Cold and Flu Prevention and Care

Treating colds and the flu effectively

With Chinese herbs, Modern supplements and Acupuncture

by Collin Stoll L.Ac.


The following are an overview and modern Chinese Medicine, and Western Holistic clinical protocols for preventing and treating colds, flu and lingering bacterial infections. I have updated and used them myself, my family and in my clinical practice for the past 20 years and have found them highly effective.


In the 14th century when Europe was being decimated by the Plague, the Chinese had already spent two centuries compiling The Wen Bing (book on feverish disease) and have continued to update formulas which are still used today to effectively treat what modern medicine calls the common cold and the flu.

Unlike the vaccines, Chinese herb therapies for influenza are not specific for the viral strain. Instead, they have general actions such as to help boost and regulate the immune system to help eliminate the virus faster or prevent it altogether. At high enough dosage they may have direct (but general) inhibitory effects on viral reproduction, and they ameliorate some of the symptoms, thus making a serious infection seem mild.

During the period from the 1950s to the 1970s, several large-scale studies were undertaken in China to evaluate the use of traditional herb formulas and newer herbal remedies to prevent and treat colds and influenza, with favorable results reported for several compounds. Since the outbreak of SARS in 2003 and H1N1 a few years later Chinese Hospitals and health authorities have developed several effective herbal formulas for preventing and diminishing flu symptoms.  The recent clinical evidence from China, Korean and Japan in dealing with SARS and H1N1 suggests that they are highly effective.


In China and Japan it is increasingly common to prescribe nutritional supplements, along with herb remedies.  Chinese herbal formulas combined with western supplements and vitamins to support and regulate the immune system can decrease the chances of contracting or the potential duration and severity of colds and flu.  For individuals who are highly susceptible to colds and flu and those who tend to experience severe symptoms, as well as during influenza seasons it is prudent to treat even the initial symptoms as though a severe case is about to develop. The following protocols can also be followed by people who are developing symptoms despite having been vaccinated (since the possibility exists of vaccine failure, especially later in the season when new strains might dominate).


Immune + (Evergreen Herbs available at the clinic) is based off a formula developed in 1481 and has been literal used for centuries by millions of Chinese, Japanese and Koreans to strengthen the immune system and prevent colds and flu. It contains 6 herbs that work synergistically to prevent infection by supporting and regulating immunity: (Astragalus, Ganoderma, Cordyceps, Schisandra), digestion (Atractylodes) and circulation and inflammatory response (Siler).   It is especially beneficial for people with low immunity and who frequently catch colds and flus.  Also for people who are worried about exposure in crowds or travel.  Because it supports and regulates rather than stimulates the immune system, Immune+ is safe to take for up to 10 weeks at a time. Maintenance dose is usually 2 capsules twice a day.

Bio-Glycozyme Forte (Biotics Research available at the clinic) is a comprehensive mineral, glandular and vitamin supplement (not a Chinese formula). The concept behind its use is that by providing optimal or even high levels of certain nutrients, the immune system has a stronger resistance against pathogens. Besides immune system supporters like vitamin A, C, Zinc and Selinium this formula helps support normal blood sugar levels in non-diabetic individuals.  Spikes and dips in blood sugar levels are associated with poor immune response.  The point of providing a broad nutritional supplementation, rather than just focusing on a few of the established ingredients, is to assure a more balanced effect. dosage ranges from 1-3 capsules a day.


Vitamin D For prevention of colds and flus it is recommend to maintain blood levels above 50ng/ml and below 100 ng/ml.  In the NW this is usually achieved by take 2,000-10,000IU a day of vitamin D.  With the first symptoms of a cold or flu take 10,000 IU a day until symptom resolve. For more information on Vitamin D please visit


Jarrow Zinc Balance For nutritional prevention if you don’t eat oysters weekly or beef daily. One a day is a common dosage.


Jarrow Dophilus EPS/ Yum Yum Dophilus (Jarrow Formulas) Studies show Probiotics (beneficial bacteria) are good for the immune system and may help prevent you from getting colds or the flu.  On study showed those who took Probiotics were sick for significantly less time (about two days less) with less severe symptoms than the control group. [iii]  Another study of 600 children, the children who received probiotics had 24% fewer gastrointestinal infections and 18 percent fewer upper respiratory infections than control For more information see how it works for more information. 120 caps for $30 at the clinc.



High doses of immune enhancing formulas, like Immune +, may increase active and acute cold and flu symptoms.



Yin Qiao Jie Du Tang:  (TCM Zone available at the clinic) is one of the best known and most effective Chinese herbal formulas to decrease symptoms of early stage colds and the flus.


Herbal AVR ( Evergreen Herbs available at the clinic) is a complex formula that contains herbs which inhibit viral replication, kill active viruses, decrease inflammation and support the immune and digestive systems so you have less severe symptoms and recover faster.

 Life Extension Enhanced Zinc Acetate Lozenges  Zinc Acetate and zinc gluconate (50% less effective) have been proven by credible research to reduce or stop cold and flu symptoms. The Life Extension lozenges work the best because they are optimized to take sufficient time to dissolve in the mouth and be free of ingredients (sugars) that could hurt the efficacy of the lozenge. They work by freeing up ionic zinc in the mouth to spread to the sensitive tissues of the nose and throat effectively blocking cold viruses.Start sucking (no chewing for 30 min.) on a lozenge at the first sign or sneeze of a cold. By this time you have probably had the virus for a day and have less than two days to limit the spread of the virus. Take a lozenge at least once every two hours or 8 a day finishing off a bottle in a few days.  Buy 4 bottles at a time for both cost savings and having on hand. Cold Eeze works but can be up to 50% less effective.


Herbal ABX: (Evergreen Herbs available at the clinic) A complex formula containing herbs that have a broad spectrum antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal effects to address late stage cold and flu conditions including weakened immunity and opportunistic infections.


NAC: (NOW) N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) Thins mucus so it can be coughed up more easily and protects the lungs from excessive inflammation and oxidative damage during the late stages of colds and Flus.


Oregano Oil Capsules: (NOW)  Oil of oregano extract has strong anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.  Dosing is usually 1-3 pills 3 times a day with food. If protracted symptoms do not begin to resolve with 1-2 days or become worse antibiotic therapy may be necessary.  In either case it is recommended to take probiotics in order to mitigate the destruction of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system.


Acupuncture for the prevention and treatment of the flu and colds.

When done regularly Acupuncture is very effective in regulating the immune system and preventing colds and the flu. After a few days, if a fever has broken and or symptoms have shifted and are less severe, an acupuncture treatment along with cupping or Gua Sha on the back can lessen a cough, decrease inflammation, phlegm, aches and support the immune system to prevent opportunistic fungal or bacterial infections.

Beside herbs, supplements and acupuncture nothing beats a virus like sleep and plenty of fluids. Sugar lowers the immune system and should be avoided. Dairy products may cause more congestion and a better environment for the virus to replicate. I recommend eating cooked easy to digest foods like miso or chicken soup.  Gelatin added to soup or tea helps restore strength and reduces pain.  Fresh Ginger in a tea form or in soup can induce sweating to help break a fever, reduce nausea and decrease inflammation and pain. And last but not least wash your hands often.

I hope this article helps you survive and thrive through the cold and flu season.

Be Well,

Collin Stoll L.Ac.


Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology, Chen & Chen, Art of Medicine Press, 2001.Memorial Sloan-Kettering

Cancer Center

Chinese Herbs and Influenza by Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Traditional Medicine,Portland, Oregon , October 2005

The disclaimer: This letter is not intended or nor should be used as a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.  If you are suffering from a serious illness or medical condition please seek the advice of your doctor before utilizing any of the suggestions written in this newsletter.

This document  is intended to support and augment the care you are already receiving and participating in rather than  superseding advice and instruction from your primary care provider.     In the event your health seriously deteriorates rather than improves before your next visit please seek advice from your primary health care provider.  

Confidentiality Notice: This electronic transmission and all attachments are for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) identified above. This message may contain information that is privileged, confidential or otherwise protected from disclosure under applicable laws. .If you are not the intended recipient, any use, reading, dissemination, copying or storage of this information is strictly prohibited. If you have received this information in error, please notify the sender by return email and delete the whole electronic transmission from your system.