideal when there is an acute stress response to an injury like inflammation. However, when you are trying to promote movement, repair, and healing, heat is usually better.

Heat can be applied directly with a heat pad, a warming muscle patch, a hot water bottle, or indirectly with a heat lamp or sauna. The warming cupping method can also be used.

In my clinic, cupping is mostly used for aches and pains, usually in the back, neck and hips.

Cupping is also beneficial for digestive complaints, allergies, asthma, cold & flu symptoms.

Cold & flu – TCM meridian theory shows us the most susceptible area of the body to be invade by external pathogens (toxins) is the back of the neck and upper back. Because of this, if someone presents with initial stages of cold or flu, I will apply cupping to the upper back and neck area. Here, I am pulling the toxins out of the body before they can penetrate further and create a full blown sickness.

Allergies & Asthma – based on the meridian pathways and anatomical positioning of the lungs, cupping for these symptoms will also be done in the same area. Cupping over the back of the lungs can help loosen up phlegm congestion and release any heat from the body. This can manifest as a productive/phlegmy cough, wheezing, dry cough and throat, and itchy and congested nasal passage.

Digestive complaints – for digestive issues, I will cup over specific acupuncture points on the back side of the body that connect with the organs and meridians of the digestive system. Occasionally, I will also cup over the abdomen in cases of inflammation and constipation.

Curious if cupping is right for you? Lets chat!

Call +1 (778) 717-2001 and book and initial consultation.


The 12 Meridians - Cupping

Handcrafted Sore Muscle Salve

Handcrafted Sore Muscle Salve

I have been working more and more with herbal medicine these days, working on ways to incorporate it more into my practice with my clients while making it affordable and accessible.

I have just finished making a skin and muscle salve.

A salve is a medical ointment for healing.

This sore muscle salve is great for bruising and muscle tension – perfect for after a cupping treatment!

I used the solar infusion process, which means I soaked my chosen herbs in olive oil for one month, where it was heated slowly by the sun for 30 days. I chose to use arnica, calendula, safflower and angelica for their wonderfully beneficial properties.

Arnica – great for treatment of bruising, swelling, arthritic pain, soft tissue injury and sore muscles

Calendula – anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, calms muscle spasms, helps speed up recovery of skin wounds

Safflower (hong hua) – control muscle spasms, soothes menstrual cramps, promotes blood flow and movement which creates healing

Angelica (dang gui) – improves blood circulation to areas of trauma or stagnation, reduces swelling and inflammation

As with any herb use for medicinal purposes, frequency with use is important. Small and frequent application works best. For an acute ailment, topical application 3-6 times per day is recommended. For general massage apply as desired 🙂

$10 per jar.