Home help for coughs and colds

Home help for coughs and colds

If you wake with a scratchy, sore throat, maybe a stuffy nose or any symptoms that suggest you may be getting a cold, act immediately. Don’t wait to see if it will get worse.

One of the main differences between traditional East Asian medicine (EAM) and biomedicine, is the emphasis on changing the bodies environment within which viruses, bacteria, yeast, fungi etc can take hold, rather than on just trying to kill these pathogens.

  • Keep nasal passages clean.
  • Blow your nose and use steam inhalations regularly through the day.
  • Gargle regularly with a mild salt water solution to clean the mouth and throat.
  • Keep warm and avoid drafts.
  • If exercising don’t keep sweaty, damp clothes on for long.
  • Drink more.
  • Warm vegetable broth, or sloppy rice with some garlic and ginger is good.
  • Herb teas with a slice of fresh ginger in them help.

Have treatment early, the day you are thinking you may be coming down with something. Some of the best results are achieved by treating these emerging conditions early. Recently we have treated several cases on the first or second day, with acupuncture and a bag of herbs and they are free of symptoms, by the next day or two.


A good gargle is 1 teaspoon of salt in a cup of water.

Strong peppermint tea at room temperature is good for sore throats or inflammatory mouth problems, such as swollen painful gums, tongue ulcers, etc.

Ginger, garlic and a pinch of cayenne pepper that has been steeped in fresh boiled water, strained and let cool to room temperature, is good for infectious, inflammatory conditions.

Leave the gargle on the sink, or where you will see it often, and use it every hour or so. Even if you don’t have a sore throat, it will help keep your mouth and throat clean, especially from post nasal drip.

Soups and Sloppy Rice
Use several different colored vegetables, chop in large pieces, and cover with plenty of water. Use ginger, garlic, a pinch of cayenne pepper and other mild spices for flavor. Bring them to a boil and simmer for around twenty minutes. Drink the broth, several cups daily.

Sloppy rice is a nickname for watery rice, which is a common quick meal in many parts of East Asia. It is quick and easy to make and is used with many variations depending on the meal or the season.

A good basic recipe is about 1 cup of rice per person. Use a good quality white rice. Cover it with more than double the amount of water. Bring this to a boil and simmer slowly until the rice gets very soft and collapses, much like porridge. You can use oats instead if you prefer, or other grains. Make it very watery, you know, sloppy. Cooking it this way helps provide fluids, and it is nourishment that is easy to digest.

Again ginger and garlic or other spices can be added for flavor. Small amounts of vegetables, fish or meat can be added. The liquid part is the important part. It is like decocting your herbs, instead your decocting certain foods.

Keeping warm and avoiding drafts
In East Asian medicine it is axiomatic that we are a part of our environment. We are not separate from it. Our bodies and mind respond to changes in our environment because they are an interdependent part of it. When we are cold our body tenses, even if only slightly, and this can hinder our qi and blood circulation, and hence our immunity. We all know the pleasure of standing in warm sunlight, or next to a fire and feeling our cold bodies, soften and relax. So dress appropriately and maintain that soft and relaxed body feeling.

Wind is considered the spearhead of a thousand disease in EAM. This is because it is changeable it is difficult for our body to adapt to. Many of us now the irritation we feel in our body from standing in the wind for a length of time. Likewise going in and out of heated environments is also difficult to adjust to. Wind is also a metaphor for change. So difficult changeable circumstances in our lives can also be difficult for us to adapt to and make us more susceptible to illness. End of financial year pressures, doing taxes, school holidays, changeable weather and other changes can tax our immune system.

Kick A Germ Joy Juice
Functions: Clears wind cold
Indications: For common cold
Ingredients: 1 clove crushed garlic, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger, 1 pinch of cayenne pepper, juice of 1 lemon
Method of preparation & administration:
Combine all ingredients in a coffee mug, fill mug with fresh boiled water,steep for 5 minutes, add honey to taste, drink just before bed, at the first sign of a cold. May induce a light perspiration. Take several nights in a row if necessary.