Common Cold (感冒)

Recently, the boys and I are down with a bad bout of common cold. Our symptoms are predominantly contained within the upper respiratory tract. We had terrible leaking taps and shudder from the cold.

In TCM, the common cold can be broadly classified 3 types according to their four basic causes – pathogenic cold, wind, damp and heat.

  1. Wind Cold (风寒感冒)
  2. Wind Heat (风热感冒)
  3. Damp and Heat (暑湿感冒)

Wind Cold (风寒感冒)

Symptoms include cold chills with mild temperature increase, but no sweating, nasal congestion, runny nose with watery and clear discharge, itchy throat, aching limbs and coughing with thin phlegm. No desire to drink or prefers warm drinks. Tongues usually appear pale with thin coating.

The aim of treatment is to dispel the pathogenic cold with foods of a warm nature.

As we had some of the aforementioned symptoms, this is the medicinal diet I prepared.

Green Onion & Ginger Congee


  • Porridge (using pearl rice – good for the digestive tract. Helps with poor appetite as well.)
  • Spring onion (2-3 stalks – include roots as well)
  • Ginger (leave skin on)
  • Salt

Method: Slice spring onion and ginger thinly if your child can take them. If not, broadly slice them. Wash all ingredients and combine in a pot to cook. Season lightly with salt. Eat it when it’s warm.

The desired effect is to achieve a light perspiration which will rid the body of the cold.

Xxm is an easy eater. Despite the strong smell and taste of the spring onions and ginger, Xxm could consume the entire bowl with minimal fuss at all. Xmm, on the other hand is very fussy about food. So far, he detests porridge and only prefers cereal. What I did for Xmm is to boil the spring onion and ginger and use the water to mix into his cereal instead. It’s good to drink this on it’s own as well. For those with a sweet tooth, you can try making ginger tea as well. Simply boil some raw ginger and add brown sugar to taste. Drink it warm/ hot. Consume these once a day for the next 2-3 days. Discontinue if there is a change of symptoms e.g. mucus become yellow instead. Be careful not to expose to wind again.

Wind Heat (风热感冒)

Symptoms include pronounced raised body temperature with mild aversion to wind, congestion and runny nose with thick/ yellowish phlegm, sore throat and swollen glands, coughing with thick phlegm, thirsty, headache, aching limbs, but little sweating. The tongue is often red with a thin yellow coating.

The aim of treatment is to clear the pathogenic heat with foods of a cooling nature.

Cold Relief Tea


  • Honeysuckle Flower (金银花)6g — note that this can be quite bitter for children
  • Wild Chrysanthemum Flower (野菊花) 6g
  • Lophatherum Herb (淡竹叶) 30g
  • Mint leaves (薄荷) 3g — not shown in picture
  • Rock sugar to taste

Method: Immerse everything in boiling water for 10 min. Drink regularly throughout the day for 2-3 days.

Damp and Heat (暑湿感冒)

Symptoms include aversion to cold, raised temperature, little or no perspiration, pronounced body aches, head feels heavy, coughing or sneezing with thick, yellowish phlegm, vomiting, chest congestion and poor appetite. The tongue appears red with a thick yellowish coating.

The aim of treatment is to clear the pathogenic heat and damp.

Watermelon and Tomato Juice


  • Watermelon (chopped and seeds removed)
  • Tomato

Method: Scald tomato with boiling water. Remove skin and seeds. Blend with an equal portion of watermelon until smooth. Drink when needed.


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