A high fever with cold sensations, aching joints, sweating, headaches and general weakness, a cough and chest pain: most strains of the all-too-familiar flu virus have these symptoms in common. Western medicine advises bed rest, plenty of fluids and regular doses of aspirin or paracetamol as the best treatment. No modern medicines are effective against a virus, and this one changes its structure from year to year.
However, Chinese Medicine offers a much more optimistic outlook. Flu is treated in three categories: wind cold, wind heat or damp and treatment will differ slightly according to the type. A large number of flowers and aromatic herbs will be used by a Chinese Medicine practitioner when treating this common complaint. Moxibustion is an effective therapy because a pungent aroma, which is made to rise through burning, can clear the toxins from the body.
In China, there are several well-known brands of patent medicines which are effective in treating flu and feverish colds. These are now proving popular over here and are available from Chinese Medicine shops on consultation with the pharmacist, who will advise on the one most suitable for the particular symptoms. Honeysuckle, forsythia, chrysanthemum, peppermint and cinnamon are among the herbs used.
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