Propensity to catch colds according to Chinese Medicine

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Propensity to catch colds can be the consequence of several so-called “patterns of disharmony” in Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted, leading to symptoms or signs that something is wrong (like propensity to catch colds here). It is similar to the concept of disease in Western Medicine but not quite: a Western disease can often be explained by several Chinese patterns and vice-versa.

A pattern often manifests itself in a combination of symptoms that, at first glance, do not seem necessarily related to each others. For instance here propensity to catch colds is often associated with shortness of breath, coughing and weak voice in the pattern “Lung Qi Deficiency”.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of propensity to catch colds we’ve identified two herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.

We’ve also selected below the five medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat propensity to catch colds.

Lung Qi Deficiency, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause propensity to catch colds

In Chinese Medicine propensity to catch colds is a symptom for the pattern "Lung Qi Deficiency". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.

The Lungs is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Lungs in Chinese Medicine

Lung Qi Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu)

Tongue color: Pale

The Lungs govern Qi and respiration. In case of Lung Qi Deficiency, Qi's protecting, dispersing and descending function can not be performed properly.

In addition to propensity to catch colds, other symptoms associated with Lung Qi Deficiency include shortness of breath, coughing and weak voice.

Lung Qi Deficiency is often treated with Si Jun Zi Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Ginseng - Ren Shen - as a key herb). Si Jun Zi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify qi", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Tonifies Qi".

Read more about Lung Qi Deficiency here

Two herbal formulas that might help with propensity to catch colds

Si Jun Zi Tang

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi. Strengthens the Spleen and Stomach.

Why might Si Jun Zi Tang help with propensity to catch colds?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Lung Qi Deficiency' of which propensity to catch colds is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Lung Qi Deficiency include shortness of breath, coughing and weak voice.

Read more about Si Jun Zi Tang here

Ba Zhen Tang

Source date: 1326 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and augments Qi. Tonifies and augments Blood.

Why might Ba Zhen Tang help with propensity to catch colds?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Lung Qi Deficiency' of which propensity to catch colds is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Lung Qi Deficiency include shortness of breath, coughing and weak voice.

Read more about Ba Zhen Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat propensity to catch colds

Why might Ginseng (Ren Shen) help with propensity to catch colds?

Because Ginseng is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat propensity to catch colds as a symptom, like Si Jun Zi Tang or Ba Zhen Tang for instance.

Ginseng is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Very strongly tonifies the Qi. Tonifies the Lungs and Spleen. Assists the body in the secretion of Fluids and stops thirst. Strengthens the Heart and calms the Shen (mind/spirit).

Read more about Ginseng here

Why might Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with propensity to catch colds?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat propensity to catch colds as a symptom, like Si Jun Zi Tang or Ba Zhen Tang for instance.

Poria-Cocos Mushrooms is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart, the Kidney and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Encourages urination and drains Dampness. Tonic to the Spleen/Stomach. Assists the Heart and calms the Spirit.

Read more about Poria-Cocos Mushrooms here

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with propensity to catch colds?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat propensity to catch colds as a symptom, like Si Jun Zi Tang or Ba Zhen Tang for instance.

Liquorice is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Basal Qi and nourishes the Spleen Qi. Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Moistens the Lungsexpel phlegm and stop coughing. Relieves spasms and alleviates pain. Harmonizes and moderates the effects of other herbs.

Read more about Liquorice here

Why might Atractylodes Rhizome (Bai Zhu) help with propensity to catch colds?

Because Atractylodes Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat propensity to catch colds as a symptom, like Si Jun Zi Tang or Ba Zhen Tang for instance.

Atractylodes Rhizomes is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen Qi. Fortifies the Spleen Yang and dispels Damp through urination. Tonifies Qi and stops sweating. Calms restless fetus when due to Deficiency of Spleen Qi.

Read more about Atractylodes Rhizomes here

Why might Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) help with propensity to catch colds?

Because it is a key herb in Ba Zhen Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Lung Qi Deficiency' (a pattern with propensity to catch colds as a symptom)

Prepared Rehmannia is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Tonifies the Yin of the Kidneys.

Read more about Prepared Rehmannia here

Other symptoms often associated with propensity to catch colds

Shortness of breath Coughing Weak voice Pale face Tiredness Aversion to cold Low energy Aversion to speak