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How to Prevent a Cold Before it Takes Hold

The trick to nipping a cold in the bud is frequent dosing of natural medicines, and taking it easy.

Here are the 3 main parts:

  1. Notice early that the cold is coming on
  2. Slow down if possible and take it easy.
  3. Dose frequently with various natural medicines of your choice (my favorites are listed below).

What’s really great is that most colds can be prevented if we catch them in time.

Herbal medicine is UNBELIEVABLE for this.

You can get better at noticing the signs your body gets, sooner.  The sooner you become aware that something’s going on, the easier it is to prevent the cold.

  1. Notice, What are your body’s signs?  

For some, it’s a slightly sore throat.  For others, it’s a subtle start of nasal congestion. Here are the most common signs of a cold starting (usually a person will have 1 of these, don’t wait for all of them to come on before taking action):

  • Sore throat
  • Sinus congestion
  • Slight headache
  • Feeling run down, tired, or not optimal
  • Slightly depressed mood (viruses often affects outlook on life–each virus has its unique “negative” feeling)
  • Low back achiness
  • You’ve been exposed to someone who’s sick, when you yourself are slightly run down (not a symptom, but maybe a good time to support your immune system with herbal medicine)
  1. Slow down 

If possible, stay home, take a nap, and take a bath.

It’s worth the time you’ll save and the TLC for your body and self. It’s possible that the reason you’re coming down with something is actually because your mental and emotional bodies need a break and some time to process some things.

I believe that we are exposed to real viruses all the time, and the only difference between the times we get sick and the times we don’t, is that the subconscious mind and/or emotions need to rest or process.

Extra special bath to detox, destress, and clear achiness in the muscles:

  1. Drink ginger tea before the bath (optional– this open the pores to sweat the pathogen out of the muscle tissue if there is soreness or cold)
  1. Put into the bath 1 lb of Epsom Salts, ½ box of baking soda, and 1 oz of iodine
  1. Relax and enjoy the hot bath.
  1. Dose every 2-3 hours with something that makes sense or works for you. You will discover what these things are with some experimenting.  I like to shuffle things so my body gets various immune support, and I always include Vitamin C.  These are my favorites based in my clinical experience of 18 years of acupuncture practice:
  1. Fresh ginger root tea with lemon and honey.  Use 3 thick slices of ginger root, half a lemon, a teaspoon of local honey.
  2. 1000 mg Vit C
  3. Echinacea (especially good for sore throat, puffy lymph nodes in the neck, and menstrual cycle-related immune stuff–such as a cold each month before period)
  4. Olive Leaf Extract–antiviral, immune boosting, and calming to pressure in the head and face
  5. Zinc–not easy on the tummy but commonly deficient and essential for immune health. Zicam Quick Dissolve Tablets is one of my favorite zinc supplements.
  6. Yin Qiao Wan– excellent Chinese formula for cold prevention when sore throat is the main symptom.
  7. Alpha C&F homeopathic is easy for children to dose and is quite effective.

These are the main ones, but if you already know the ones that work for you, or if you are drawn to try an herbal remedy that you read or hear about for cold prevention, go for it. Like I said, in my opinion, herbs are miracle workers for long term health and immune support.  There is nothing like them.

If you feel like you are always the one to get sick, or catch a cold or flu more than once each season, there are herbs to take on a regular basis, or throughout the cold season.  It would be best to see an acupuncturist or holistic practitioner for recommendations, but two of my favorites that have been used traditionally are Astragalus (or Jade Screen Wind Formula in Chinese Medicine) and medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi, Maitake, and Turkey Tail.

Have a great fall and winter!  Maybe you already know this, but it is possible to go for more than a decade without getting a bad cold or flu!


Acupuncturist, Herbalist, Healing Arts and Energy Medicine teacher

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