Chinese medicine sees there being two types of types of common cold; the “hot” cold and the “cold” cold. Sound odd? It is not. Just recall your own experience. There are colds that slowly come on. They start off as a general feeling of being chilled and uncomfortable. ginger soupYou might have that “oh, I think I might be getting sick” run feeling. You are dragged out and slightly head-achy and with a vague sense of not being able to get warm. This could last for a day or so before before you surrender to “I’m sick.” The “hot” cold is another story. It starts off with a sore throat or fever, the time between “I think I might be getting sick” and being sick is a matter of hours. It rides into on the freight express.

Stop it before it starts
When you start to notice the “cold” type cold; the one with symptoms of a headache, stiff neck, chills with an inability to get warm, and a lack of sweating you can use this home remedy to beat it. Warning: unlike western medications that people take to cover up symptoms so they can “keep going,” this method requires a bit of rest so your body can marshal its resources and kick that darned pathogen out of your system. One afternoon or evening of downtime vs a week or more of discomfort, do the math for yourself.

Ginger, cinnamon and brown sugar
Who said all Chinese medicine tastes bad?

If you don’t have these in your kitchen, you can pick them up at the local grocery store. Here is what you need:

  • Fresh ginger root
  • Powdered cinnamon
  • Brown sugar
  • Optional: A few raisins or couple of prunes

Put 3 cups of water into a sauce pan. Thinly slice (about as thin as a quarter) 1.5-2 inches of fresh ginger One teaspoon of powdered cinnamon Add 1-1.5 tablespoons of brown sugar
Bring to a light boil then turn down and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Pour a cupful of the ginger/cinnamon tea. Crawl under some covers (you might already be there if your chills have really kicked in). Drink down a cup of this tea and take a little nap. The idea here is to get a nice light sweat going. Not a drenching sweat, water spilling out of your pores sweat, but a light therapeutic sweat. If one cup of the tea does not do the trick, take another cup a few hours later. Sometimes it helps to eat a bit of oatmeal with the tea. By all means avoid greasy foods or meats.

After the sweat, the chills should be gone, the headache much improved or gone, and a general sense that you are well on the road to recovery. If caught early in the process, you should be back to normal within a day.