Remember the last time you had a cold or flu? What was your go-to home remedy? We bet you used honey, lemon, and/or ginger to manage the symptoms and nip the cold in the bud. But what if we told you there are other herbs you can use to manage cold and flu symptoms? Some of these herbs have been used for thousands of years and are readily available today as dried herbs, capsules, pills, and tinctures.
With the cold season approaching, here is everything you need to know about dealing with the common cold and flu using traditional Chinese herbs. Learn more by reading below.
TCM Theory: The Common Cold And Flu Explained
According to TCM theory, people normally catch a cold when the body’s natural defenses (Wei Qi) cannot fight external pathogens like wind, heat, and cold. The invasion that causes a cold and flu is known as external wind.
There are two different types of cold/flu in TCM:
TCM practitioners aim to expel the heat or cold by using herbs such as Lian Qiao, honeysuckle flower, peppermint, and astragalus, as discussed below.* If you have a “wind cold” cold or flu, warm herbs are recommended. If you have a “wind-heat” cold or flu, cooling herbs are recommended.*
Common Cold Causes, Symptoms, and Transmission
The American Lung Association records that there are more than 200 different viruses that can cause the common cold.  According to Western medicine, the common cold is caused by viruses, the most common being rhinoviruses, parainfluenza, and coronaviruses (not Covid 19). 
The common cold is different from the flu in the sense that it is milder than the flu. People with the common cold are also more likely to have a runny nose than those with the flu. While you can catch a cold at any time of the year, colds are more common in the fall and winter months because viruses thrive in low humidity. The common cold spreads when a sick person sneezes or coughs virus-filled droplets into the air, and a healthy person inhales the same air. Or when a sick person touches a healthy person or a surface that a healthy person then touches. For example, a door handle or TV remote.
Cold symptoms include:
Flu Causes, Symptoms, and Transmission
The flu is typically caused by influenza viruses and is normally worse than the common cold. Its symptoms are also more intense and begin more unexpectedly. Flu season normally runs from fall to spring, but infections peak during winter. Like the common cold, the flu spreads through contact with droplets from an infected person or touching surfaces that an infected person has touched.
Flu symptoms include:
Vomit/diarrhea - common in children
Traditional Herbs That Support The Respiratory System
- Ginseng (cooling herb)
Ginseng helps the body naturally manage cold and flu symptoms with differing levels of success. According to a limited 2016 study, a herbal product containing ginseng was found to help with the duration and risk of cold and flu symptoms.*  You can consume ginseng raw, in powder form, or as capsules. To see Traditional Chinese Medicine products that contain ginseng, click here.
- Astragalus (warm herb)
The yellow root of Astragalus contains immune-supporting nutrients that help with the natural formation of antibodies, T cell production, and nourish white blood cells.* To enjoy its benefits, you can use it raw or buy it as powder, pills, or capsules. Browse our extensive collection of products that contain Astragalus.
- Ginger (warm herb)
Ginger is a popular cold and flu herb that is commonly used in most households. It has a hot and spicy sensation which can make you feel warm. Ginger can help the body's natural ability to break a fever and manage other cold and flu symptoms.* You can also use ginger to support throat health by gargling some ginger water.* Click here to discover Traditional Chinese Medicine that contains ginger.
- Licorice Root (cooling herb)
Licorice root is great for mucus and throat health, and you can use it to make a homemade herbal cough support drink. Its natural properties help clear the airways, thus helping with cough and discomfort.* Its soothing properties help with symptoms by forming a protective film over the mucus membrane. *You can prepare Licorice tea by simmering 1 tsp of Licorice root.
- Siler Root (warm herb)
Siler root is also known as Fang Feng. In Chinese, it means “wind prevention.” Wind prevention, in this case, is the pathogenic wind that has the potential to disturb the body’s balance. It belongs to the Umbelliferae family (carrot, celery, parsley) and is great for supporting the immune system and maintaining balance in the body.*
- Platycodon (warm herb)
Platycodon Pinyin, or Jie Geng, is a historically potent herb with upper respiratory, ear, nose, and throat benefits.* It helps the body naturally manage cough, phlegm, and throat health.*
- Isatis Root (cooling herb)
Isatis root has potent compounds that can be used to support throat health.* According to a recent study, the Isatis root was researched during SARS in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan during the outbreak. 
- Magnolia (warm herb)
Magnolia, also known as Xin Ye Hua, is great for managing body temperature, mental alertness, joint, and tissue health.* Its flower bud is used to support a normal healthy immune system during the cold and flu season.*
- Chrysanthemum and Peppermint (cooling herbs)
Chrysanthemum and peppermint are cooling herbs and can be used to expel wind heat from the body.* These botanicals help the body naturally manage seasonal discomforts.* Prepare a chrysanthemum or peppermint tea to enjoy the health benefits.*
9 Best-Selling Traditional Chinese Medicines for Cold and Flu Season
- Ganmao Qingre Granules
Head off a cold before it starts with Ganmao Qingre granules. They contain Chinese mint (Mentha canadensis) and Fang Feng Root, which are great herbs for supporting the immune system.*
- American Windser Ginseng Tea
American Windser Ginseng Tea is 100% pure, American-quality ginseng from the state of Wisconsin. It is available in tea and capsule form. It contains antioxidants and vitamin C, which are great for helping the immune system.*
- Banlangen Granules
Banlangen granules are made from Dyer’s Woad Root, which is believed to have free radical scavenging properties which can help maintain good health.*
- Coltalin - Cold Tablets (For Adults)
Coltalin tablets are great for supporting symptoms like aches, fever, sore throat, and sneezing, among others. It has acetaminophen, chlorpheniramine maleate, and phenylephrine hydrochloride that help manage pain, congestion, and fever.
Excaugh contains expectorant guaifenesin which loosens phlegm, rids the airways of mucus, and helps with coughs.
- Gan Mao Ling Tablets - Antihistamine Pain Reliever-Fever Reducer
Gan Mao Ling Tablets are great for treating symptoms associated with the common cold, like headache, muscular aches, sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, and fever.
- Golden Throat Lozenge
Golden Throat lozenges are created to support the health of the throat with powerful dietary ingredients like peppermint leaf, luo han guo fruit, honeysuckle flower, eucalyptus leaf oil, tangerine peel, and other traditional Chinese herbs and oils that are important for maintaining the health of the throat.*
- Lian Qiao Pai Du Qing Wen Granules
Lian Qiao Pai Du Qing Wen granules are made with natural herbs like honeysuckle flower, isatis root, peppermint leaves, licorice root, and siler root, among others which are believed to help the body naturally manage seasonal discomforts.*
- Sanjin Watermelon Frost Lozenges
Sanjin Watermelon Frost lozenges have a cooling effect from ingredients like menthol and peppermint oil. You can also use them to freshen your breath.
Why Choose Herbal Medicine?
- Fewer Side Effects
Herbal medicine is more gentle on the body than pharmaceuticals since it is prepared directly from plants as opposed to high-concentration synthetic chemicals. Taking herbal medicine can help you avoid overreliance on pharmaceuticals and their known side effects.
- More Accessible
Herbal medicine is created using natural herbs, which are abundant in supply compared to prescription medicine which is manufactured synthetically. This makes them more affordable and easier to access compared to prescription medicine. With the rise of reputable TCM distribution companies like Solstice Medicine Company, getting quality natural herb supplements is as easy as placing an order from your device.
- It is Holistic
TCM has a complete healing approach. It is concerned with the body, spirit, and mind. This means that TCM practitioners prognose what is causing an imbalance in your body and recommend plans that nourish your body, spirit, and mind. This is different from conventional medicine, which aims to treat symptoms instead of treating the body as an interconnected system.
- More Empowerment
TCM practitioners offer healing prescriptions, advice on managing chronic conditions, and strategies to prevent illness. TCM also has more disciplines and therapies that you can use to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, the journey of health is not a one-time event where you only see the doctor when you’re sick. TCM views it as a life-long journey where you make daily decisions to give your body what it needs.
Keep yourself in tip-top shape and nip every cold or flu in the bud this cold season with Traditional Chinese herbal medicine. Solstice Medicine Company is the number one Traditional Chinese Medicine distributor with a global network of vetted suppliers and satisfied customers. To learn more about us or get a specific TCM supplement, visit our website now.
In case your symptoms become severe or do not improve, contact your doctor right away.
Should you wish to use traditional herbal supplements, please consult a healthcare provider or Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner to understand how they might interact with other herbs and medications.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.