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Common Cold



Common Cold is an exogenous ailment with headache, nasal obstruction, aversion to wind and fever as its main manifestations. It often results from lowered superficial resistance and invasion of the exogenous pathogenic factors. It may occur in any season. According to the difference in weather, pathogenic factors and body constitution, the manifestations can be classified into two types: wind cold and wind heat.

Etiology and Pathogenesis

This disease is often due to delicate - constitution and weakened body resistance which makes the body inadaptable to intense changes of the weather with abnormal cold or warmth. Then the exogenous pathogenic wind invades the body through the pores, skin, mouth and nose, leading to manifestations related to lung and the defensive function. Very often pathogenic wind combined with other pathogenic factors like pathogenic cold causes a wind cold syndrome, or with pathogenic heat causes a wind heat syndrome. Invasion of exogenous pathogenic wind and cold may retard the lung's dispersing function and block the pores, while invasion of exogenous pathogenic wind and heat may impair the lung's descending function by the evaporating heat, and lead to abnormal functioning of the pores. In addition, since the patient's body build is different and the internal and external causes are mutually influenced, the manifestations after invasion by the pathogenic factors must be varied. For patients with yang deficiency, wind cold syndrome is mostly seen, while for those with yin deficiency, wind heat syndrome is often found.



Wind cold

Main manifestations: Chills, fever, anhidrosis, headache, soreness and pain of the limbs, nasal obstruction, running nose, itching of the throat, cough, hoarse voice, profuse thin sputum, thin white tongue coating, superficial and tense pulse.

Analysis: Invasion of the body surface by pathogenic wind and cold impairs the dispersing function of the lung and affects the nose, causing nasal obstruction and discharge. Pathogenic cold is of yin nature, which is likely to damage yang. Impairment of superficial yang is manifested by exterior symptoms such as chills, fever, anhidrosis, headache, even soreness and pain of the limbs. Thin white tongue coating and superficial tense pulse are the signs showing the invasion of the lung and the superficial defensive system by pathogenic wind and cold.


Method: Reducing is applied to the points of the Du, taiyang and shaoyang meridians to eliminate wind cold and relieve exterior symptoms. Even movement combined with moxibustion is applied to patients with weakened constitutions.

Prescription: [DU16 BL12 GB20 LU7 LI 4].

Explanation: DU16 is used to relieve the exterior symptoms, eliminate wind and check headache. BL12, a point of taiyang BL which dominates the surface of the whole body, is selected to regulate the circulation of qi in this meridian, to eliminate wind cold and to relieve chills and fever. As the pathogenic cold has attacked the surface of the body, and the lung is the organ related to the skin and hair, LU7, the luo-connecting point of the taiyin LU, is used to promote the dispersing function of the lung and to check cough. GB20, a point at the intersection of shaoyang GB and yangwei, of which the latter dominates yang and the exterior, is used to eliminate wind cold. Since taiyin and yangming are externally and internally related, LI 4, the yuan-primary point of yangming LI, is used to eliminate the pathogenic factors and relieve the exterior symptoms.



Wind heat

Main manifestations: Fever, sweating, slight aversion to wind, pain and distending sensation of the head, cough with yellow, thick sputum, congested and sore throat, thirst, thin white or yellowish tongue coating, superficial and rapid pulse.

Analysis: Pathogenic wind heat often attacks the body through the nose and mouth. The lung is involved first. Pathogenic wind of yang nature is characterized by upward and outward dispersion. When a fight goes on between the pathogenic wind heat and the body resistance, fever, slight aversion to wind and sweating result. When the pathogenic wind heat attacks the head, symptoms like pain and distending sensation occur in the head. In case the lung fails in dispersing and descending, there appears cough with yellow, thick sputum. When the pathogenic wind heat stifles the air passage, there is congested sore throat with thirst. Thin, white or yellowish tongue coating, and superficial rapid pulse are the signs showing the lung and the defensive system being attacked by the pathogenic wind heat.


Reducing is applied to the points of the Du, shaoyang and yangming meridians to eliminate wind heat.

Prescription: [DU14 LI11 TH5 LI4 LU10 LU11].

Explanation: Du is the sea of all the yang meridians. DU14, a point where all the yang meridians meet, is used to eliminate heat and other pathogenic factors of yang nature. LI4 and LI11 are the yuan-primary point and the he-sea point of yangming LI. Since yangming LI and taiyin LU are externally and internally related, reducing applied to these two points can clear lung qi and reduce heat. LU10, the ying-spring point of taiyin LU, in combination with LU11, can eliminate heat from the lung and ease the throat. TH5, the luo-connecting point of shaoyang TH connecting with yangwei, can dispel pathogenic factors of yang nature in the exterior of the body and eliminate heat.




The above treatment can also be used for other viral and bacterial infections of the upper respiratory tract as well as influenza. However, common cold should be distinguished from other infectious diseases with similar symptoms at the early stage.

Prophylactic measures: Moxibustion is applied daily to BL12or ST36 to prevent common cold during its prevalence.




The Material presented on this Website is for information purposes only and is not designed to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. It is not recommended that laypersons practice Chinese Medicine without the guidance of a licensed professional.

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