How to feel better faster after a cold

The last two weeks have seen about 40% of out patient load come in with one of the 3 or 4 variations of the viral cold that has been going around. Luckily, one of those bugs is super fast, and it is in and out in days. The others, I am afraid, are lasting a bit longer.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs seem to be helping these along quite well, but here are a few things that you can do at home.

Feed yourself like you are sick!

This time of year, you can hear me extolling the virtues of eating soups and stews. Never is this more true than when you are trying to recover from a cold. Warm, easy to digest and easy to make, a soup is the perfect thing for an already taxed person. If you have soup stock already, you are off to a great start. If you don't, have no fear, do the following: Cut up a small yellow onion, a stick of celery and a carrot. Sauté them on medium in a bit of olive oil until the onions become translucent. If you are in a hurry, just sauté them until they smell nice. Add a clove or two of garlic and some slices of ginger. Once you can smell the garlic and ginger (if you can smell anything with a plugged up nose!), add some water, a bit more than will fit in your soup bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste, and voila, you have a soup stock. To this add some more garlic and ginger as you like, you can add a bit of chili oil (if you have symptoms like a rash or high fever, or yellow/green phlegm, no chili oil for you!). Now, chop up some green leafy veggies, add them in and you are good to go.


One of the principles of Chinese medicine treatment of colds, especially at the onset of one, is to sweat it out. Our formulas have things like ginger, cinnamon, garlic, ephedra (ma huang), peppermint and other herbs that cause you to sweat. If you are further along, your nose is running and you are coughing and there is fluid coming out of everywhere (so yucky feeling!), your body is pushing out a lot of fluid. Drinking a bit more offsets this loss. Drinking hot teas helps, as this helps you sweat a bit more pushing things out. Warmth causes fluid to flow (nothing is flowing outside right now) so try not to drink any cold water. Teas with peppermint will make you feel cool, so drink that if you are running a bit hot.

Get some fresh air

It seems a bit counter-intuitive, but getting outside when you are sick is a great thing for you. And if you cannot, getting some fresh air into the house with you is the next best thing. Just remember that if you are sweating, you want to be covered up way more than usual, so you don't get chilly. This is about "changing the air" not about cooling yourself off. My great-grandmother used to open the front and back door of the house once a week, winter or summer. This kept the air in the house fresher. When you are sick, it is certainly a good idea. My instructor, when someone who was in for treatment of shingles or some other major communicable disease, insisted, after they left, on opening the window of that room before another patient was able to use it. Just freshening the air. So when you are sick, get out, or let the outside in.

I hope this finds you well, and if not, helps you find your way there.


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