Stop a Cold
Relieve a Cold
Prevent a Cold

Shen Clinic TCM consultation

The question has been asked over and over, “If we can go to the moon, why can’t we cure the common cold?  Humanity has long complained about our.  However it’s about time to stop grousing.  While we were absorbed and bemoaning our  utter helplessness in the face of this viral onslaught, the common cold got cured, only it wasn’t with Western science, and it wasn’t even a recent event. “The truth is that what we call ‘the common cold’ was cured in the late 19th century – in China.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has many specific formulas to battle illnesses and the common cold, it is almost always best to consult with a trained acupuncturist/herbalist to get a specified formula to your needs. The Chinese classify the common cold into various patterns each having a specific remedy that are not all mentioned here. Yin Qiao, Gan Mao Ling,  and Zong Gan Ling formulas were developed later and are based on more modern approaches to battling colds. If you find they are not working in your case, consult immediately with a practitioner of Chinese medicine to get a specific diagnosis. Classical Chinese Herbalism offers simple and extremely effective formulas to fight colds.


Honeysuckle and Forsythia Clean Toxin Pill

As close as anyone has come to curing the common cold, 
a hundred percent herbal, a hundred percent safe 
- one of nature and China’s great gifts to humanity.

Good News Travels Slowly
In 1798 Dr. Wu Ju Tong first published the cold remedy YIN chiao. He knew it worked, because everyone had been using it for generations.

For hundreds of years, YIN Chiao (Yin Qiao) and other Chinese remedies* have dealt a quick end to billions of hated colds, and other ailments. Chinese medicinal herbs are famous for their potency and reliability. It’s not because of any particular herb. It’s because of experience. After 5,000 years of inquiry and experiment, Chinese doctors have learned to use these natural substances in profoundly advanced ways; cleverly combining them to enhance healing without unwanted side-effects.



Used at the first sign or during the first two days of cold or flu, especially when accompanied by a sore throat, hot eyes, infection or earache. 
Also used as a preventative when recently exposed, or likely to be exposed to cold or flu.
 Actions: Disperses Wind Heat, Clears Heat, Relieves Toxicity.

This formula was first published in the Wen Bing Tiao Bian (Systematic Differentiation of Warm Diseases) by Dr. Wu Ju Tong in the year 1798.

Keep a dozen tablets in your car, purse, or pocket during cold and flu season.  Take promptly.

Begin taking tablets a half hour before entering airports, airplanes, terminals, or crowded public facilities.

Some manufacturers make travel size packets.

Honeysuckle, also known as Jin YIN Hua or Lonicera flos
Clears Heat, Cleans Toxins, Expels Externally Contracted Wind Heat

Forsythia, known as LIAN QIAO or
Forsythia Suspensa Fructus
Expels Contracted Wind Heat, Clears Heat, Cleans Toxins

Balloon Flower, known as JIE GENG or
Platycodi Grandiflori Radix
Transforms Cold Phlegm, Circulates Lung Energy, Benefits the Throat, Directs the Action of Other Herbs Upwards.

Peppermint, known as BO HE or
Menthe Herba
Disperses Wind Heat, Clears the Head and Eyes and Benefits the Throat

Edible Burdock, known as NIU BANG ZI or
Arctium Lappa
Detoxifies Fire Poison, Disperses Wind Heat and Benefits the Throat

Crested Grass, known as DAN ZHU YE or
Lophatheri Gracilis
Releases the Exterior, Disperses Wind Heat, Lessens Irritability, Relieves Thirst

Schizonepeta, known as JING Jie or
Schizonepeta Tenuifolia
Releases Exterior, Expels Wind Cold and Wind Heat

Fermented Soy Bean, known as Dan Dou QiSojae Praeparatum Semen
Releases the Exterior for both Cold and Hot Exterior Conditions, Alleviates Irritability

Chinese Licorice root also known as GAN CAO Glycyrrhiza Uranelsis Radix
Tonifies the Spleen, Benefits the Qi, Detoxifies Fire Poisons, Moderates and Harmonizes Other Herbs.



Clears Heat, Cleans Toxin, Dispels Wind, Relieves Cough


Use alone or combined with YIN Chiao at the onset of cold or flu or. Use alone or combined with Zong Gan Ling for stronger relief of cold or flu symptoms.Use when cough or sinus congestion is present at the onset of a cold or flu.

ADULTS: If taken alone or together with YIN Chiao or Zong Gan Ling, take 2-4 tablets every 3-4 hours.CHILDREN: Crush one tablet for every 25 lbs. of body weight. Mix with food or syrup.

Gan Mao Ling can be used as a cold preventative alone or in combination with YIN Chiao at the yangming (early) stage of a cold or flu. It is also used alone or in combination with Zong Gan Ling for added relief of symptoms at the shaoyang (later) stages. This product may be most helpful when a cold or flu is accompanied by a cough or sinus infection. However do not use or prescribe this product for a dry cough which follows a respiratory infection. These coughs are usually caused by Lung Dryness. Use Shen Clinic’s Dry Cough Pills for these post-infection coughs. Use this product for acute problems only. Gan Mao Ling is not an immune booster. Do not use it for extended periods of more than 2 weeks. For long term immune enhancement use Dr. Shen’s Jade Shield Pills Several of the herbs in this formula are of recent discovery and are not mentioned in classical medical literature. Ilex gang mei gen, evodia san cha ku, and vitex huang JING cao, along with better known isatis, lonicera, and chrysanthemum have recently been shown to have strong antiviral effects.


  • Ilex Root (Gang Mei Gen) Radix Ilicis Asprellae. …
  • Evodia Leaf (San Cha Ku) Radix-Ramus Evodiae. …
  • Vitex Leaf (Wu Zhi Gan) Herba Viticis. …
  • Woad Root (Ban Len Gen) Radix Isatidis. …
  • Chrysanthemum Flower (Ju Hua) Flos Chrysanthemum. …
  • Honeysuckle Flower (Jin Yin Hua) Flos Lonicerae. …
  • Mint Leaf (Bo He) Herba Mentha.


Zong Gan Ling, sometimes spelled Zhong Gan Ling is used for symptomatic relief of severe or advanced head cold or flu with symptoms such as headache, sore throat, nasal congestion, body aches, fever and chills. The formula Clears Heat, Drains Dampness, Eliminates Cold, Releases Muscles, Relieves Pain

Exact source anonymous. Early twentieth century origin. Previously manufactured by the Meizhou Pharmaceutical Manufactory, Guandong, China.

Adults: Take three to six pills at a time, every four hours. If symptoms persist, see a licensed health care provider. Do not exceed 12 pills a day

Children: Use one tablet for each 30 lbs. of body weight. Crush and mix with food. Do not exceed 4 pills a day.

Though normally considered safe for everyone, pregnant women and nursing mothers should always consult their health care provider before taking any medicine.

If your physician is unfamiliar with these herbs, licensed acupuncturists are health care providers who are often informed about Chinese herbs.

Kudzu Root also known as GE GEN or Radix Puerariae
Clears Heat, Releases the Muscles, Nourishes Fluids
Hairy Holly Root also known as Mao Tung Ching or Radix Illicis Pubescentis
Clears toxic Heat, Invigorates Blood
Vervain also known as Herb of the Cross or Ma Pien Tsao or Herba Verbenae
Clears Heat, Disperses Blood
Woad Root, known as Indigo, Ban Lan Gen or Radix Isatidis
Quells Heat, Detoxifies Fire Poison, Benefits the Throat
Wormwood Plant known as Qing Hao or Herba Artemisae
Clears Heat, Cools Blood, Clears Deficiency Fever, Clears Summer Heat
Gypsum known as Shi Gao or Gypsum Fibrosum
Quells Fire, Clears Heat, Clears Stomach Fire rising to the Head
Notopterygi known as Qiang Huo or Radix & Rhizome Notopterygium incisium
Releases the Exterior, Disperses Cold and Dampness, Alleviates Pain, Directs Herbs Upward

The course of treatment is a minimum of one dose and a maximum of two weeks per episode. Rest during the hours of administration, if possible, is a plus.

Strong Heat Clearing herbs such as these are not recommended as a daily supplement for continuous use.

Preventing a Cold: Chinese Herbs for Immunity

Jade Shield or Jade Windscreen

The best way to battle colds is to be strong enough not to contract them in the first place.

The ancient formula Yu Ping Feng San ( jade windscreen formula) is used to build defensive energy (wei qi) and Consolidate the Surface (protect against cold, flu, and other illness-causing invasions).

Formula Source: Jade Windscreen Powder, Teachings of Zhu Dan Xi

Actions: Augments the Qi, Stabilizes the Exterior. 

Astragali Radix
Botanical Name: Astragalus Membricanaceus
English name: Milk-vetch root
Mandarin name: Huang Qi
Taste: Sweet Nature: Warming, Extremely safe
Functions: Benefits the Qi, Lifts the YANG, Strengthens the Spleen/ (pancreas), Tonifies the Wei Qi (defensive energy)

Ligustri Lucidi Fructus**
Botanical Name: Ligustrum lucidum
English name: Privet fruit
Mandarin name: Nu Zhen Zi
Taste: Bitter and Sweet Nature: Neutral, Extremely safe
Functions: Nourishes and Tonifies the Liver and Kidney YIN ( This means: promotes the flow of energy and the storage of energy and blood), Strengthens the JING (slows aging)

Atractylodis Rhizoma
Botanical Name: Atractylodis macrocephala
English name: Atractylodis rhizome
Mandarin name: Bai Zhu
Taste:Bitter and Sweet Nature: Warm, Extremely safe
Functions: Stabilizes the Exterior, Benefits th Qi, Tonifies the Spleen/pancreas, Dries Dampness

Cinnamomi, Ramulus**
Botanical Name: Cinnamomum cassia
English name: Cinnamon twig
Mandarin name: GUI ZHI
Taste: Acrid and Sweet Nature: Warm, Extremely safe
Functions:Adjusts the Protective Qi, Warms the Channels, Disperses Cold, Moves and Strenghens the YANG, Transforms Qi

Ledebouriellae Sesloidis Radix
Botanical Name: Ledebourilla or Saposhinikovia
English name: Siler
Mandarin name: Fang Feng
Taste: Acrid and Sweet Nature: Slightly Warm, Extremely safe

Functions: Releases the Exterior, Expels Wind Cold, Expels Wind Damp.


The Jade Shield version is augmented by the addition of Ligustrum lucidum (privit fruit -Nu Zhen Zi and Cinammomi ramulus cinammon twig- GUI ZHI)
Adding Ligustrum expands the immune enhancing property of astragalus while reducing the drying properties of both the atractylodes and the ledebouriella. Replacing some siler and BAI ZHU with cinnamon twig also reduces dryness. These changes makes the formula more potent and suitable for long-term use for those with dry or yin deficient constitutions.


Acupuncture can help enhance energy and boost the immune system. Studies have demonstrated that acupuncture and herbal medicine reduce the incidence of upper respiratory tract infection (URI) and shorten the illness. Ii is best to begin acupuncture treatments as soon as possible to help eliminate pathogenic influences.

Chinese medicine believes that each person has a unique constitution that leaves his or her body exposed in one particular manner. This is why some people catch colds and flu and some do not. Acupuncture works by strengthening each person's particular weakness. Where MDs use generalized vaccinations to immunize them from the illness, Oriental Medicine uses acupuncture and herbal medicine to prevent illness. Studies have shown that certain immune enhancing blood components stay elevated for at least 3 days following an acupuncture treatment.

The key to effective treatment is thought to be early intervention. The sooner treatment is received the faster and more effective treatment is.