A Chinese Infusion to Boost The Immune System For Spring

A man sitting on the floor besides a tree on a mountain facing the ocean with a computer on his lap

Seasonal changes have a direct impact on our immune systems. Repeated temperature swings can be very demanding for the body’s thermoregulation mechanisms, leaving it vulnerable to viruses and other infections. 

Small children and elders are the two age groups that are more susceptible to suffering from an immunity drop during the transition period of the seasons. Chronic patients and people who have other underlying health conditions are also more vulnerable.

In oriental medicine, the weather is considered one of the main secondary causes of illnesses. Chinese medicine attributes temperature and the cyclic nature of the seasons to the dynamics of yin and yang qi.

Traditional medicine has relied on herbal remedies as a means of balancing the effects of external conditions and strengthening the body for a couple of thousand years. These herbal medicines have been refined with time, and in present days we have access to traditional formulas that have passed both the test of time as well as scientific tests. 

Table of Contents

Chinese medicine views the human body as a micro-unit that represents the entire universe. In TCM, the body is seen as a type of antenna capable of receiving information in the form of subtle energies from Heaven as well as Earth.

These subtle energies are termed qi in the Chinese system. The Tibetans call it rLung, and the Indians call it prana. In Chinese medicine, the immune system corresponds to wei qi; a type of qi that stays on the surface of the body and is responsible for thermoregulation through the opening and closing of the pores. 

Wei qi. Also called defensive qi, it circulates underneath the skin, which is a functional zone connected to the Lung in TCM. Wei qi is more viscous than the ying qi, which makes it impossible for the wei qi to penetrate the blood vessels. It controls the opening and closing of the pores on the skin, as well as sweating and thermoregulation. Wei qi hydrates the skin, the muscles and fascia. Another important function of the wei qi is that it forms a barrier that protects the body from invasions coming from the exterior.

The Chinese Qi Explained

 The Role of Prevention in Eastern Medicine

Oriental medicine places great importance on the immune system and in ways to maintain it. Preventive medicine is the basis of all systems of traditional Eastern medicine. In China for example, there was a time when doctors would get paid as long as patients were healthy — as soon as one of their patients fell ill they would stop being paid, while still having to take care of that one patient.

“To cure disease is like waiting until one is thirsty before digging a well”                                                

Li Shizen

Diverse influences have shaped the Chinese system of medicine, resulting in a holistic approach that views the emotional, psychological, and physical aspects of human beings as very closely tied and deeply interconnected parts.

Drawing from Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, Chinese medicine employs very sophisticated methods of prevention and treatment, such as the practices of qi gong and acupuncture which are integrative therapeutic techniques aimed at going beyond merely fixing physical problems, that is,  promoting joy and spiritual well-being.

Typical Spring Conditions

Spring in Chinese medicine is a season in which yang is growing inside of yin, while yin is gradually decreasing. The spring season is usually very windy due to the warm air that is raising with the increasingly hot days.

The wind carries viruses as well as allergens and other harmful microorganisms, for this reason in Chinese traditional medicine contagious respiratory illnesses such as cold and flu are termed Wind syndromes. Wind syndromes are viral infections that cause the symptoms associated with influenza and cold.

When not adequately treated, even a simple cold virus can create an opportunity for other infections to enter the body. People in the vulnerable groups are more prone to suffering from complications linked to untreated Wind conditions. 

Springtime Habits and Behavior

With the increasingly warm days, most people look forward to missing some layers of clothing and being outdoors. Chinese medicine recommends being vigilant at this time with regard to appropriate clothing, placing special importance on covering the neck and protecting the tayang meridian from the wind. 

According to Tibetan medicine, the type of exercises that are most suitable to springtime are exercises of a coarse nature and vigorous activities so as to induce transpiration. It is recommended to always dry the sweat with a towel after a bout of exercise.

According to Chinese medicine, in the spring season predominates the Wood element. The organs that belong to the Wood phase are Liver and Gallbladder. It is a Western costume to do liver detoxing in the spring, however, in Eastern traditions nourishing the Liver is emphasized. 

Taking fresh fruits rich in juices and with a sour taste, as well as naturally bitter and spicy foods in moderation will benefit the Liver and eliminate the cold nature accumulated during winter. Besides, it is recommended to always consume the foods of the season, as they naturally have the energetic properties that the body needs in order to adapt to the new season. 

A Herbal Recipe to Boost the Immune System and Prepare for Spring

During the month of transition between winter and spring temperatures can oscillate very sharply. Besides, the meteorological conditions are harsh due to the wind. At this time, in addition to adopting the correct diet and behavior, there is a Chinese herbal formula that can be an aid in boosting the immune system.

Yu Ping Feng San – Jade Windscreen Powder

the Jade Windscreen Powder is a classic formula that has been used for at least a couple of hundred years. It is composed of three herbal ingredients which boost the immune system, benefit the liver, prevent inflammation, and have antiviral, antiseptic as well as antibacterial properties. 

  • Huang Qi (Radix Astragali)
  • Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae)
  • Fang Feng (Radix Saposhnikoviae)

This classic formula can be adapted further for an enhanced therapeutic effect. For this purpose, two medicinal mushrooms, Ling Zhi (Ganoderma) and Dong Chong Xia Cao (cordyceps), as well as a fruit that has many beneficial effects on the brain and body, Wu Wei Zi (Fructus Schisandrae) may be added. 

Herbal Decoction To Boost The Immune System For Spring

Servings

3

servings daily
Cooking time

20

minutes

Ingredients

  • Huang Qi (Radix Astragali) 15 g

  • Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae) 30 g

  • Fang Feng (Radix Saposhnikoviae) 30 g

  • Ling Zhi (ganorderma) 30 g

  • Dong Chong Xia Cao (cordyceps) 30 g

  • Wu Wei Zi (Fructus Schisandrae) 15 g

Directions

  • Mix all the herbs thoroughly.
  • Separate the mixture into portions of 12 g.
  • Combine the mixture and 500 ml of water in a saucepan and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Allow the mixture to cool down and then strain out the roots. Once removed, set them aside.
  • Divide the decoction into two servings and consume each serving before meals at regular intervals.
  • On the subsequent day, steps 3 to 5 can be repeated by utilizing the same roots.
  • Repeat all the steps until the mixture is completely used.

Notes

  • This recipe should last for 12 days. It's a formula for boosting the natural defenses of the body and preventing viral infections and allergic reactions. This herbal formula should not be taken as a remedy once the symptoms of infection are already present.

Disclaimer

This information should not be used to diagnose or handle a health issue or illness, and people who are looking for individual medical counsel should consult with a certified physician. Continuously seek the direction of your doctor or another qualified health supplier regarding a medical condition.

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