Written by Nate Mohler, L.Ac. Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist, McIntyre Community Acupuncture and Wellness Center.
From sometime around Thanksgiving week until mid-spring we are in the midst of cold and cough season. The heart of winter is the peak of cold and cough season due to the fact that the weather is not conducive for outdoor activity. Being outdoors less frequently limits the amount of Vitamin D that our body makes from sun exposure.
A second cause of the winter cold is related to the fact that we are indoors; our households during our winter indoor retreats become a good time and place for viruses and bacteria to thrive. Then, when we catch these germs (or they catch us) we pass them among family members.
In the springtime, we are often coming down from cold season and entering our first allergy season. The thing that both colds and allergies have in common is respiratory issues, mostly upper respiratory. Nutrition, acupuncture, and herbal medicine are all very useful in preventing as well as treating these conditions.
The first line of defense in the prevention of colds and allergies is proper nutrition. Make sure you eat foods that are rich in vitamins C and D; there is evidence that these vitamins have immunomodulatory effects that can benefit both allergies and colds (Forastiere, 2000) (Gafvelin, 2013).
Of course citrus is a good food source of vitamin C, but also consider leafy greens, tomatoes, and berries. For vitamin D, fish is one of the best sources (especially fatty fish like salmon). Mushrooms are also high in vitamin D. If fish and mushrooms is not your thing, seek foods that have been fortified with vitamin D.
Acupuncture and herbal intervention may be both a means of prevention and a treatment for colds and allergies. A very famous Chinese physician, Zhang Zhongjing (150 AD – 219 AD) dedicated his practice to developing protocols with acupuncture and herbs to treat such conditions. Treatments are easy and generally less painful than a mosquito bite and often just a couple of treatments can reduce the length of a cold or help with acute or chronic allergies. Herbal medicine may be prescribed simultaneously to improve the outcome.
When you do get a cold or suffer from allergies, one of the worst things is when it migrates into the chest and leads to cough and wheezing. Cough syrup is a great way to mitigate these symptoms. Homemade cough syrup will help you avoid unwanted chemical additives.
It is simple and fun to make your own cough medicine. We will be holding a workshop on November 5th, 2016 at McIntyre Community Acupuncture and Wellness “How to Make Herbal Cough Syrup” at home. For details check our events page at www.mcintyrecommunityacupuncture.com/events/
Also, if you are suffering from a cold or allergies, consider giving acupuncture at McIntyre a try.
Forastiere, F., Pistelli, R., Sestini, P., Fortes, C., Renzoni, E., Rusconi, F., … & SIDRIA Collaborative Group.(2000). Consumption of fresh fruit rich in vitamin C and wheezing symptoms in children. Thorax, 55(4), 283-288.Gafvelin, G. (2013). Vitamin D and allergies. Journal of the Serbian Chemical Society, 78(3), 353-363.(2000). Consumption of fresh fruit rich in vitamin C and wheezing symptoms in children. Thorax, 55(4), 283-288.
Gafvelin, G. (2013). Vitamin D and allergies. Journal of the Serbian Chemical Society, 78(3), 353-363.