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Friday, September 14, 2007

Dodge a Cold Quickly, Easily, Inexpensively

Note: This is the fifth and final post in this week's series of basic herbal remedies, using mainly food herbs. Today's post comes as we begin to think about cold and flu season, so it is appropriately focused on colds and flu. The other posts in the series included an excellent introduction with lots of background from various TCM herbals, a post on sterility/infertility, an entry dealing with kidney stones, a piece on shingles, and a brief piece on migraine. All of these were originally published together as an article in Dr. Leung's newsletter in June of 1997.

Colds and Flu. There are no truly effective modern antiviral drugs currently available. Most drugs for treating colds and flu are for symptomatic relief. Here is such a simple and safe treatment that it is downright unbelievable![8] Vinegar or Sodium Bicarbonate Solution (5%) - Simply prepare a 5% solution of either vinegar or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) in boiled and cooled water. Use either one but not both. Apply 2-3 drops into each nostril every 3 hr, 6 times a day. Best results are obtained if started as soon as symptoms appear. The alkaline solution is superior to the vinegar solution.

This method was developed by researchers at the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Beijing who had reportedly obtained 92-97% efficacy rates over many years of use. It was first reported in 1980 at a national pharmaceutical conference, and later published in national pharmaceutical and health journals, as well as reported over national radio in 1990. The journal, Zhongguo Zhongyao Zazhi (Chinese Journal of Chinese Materia Medica), tried to publicize it in 1990 as a public service.[8] However, since then, I have not heard anything more about it. Given such an easy and cheap way to beat the common cold and the flu, why has this method not been widely used by now? Could it be more than meets the eye? I will keep you posted when I find out.

[8] Anon., “Acid/Alkaline Therapy of Colds and Flu,” Zhongguo Zhongyao Zazhi, 15(5): 5(1990).

In traditional Chinese medicine, colds, flu, their associated symptoms (fever, headache, etc.), and what we now know as allergies (tearing eye, runny nose, etc.), are considered to be caused by exogenous “evils” such as “wind evil.” There are numerous herbs that have the properties of removing exogenous “evils.” These include fangfeng [Saposhnikovia divaricata (Turcz.) Schischk. root], zisuye [Perilla frutescens (L.) Britt.leaf], xinyihua or magnolia flower bud (Magnolia biondii Pamp. & other Magnolia spp.), niubangzi (Arctium lappa L. fruit), bohe or mint (Mentha haplocalyx Briq. herb), juhua or chrysanthemum flower (Chrysanthemum morifolium Ramat. flower head), jinyinhua or honeysuckle flower (Lonicera japonica Thunb.), lianqiao or forsythia fruit [Forsythia suspensa (Thunb.) Vahl], chuanxinlian (Andrographis paniculata (Burm. f.) Nees herb], and others. Most of these herbs have also been shown to have antibacterial and/or antiviral activities. There is definitely a correlation between modern antimicrobial effects and traditional exogenous “evils.” Hence, if you want to search for new antiviral compounds from natural sources, look into Chinese herbs that have “wind-evil-removing” as well as “toxin-removing” and “heat-removing” properties. Chances are preliminary reports of such effects are already in the Chinese literature. You just need to know where to look. Remember, it’s your money; watch out for self-promoting consultants (see this Newsletter, Issue 1, p. 1)!

These and more herbal remedies are available from the volumes of Dr. Leung’s newsletter, of the same name as this blog (Leung’s Chinese Herb News). This newsletter was published and sent to subscribers (most were industry-insiders) from 1996 to 2004. The collected works now serve as an excellent reference work, created with Dr. Leung’s frank, honest opinions and down-to-earth communication style.

For more information about Dr. Leung and his writings, visit www.earthpower.com. To order the newsletter containing the remedies mentioned above, visit the bookstore, click “Buy Now” on the newsletter, and select Issue # 8 from the drop down list.

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