Chinese Herbal Formulas for the Colds/Flus Season

Ever heard of the fact that Chinese Medicine offers a number of formulas to help with the symptoms of colds and flus? We decided to share a couple of very popular herbal formulas used in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) for this cold/flu season.

Before we start, we should pause for a moment and remind everyone that these formulas are not to be used in emergencies when it is most appropriate to call 911.  These are to help alleviate the symptoms and potentially shorten the duration of a cold or a flu.  If any of your symptoms are persistent and/or more severe than usual, please do not simply rely on our suggestions and make an appointment to see a doctor. 

Okay, without further ado, let us begin.

In Chinese Medicine, there are two types of colds.  We call one wind-cold and one wind-heat.  These present with different symptoms and thus have two types different of formulas.

Wind-Heat Symptoms:

·      Sore Throat

·      Chills and fever, but mostly fever

·      Higher temperatures

·      Yellow nasal discharge

·      Slight Cough with yellow phlegm


The formula for these symptoms: Yin Qiao San 


Wind-Cold Symptoms:

·      Chills and fever, but mostly chills with sweating

·      Aversion to wind

·      Scratchy throat, not sore yet

·      Clear or white nasal discharge

·      If there’s a cough it must not have yellow phlegm.  If it does, then the pattern is more complicated and one needs to see a professional for more guidance.

The formula for these symptoms: Gui Zhi San.

The main herb here is cinnamon. So if you can't find this formula, try making a tea with plenty of cinnamon powder, drink it and sweat it out!


You’ll find some of these formulas (in pill form) available at Whole Foods or your local Co-ops.  Others could be bought on Amazon.  Since you will most likely find them in pill form,  you should simply follow the instructions on the bottle.  Some brands that we like: Mayway (plumflower), Health Concerns, and Spring Wind. 

If you are someone who suffers from colds more than twice a year, we would recommend you work on strengthen your immune strength. There are herbs and supplements to help you with that, but we’ll get into the specifics on a later post. 

And there you have it. TCM's formulas to keep in your cupboard for the colder months when you might feel under the weather. Happy staying health!