Human-kind has been troubled throughout history by the viral infections known as the common cold, but rarely have they received as much attention as they do today. On average, Canadian adults contract between 2 – 5 colds each year1, with an 85% chance of experiencing at least one within that period. With colds lasting an average of five days the results are extreme discomfort and unwanted down-time from work and school.
Cold symptoms, caused by our immune system’s reaction to the viral infection can manifest in the form of sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, runny noses, sore throats, headaches, aching muscles and fatigue.
What can one do to reduce these troubling symptoms, or preferably, prevent them from occurring in the first place? Traditional Chinese medical doctors have long been using combinations of powerful herbs for relief and prevention of viral infections and modern science is now supporting these beliefs.
“Cold-Defense: A synergy of ancient wisdom and modern science” by Dr. Victor Wong
The practice of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has evolved over the last 4,000 years. In TCM, health is viewed as a complete state of well-being. Health is maintained as long as there is an abundant supply of free flowing life energy, or “Qi” (pronounced “chee”). It is an unseen energy that supports our body’s ability to function properly. It provides nourishment for every cell, tissue, muscle, organ and gland.
Our body uses Qi to accomplish everyday activities. Each organ and meridian pathway needs to be fed and filled with an ample supply of Qi in order to function optimally.
One of the physiological functions of Qi is to defend our body from the invasion of toxins such as virus or bacteria. When we exhibit signs and symptoms, we’re already “sick.” When this occurs, it is vital to do something to enhance your Qi right away, before the virus shoots you down.
When external pathogenic factors, like colds or viruses, invade the body, they first attack its superficial, exterior aspects. Symptoms associated with the exterior then appear: sore throat, chills, fevers, headaches, stiff neck, and overall muscle aches.
Chinese herbs such as Fang Feng release the toxins trapped in the exterior and alleviates pain. This action consumes a considerable amount of Qi in the body. Fang Feng requires sufficient Qi for back up. Astragalus (Huang qi) is used to strengthen Qi and to boost the immune system.
Andrographis (Chuan xin lian) clears heat and drains dampness from the contaminated Qi. From a modern biomedical perspective, it has anti-microbial, anti-pyretic, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral effect.
Food poisoning or other acute digestive disorders such as acute gastroenteritis can cause a damp pathogenic influence which causes Qi stagnation in the stomach. This weakens the immunity and leaves the body more vulnerable to infection. The aromatic Huo Xiang dispels the ‘dampness’ and produces a significant inhibitory effect in vitro on many pathogenic fungi and leptospirosis.
North American Ginseng benefits Qi, generates fluids for ‘Yin’ deficiency with heat signs, such as irritability and thirst.
Virus and bacteria multiply rapidly in our body when we get sick with a cold. Do not wait. Immediate relief of cold symptoms is possible if treatment is applied in the early stages.
Dosage requirements for Health First Cold Defense – Adults and children over 12:
Day 1-2: Take 3 capsules, 3 times per day (9 capsules daily)
Day 3-4: Take 1 capsule, 3 times per day (3 capsules daily)
Taken with small amount of food is preferred, especially for people who have sensitive stomach.
Other tips to help prevent colds from getting worse:
• Do not force yourself to eat if you are not hungry. Save the energy required for digesting and preserve your energy for immunity
• Drink lots of water to keep the body’s mucous moist
• Get enough rest
• Wash your hands frequently to prevent virus contraction
• See your health care practitioner if cold symptoms persist
Caution: Do not use if pregnant or breast-feeding. Consult a health care practitioner before use if you are on blood thinners, have a bleeding disorder or a hormone sensitive cancer or if you have an auto-immune disorder and/or are taking immunosuppressants.
1. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.