Asian girl with fever

Winter is here and means it’s cold season. Chinese and Western culture tends to clash when it comes to treating illnesses and since nothing is worse than catching a cold, Hangzhou Plus is here with some suggestions for restoring your health from both sides of the coin. Before we get to that, though, let’s break down the illness in question.

Types of Colds
You’d think a cold would be simple to explain. In the West, there is only one term: a cold; and all the symptoms are inclusive. However, Chinese medicine separates the illness into two different categories based on the cause. Keeping in mind that Chinese medicine deals with the balance of energy within the body, a Chinese cold could be excess “heat” energy or excess “cold” energy – hence the two different types of diseases. Symptoms for a “cold” cold normally include nasal obstruction, runny nose , cough, headache, fatigue, etc. As for “heat” cold, it normally comes together with a low fever, sore throat, and sweating.

Remedies from the West

Sick woman eating chicken soup

1) “Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever”
This is one of the most widely used phrases when advising a person on what they should do to recover from illness. The thought is that since when you have a fever you do not usually feel like eating, so your body is telling you that not eating will make you better faster; likewise when you have a cold, your appetite is either normal or increases. It’s all about listening to your body, even though there is no medical evidence for these claims.

2) Chicken Soup
This dish is the perfect go-to for someone with a cold. Not only does the steam from the soup clear your sinuses and bring a refreshing smell to your room, it is also packed with protein and other nutrients that can help boost one’s immune system.

3) Western Medicine
Since the common cold is a virus, there’s no specific medicine you can take to cure the illness. That being said, many Westerners find comfort in treating the symptoms through over-the-counter medication. The medication – such as DayQuil, NyQuil, Tylenol, Sudafed, etc – usually comes in two forms: pills or liquid. The medications are created in a lab by a pharmaceutical company and usually come with a list of possible side effects. Despite this, people tend to trust these medications more than herbal remedies because of the chemistry and science used to develop the medicine.

Remedies from the East

Chinese Medicine Doctor

Because the types of colds you can catch in China have different energy properties, there are different methods for treating them. If you’re interested in trying an alternative to Western Medications, you can consider these common Chinese remedies. The information below is derived from our research on traditional Chinese medicine.


“Cold” Colds
1) Ginger Cola
Ginger helps people sweat while they catch a cold, and to burn out the bacteria. It’s a natural anti-viral, so it will help fight off illnesses and heat up the human body to help induce fever. While cola contains caffeine which can reduce headache, dizziness, and fatigue. The sugar in cola will also help gain some energy, and fasten the body circulation. The only thing you need to do is buy a bottle of cola (330ml) and cut 3-4 pieces of ginger, and boil them for 5 minutes. Take this 1-2 times a day, and you will quickly see the effects in 3 days.

2) Ginger+white part of the Chinese onion+daikon+brown sugar
Like Ginger, Chinese onion is another kind of natural remedy to treat viral infections and flu. They stimulate the activity of respiratory system and expel sputum. Few people know that daikon actually helps whet your appetite, relieve cough and reduce sputum. As for brown sugar, it contains calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus, which can all help your body reach mineral equilibrium. Boil them together with water, and take it 1-2 times a day. It cures your cold and cough.

Starfruit for fighting colds

“Heat” Colds
1) Green tea + green beans
Green tea is loaded with tea catechins which are strong antibacterial and antiviral agents. A heat cold normally comes with a pain in your throat, and green beans here play an important role in reducing the pain. They also give people a good appetite while they are sick. So, boil 300ml water with a green tea bag and 20g green beans. Take this several times a day.

2) Carambole
Also known as the “star fruit”, carambole is native to India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia, but can be easily found in the southern part of China. It’s known to reduce pain and expel bacteria which makes it ideal for a heat cold.

No matter what your method of relief may be, those of us at Hangzhou Plus hope that you will find this information helpful when it comes to coping with your cold. Take it easy and we hope you get well soon.

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