One of my favorite sayings in Chinese medicine is, “Wind is the carrier of 1000 diseases.” I love the imagery it conjures and the elemental nature of the phrase. When I say this to my patients we end up having a conversation about what it means.
Now that the weather has changed and it is getting colder and windy, cold and flu season is upon us. In Chinese medicine that means that we take steps to avoid becoming sick by minimizing our exposure to wind. That means hats and scarves and being dressed properly when we go outside. At home it means eating warm nourishing foods like soups, congee or stews while sipping ginger tea. It also means paying attention to nature and going to bed earlier with the darkness that comes with the time change.
For people battling seasonal colds, it is a great time to check in with your Chinese medicine practitioner for treatment and some immune boosting herbs. In 2015 there was a study done at Yale University that showed that when core body temperature inside the nose falls by five degrees the immune system does not work as well to fight the cold virus. This supports the idea that we need to take extra care of ourselves during the colder months.