What to do when the sniffles hit during the Holidays

close-up shot of sick young family blowing noses with napkins together while lying in bed

The familiar dread of waking with a cold or feeling one coming on during a busy or stressful time is not new to many of us. As soon as you feel a little off, head right over to your local acupuncturist’s office, Chinese herb supplier, or health food store for one of the following gems. Or even better…head over now and have a couple in the medicine cabinet just in case illness hits. These already made (patent) formulas are safe for everyone and very effective at treating a cold or flu before it gets going.

Yin Chiao


Also spelled Yin Qiao, this formula is perfect when there are strong heat signs present. For example, a super sore throat that came out of nowhere, a fever, a bright red tongue, or red eyes can be example of heat signs. Also, feeling terrible rather quickly can be considered a heat sign. If any of the above occurs, begin taking Yin Qiao San immediately. Recommended dosages on the bottles are very conservative and you can safely double the dose. Most labels read: 4 tablets, 3 times a day. For sudden onset cold or flu in adults, taking 6 tablets every 2-3 hours during the first day or so can be very helpful. If symptoms do not lessen significantly or resolve completely in two days, stop taking and head to your doctor’s office. We carry this one locally in Walla Walla at Thompson Family Acupuncture Clinic. Swing by during office hours to pick up a bottle, no need to make an appointment or connect with your practitioner to add it to your medicine cabinet.

Gan Mao Ling


Gan Mao Ling is a modern compilation of Chinese herbs specifically formulated to treat modern colds and flus. Once again, if you can catch illness early enough, it can be miraculous in how well it works. Sniffles, achiness, fever, sore throat, this formula seems to work well for just about any variation of a cold or flu if you can begin taking it early enough. Just like with Yin Qiao, dosages on the label are very conservative and one can safely double the amount for adults by taking it every few hours. If you do not feel 75% better in a couple of days, stop taking and get to the doctor. We stock this one at TFAC as well.

Black Elderberry Tincture


This is gold, friends. GOLD. If your child is sent home from school sick, if you get coughed on by someone in line at the grocery store, if you share a plane ride next to someone who is sick, begin taking this and avoid coming down with anything at all. Like Vitamin C, this can help lessen the severity of a cold or flu but is most effective if you take it preventively. I cannot say enough good things about having elderberry tincture around. There are standard tinctures made from alcohol and also child-friendly tinctures made from glycerin. We stock both at our clinic. and you can find versions in most health food stores.



Wellness Tincture


This little tincture has it all. Echinacea, Goldenseal and the formula Yin Chiao blend together into droppers full of magic. Very effective when things have perhaps progressed a little further than the initial stages of illness to help lessen severity and duration. This tincture can be found at most health food stores and is worth making a little trip to pick it up when you find yourself under the weather. We don’t stock this one in the clinic, but Huckleberry’s has it.


Of course, everything your Mother or Grandmother taught you also applies. Get plenty of rest, drink extra water, eat lots of soup with garlic, etc. Having these handy formulas can help tremendously when you find yourself needing an extra immune boost. Happy holidays and stay healthy!

Julie Baron is an EDSC_0081ast Asian Medicine Practitioner at the Thompson Family Acupuncture Clinic in Walla Walla, WA. Julie seeks to empower individuals and communities.  As a movement and mindfulness educator, she has a penchant for functional anatomy. As an EAMP, she has also has a passion for herbal medicine.

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