Fighting a cold: Early stage

So you’ve caught a chill. You feel tired, awash in body aches, and even pulling on a sweater and beanie, you’re still cold. There’s nothing you can do now, except crawl into bed and hibernate for days, right? Wrong. Here are five things you can do to minimize your symptoms and possibly shorten a cold altogether.

  1. Make ginger, scallion, and brown sugar “soup”: Take a fresh knub of ginger (the size of a large thumb or bigger), peel, and chop to increase its surface area. Boil for 8-10 minutes in 2ish cups of water. In the last 2 minutes, add some chopped scallions into the broth (the green/pipe-like part of the scallion > the white part). Strain the liquid into a mug, and sweeten with a spoonful of brown sugar, or local honey if you have it. Before you drink it, wrap yourself up in the warmest blanket you’ve got, and stay wrapped up for a long while – ideally until the hot beverage and warm blanket help you produce a nice thin sweat, which in East Asian medical theory you need in order to “release” the cold out of your muscle layer.
  2. Make any kind of soup or rice porridge, eating it according to the blanket-wrap instructions above.
  3. Work as many immune boosting foods into your diet as you have on hand: garlic, onions, peppers, ginger, turmeric – any and all of these are excellent for warming the body and boosting immunity. And well-cooked (soup, steamed, roasted) veggies of any kind are more necessary than ever to keep your body supplied with vitamins and micro-nutrients.
  4. Supplement with vitamins and western herbs: If you’re going to keep cheating on your meals, now is the time to at least add a multi-vitamin into the mix. And if you wanna get fancy, any of the following: Elderberry and Echinacea (great in the early stages of normal colds), Oregano (if you’re rocking a sore throat – if you don’t have this my parents swear by a shot of brandy or liquor as a “detox”), Vitamin C (citrus or packets of fizzies) and Zinc (lozenges).
  5. See an acupuncturist and herbalist for pattern differentiation and prescription of one of the several kinds of herbal formulas available to stop colds in different stages.