Boost Your Immunity with Chinese Medicine

Cold & Flu | | August 1, 2009 at 9:48 am

Photo by vivain.

Our first line of defense is our skin, otherwise known as wei qi, or protective qi. Not only do wind and heat offer transportation for pathogens, they can also elicit a direct physiological affect of opening and closing the pores of the skin’s exterior. Dry heat helps foster a hospitable environment to these pathogens allowing them entrance through the nose, mouth, and skin resulting in symptoms such as a sore dry throat and nose, simultaneous fever and chills, headache, and fatigue.

What You Can Do: Seasonal Acupuncture Treatments

Most practitioners of Chinese and Naturopathic medicine would agree that seasonal acupuncture treatments are one of the best methods to protect and enhance the immune system. My patients report increased vitality, less frequent colds and flus, shorter duration of colds and flu, and decreased seasonal allergies with regular acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture has been shown to maintain homeostasis of the immune system by mediating the balance of both helper and suppressor T cells, increasing natural killer cells, and regulating leukocyte numbers.

Acupuncture and Cupping Therapy

At the first sign of a sore throat call your acupuncturist. If you catch it quick enough, your practitioner can stop a cold or flu in its tracks by relieving wind-heat and stabilizing the exterior, thus, keeping pathogens from entering your blood stream that would otherwise make you feel sick.

Based upon the signs and symptoms you present with, the acupuncturist will decide which modality is best suited for your condition.  In addition to acupuncture, one of the most effective ways to stabilize immunity is by a method called cupping. This non-invasive modality involves the placement of glass or plastic “cups” over specific areas of the body to discourage metabolic waste, bacteria, and viruses from entering into the bloodstream.

Chinese Medicinal Food and Phyto-Therapy

A strong vital immune system depends upon what you feed it.  Chinese food therapy is a reliable method and wonderful companion to acupuncture. To keep immunity in tip top shape, be sure to get ample amounts of the following therapeutic foods:

    Cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, brocco sprouts, kale, swiss chard, bok choy, and daikon radish increase levels of glutathione and contain DIM (di-indole methane).  Both glutathione and DIM increase immune cells while reducing your chances of developing certain types of cancer.

    Enhance T & B immune cells with carotenoids: carrots, goji berries, Rich in beta-carotene, these foods promote new skin cells as well as protecting the mucosal lining of the lungs and digestive system.

    Boost your vitamin C levels and immunity with colorful watermelon and cantaloupe, kiwis, strawberries, blackberries, red and yellow peppers.

    Jujube fruit, known as the Chinese date provides mucilaginous properties to soothe and lubricate the mucosal lining of the throat.  Jujube fruit can be found in Chinese markets and health food stores.

    Loquat fruit with organic honey will act as a natural cough drop soothing scratchiness and hoarseness.  Available in a prepared form found on health food store shelves.

Slippery Elm Syrup and Throat Coat Tea are two prepared products to take with you on the go to help moisten dryness and assist in healing tissue.

The Immunity in Your Gut: Probiotics

Most are surprised to learn that approximately ¾ of your immune function takes place within the digestive system! Beneficial bacteria when properly maintained are one of the body’s strongest lines of defense. Therapeutic levels can be achieved with a high quality refrigerated probiotic supplement.  If you’re allergic to dairy, several non-dairy forms are available.

ChristineChristine M. Dionese L.Ac. specializes in integrative medicine, medical journalism and was the VP of marketing at WellWire LLC. Visit her wellness and lifestyle blog, Reaching Beyond Now.

Related Posts with Thumbnails Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


  1. smilinggreenmom says:

    Our son has been helped so much with his allergies and Eczema from taking Vidazorb probiotics! We love them so much that now both of our kids take them as doI! Best of all- these do NOT need refrigerated and are very potent and great. They are also diary free which makes them great for our little guy! We love probiotics as they have been an answer to our prayers!

  2. Thanks for the wonderful information.

    The watermelon indeed boosts the immunity but for reasons most do not know. According to, watermelon is one of the few foods with an abundance of cysteine, the precursor of glutathione.

    Glutathione on its own is poorly absorbed in the gut. However the building blocks like cysteine allow us to make it inside our bodies. In clinical trials in Canada and the US, it is being studied for everything from AID’s and Autism to zits (it is made into a skin cream).

    It is even been studied as an effective, inexpensive and readily available treatment for H1N1 and bird flu. However, if we eat diets rich in cysteine, we probably will not have to worry about them.

    Good health to you.

  3. Judy Washington says:

    Thanks for the wonderful information. This will be very helpful!