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How to Kick a Cold Fast With Acupuncture: 7 Tips You Need to Know


Cold and Flu Quarantine Tape Barrier over Snowy Defocused Background

Hi Everyone!  It’s your friendly Portland Neighborhood Acupuncturists here at the WellBridge Clinic.   February is peak of Flu season and our mission is to make sure you stay healthy and recover quickly.  Today our focus is on how nutrition, herbal medicine, and Acupuncture helps you kick colds and flu. Follow these 7 steps you can take to stay on top of your game.

First off, you always hear our reminders to get your ‘acupuncture tune ups.’ We say that because acupuncture treatments are an effective way to increase our immune response. Those tiny acupuncture needles cause a big effect in stimulating and boosting the immune system. [1] [2] Research also shows that acupuncture enhances the effect of vaccines. [3]  The bonus is that Acupuncture patients get that immune benefit from any well constructed acupuncture treatment even if we are treating headachescar accident injuries, or digestive issues.  That is balance. That is holistic medicine.

For now, stay healthy and follow these steps to avoid succumbing to a cold or flu this season:

7 Steps to Staying Healthy in Cold and Flu Season

  1. Reduce stress: Budget more time for Sleep, Exercise, and Acupuncture
  2. Probiotics (NOT from the grocery store)
  3. Antiviral herbs such as Elderberry (Sambucus) and Isatis or Woad (Isatis tinctoria), known as Ban lan gen in Chinese medicine.
  4. Vitamin D3
  5. Diet: Reduce sugar and alcohol. Increase steamed leafy greens, Antioxidants, Vitamin C, and be sure to read on for the Ginger Lemon-Drop Tea recipe.
  6. Boost your Immunity: By taking mushroom blends of Shitake (Lentinula edodes) and Turkey Tail (Coriolus versicolor)
  7. Acupuncture helps you kick colds and flu… Schedule your Acupuncture tune up.

Who likes to know why?  Read on:


As the saying goes, “Stress is the mother of all diseases.”  We live in what can easily be called the most stressful time in human history.  When once we ran from lions, tigers and bears (oh my!) and then it was over….today our minds and bodies are often in a continual state of stress or ‘sympathetic imbalance’. This lowers our immunity and creates compounding dysfunction in our body that leads to disease and pain.  It is our health mission to make sure we have good sleep, exercise regularly, and yes, get acupuncture.  Acupuncture balances our breathing patterns, heart rate, and hormones so we become more calm and increase the parasympathetic function.  That way our immune system works better!


As acupuncturists, we are always working from a holistic health perspective and our digestive health is crucial.  Even with the best of efforts, our modern diets have an impact on the balance of our gut microbiome [9]. That’s why I always recommend keeping up with a round of probiotics a couple times per year, even the most healthy people.  The organisms that live in our body have such a powerful impact on our physical and mental health that I could write an entire book, but I’m going to emphasis this:

It’s important to know that all probiotics aren’t created equally…not even close.  One of the best recommendations I have is to stop relying on yogurt, fermented foods, and eliminate grocery store probiotics.  To make a scientifically measurable change in our microbiome, we need to start with spore encapsulated probiotics [7].  We carry these at the clinic and you will experience a difference in your whole health.

Antiviral Herbs 

Chinese herbal medicine has a long history of treating viral infections. One of the most potent and well researched plants is Ban lan gen root(Isatis indigotica). Isatis has been used for over a thousand years to treat upper respiratory tract infections and is active constituent in Tamiflu.[12] Elderberry syrup is a tasty way to keep healthy during the flu season. As a natural anti-viral, research shows that elderberry helps reduce the length of sickness caused by the flu.  Also keep elderberry handy for other virus outbreaks, like shingles, chicken pox, and cold sores. [4] [5] [6] [14]

Vitamin D

Everyone has heard of the benefits of Vitamin D to avoid the winter blues.  Vitamin D has so many more effects on the body other than just elevating our mood. [8] The benefits of Vitamin D range from hormone balancing to preventing osteoporosis.  Today I want to emphasize that research shows that a daily dose of 2000iu of Vitamin D helps prevent respiratory infections in adults and children. [10]  Taking vitamin D is as important as what kind of vitamin D, and how we take our Vitamin D.  Vitamin D is absorbed best by the body when in a micro emulsion so that it can be absorbed effectively. We have carefully chosen a product from Biotics Research that has been proven by research to be better that most other sources of Vitamin D.


Eating well will always transform any health problem.  Here are a couple things that will make all the difference in staying healthy:

  1. Avoid alcohol.  Booze lowers your immunity by altering inflammation responses in the body and it benefits the ‘bad’ bacteria that work against us.
  2. Reduce sugar….stop refined sugars.  The key here is where are all of those sugars coming from.  Avoid processed grains like pasta, and ‘Just Say No’ to white refined sugar.
  3. Minimize or stop dairy.  Dairy is a mucogen…it promotes the creation of mucus.  No one likes mucus. I know we all thought it was something good, but it’s not.
  4. Increase antioxidants.  Think of Antioxidants as one of the cleaners in our body.  You can get more by eating leafy green vegetables, berries, and supplement with vitamin C.

Ginger Lemon-Drop Tea

If you get sick, try this feel good recipe:

  1. Ginger Tea. Steep a good strong ginger tea. I always keep a ginger tea like Yogi Tea Brand in the cupboard.  If you are motivated, fresh ginger is fabulous. Be sure to cut off any moldy parts…mycotoxins are poisonous.
  2. Lemon. Squeeze in lots of lemon…like half of a lemon
  3. Honey.  Add enough honey to take the bite off the ginger and lemon flavors.  Make it so you enjoy drinking it.

Medicinal Mushrooms

Mushrooms have been used consumed for thousands of years to help boost the immune system and help fight off infections. [13]  Try mixing in powdered organic mushroom extracts into your warm morning beverage.


Science keeps confirming the benefits of Acupuncture for pain relief and immune boosting.  If you do get sick be sure to make and keep your appointment for acupuncture because Acupuncture helps you kick colds and flu. [1] [2]  A good herbal formula, acupuncture, and moxibustion treatments can significantly reduce the severity of symptoms and shorten the duration of the cold.  Even better, stay ahead of the game, keep tuned up, and prevent any cold or flu with regular acupuncture appointments. Schedule your acupuncture treatment today. 


  1. Acupuncture and Immunity Overview: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4540978/
  2. Acupuncture effect on Neuro-Endocrine-Immune Network system: https://academic.oup.com/qjmed/article/107/5/341/1563714
  3. Acupuncture strengthens the effect of Vaccines: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23301487
  4. Elderberry works like Tamiflu: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19682714
  5. Small Study showing that people that took elderberry for influenza got better 4 days quicker than people who didn’t take elderberry: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15080016
  6. Elderberry inhibits influenza virus: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9395631
  7. Spore based Probiotics improve symptoms of endotoxemia: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-10-benefits-spore-based-probiotic-supplementsbut-probiotics.html
  8. Vitamin D overview: https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-929/vitamin-d
  9. What is the gut biome:  https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/290747.php#2
  10. Vitamin D prevents Respiratory infections: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3543548/
  11. Ban-Lan-Gen granules in the treatment of seasonal influenza: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4383212/
  12. Immune Modulation From Five Major Mushrooms: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684115/
  13. Inflammation-modulating effects of herbal medicine as an adjunct to anti-virals: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2010/879853/
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