Influenza (Flu) is an infectious virus which affects the respiratory system. There are multiple strains or variants of the influenza virus, however, they all share a common set of symptoms which include:

  • Sudden high temperature of 38C or above
  • Body and joint aches
  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Headache
  • Sore throat and dry cough
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and stomach pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting

Western medicine advises bed rest, plenty of fluids, regular doses of aspirin or paracetamol, and vitamins C, D, B6 and B12 as the best treatment. No modern medicines are effective against influenza virus, and this one changes its structure from year to year. Although, more recently, vaccines are being made available to help deal with the most prevalant strains of the virus.

However, Chinese medicine offers a much more optimistic outlook. Influenza 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. These help to clear Cold, Heat and Wind. Moxibustion is an effective therapy because a pungent aroma, which is made to rise through burning, can clear the toxins from the body. This approach is usually combined with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.

Treating Influenza with TCM

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.

Jin Yin Hua (Flos Lonicerae), Lian Qiao (Fructus Forsythiae), Ju Hua (Flos Chrysanthemi), Bo He (Herba Mentha) and Gui Zhi (Ramulus Cinnamomi) are among the herbs used.

If you wish to enquire about purchasing Chinese Herbal Medicines to help this condition please email us at