Common Cold & Flu

Chinese Medicine for Common Cold & Flu

Chinese Medicine for Common Cold & Flu

The common cold is a viral infection of the nose and throat also known as an upper respiratory tract infection (URTI). Most people recover from a common cold within 1 to 2 weeks, although for some people certain symptoms may take longer to resolve.

Although some symptoms are similar, the flu is a viral infection caused by influenza viruses. Flu symptoms range from mild to severe and complications can require hospitalisation and worsen pre-existing health issues such as asthma. The flu can be deadly for the elderly and immunocompromised which is why prevention, early diagnosis and treatment is essential.

Cold and flu symptoms may also be caused by bacterial and lung infections which can be life-threatening. If in doubt, always seek advice from your family's trusted healthcare professional.

Common Cold & Flu Symptoms

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Phlegm and congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Body aches or headache
  • Fever and/or chills
  • Fatigue and generally feeling unwell
  • Shortness of breath
  • Diarrhoea, nausea or vomiting

What Does The Research Say?

The following insights are obtained from scientific studies, systematic reviews and analysis of clinical trials investigating the efficacy of Common Cold & Flu.

Scientific References

Browse our collection of scientific research on Common Cold & Flu. It includes recent and reputable papers published by peer-reviewed journals within the last 10 years.

Frontiers in Pharmacology

2020, Oct 22

Role of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Management of Viral Pneumonia
Frontiers in Pharmacology

TCM has been widely used in basic and clinical researches of virus diseases especially viral pneumonia in human. Some Chinese medicine has shown certain therapeutic effect, but high-quality experimental design and randomized clinical controlled study are still needed. A wide variety of antiviral traditional Chinese herbal medicines also provides potential opportunity for further development in specific therapeutic agents to treat viral pneumonia around the world.

Xi S, Li Y, Yue L, Gong Y, Qian L, Liang T, Ye Y Full Article

Frontiers in Pharmacology

2020, Feb 15

Traditional Chinese Medicine in Treating Influenza: From Basic Science to Clinical Applications
Frontiers in Pharmacology

TCM impacts on the prevention and treatment of influenza. It has a potential value in shorting fever durations and alleviating influenza symptoms among children and pregnant women. However, the side effects of TCM in children and pregnant women are still elusive, which needs more clinical trials about the safety and vivo toxicity. These medicines also regulate the immune system. Their modes of action involve inhibiting NA, viral replication, and stopping viral entry into the cell. The synergistic effects of TCM and conventional medicines are encouraging as an avenue for influenza therapy.

Xiong Y, Li NX, Duan N, Liu B, Zhu H, Zhang C, Li L, Lu C, Huang L Full Article


2019, May 24

Prevention and treatment of infectious diseases by traditional Chinese medicine: a commentary
APMIS Scandinavian Societies for Medical Microbiology and Pathology

This study showcased that personalized herbal medicine with TCM has a high efficacy in treating infectious diseases with specific efficacy and advantages

Yuexia Ma, Ming Chen, Yali Guo, Jian Liu, Weitao Chen, Mengyue Guan, Yue Wang, Xuehui Zhao, Xu Wang, Haoyuan Li, Lingxin Meng, Yulong Wen, Yuguang Wang Full Article


2018, Nov 14

Andrographis paniculata (Chuān Xīn Lián) for symptomatic relief of acute respiratory tract infections in adults and children: A systematic review and meta-analysis
PLOS One Public Library of Science

A. Paniculata appears beneficial and safe for relieving ARTI symptoms and shortening time to symptom resolution. However, these findings should be interpreted cautiously owing to poor study quality and heterogeneity. Well-designed trials evaluating the effectiveness and potential to reduce antibiotic use of A. Paniculata are warranted.

Hu XY, Wu RH, Logue M, Blondel C, Lai LYW, et al. Full Article

BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies

2018, Mar 18

The use of maoto (Ma-Huang-Tang), a traditional Japanese Kampo medicine, to alleviate flu symptoms: a systematic review and meta-analysis
BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies

This review highlight the effectiveness of Ma Huang Tang in relieving flu symptoms.

Yoshino, T., Arita, R., Horiba, Y. et al Full Article

Journal of the Chinese Medical Association

2016, May

Efficacy and safety of traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of influenza A (H1N1): A meta-analysis
Journal of the Chinese Medical Association Chinese Medical Association, Taipei

The results of our study indicated that TCM treatment significantly reduce defervescence (lower body temperature in fever) in viral [Influenza A (H1N1)] group compared to the control group. The Chinese medicine herbal group also had more effective with shedding in the H1N1.

Li, Jiang-Honga,; Wang, Re-Qina; Guo, Wen-Jieb; Li, Juan-Shengc Full Article

Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine

2015, Nov

Compound Formulas of Traditional Chinese Medicine for the Common Cold: Systematic Review of Randomized, Placebo-controlled Trials
Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine

This systematic review indicated that patients with common cold benefited from compound formulas of Chinese Medicine with no serious side effects . Patients reported to have reduced fever symptoms of at least 0.5°C to occur and shorter duration of other symptoms.

Li G, Cai L, Jiang H, Dong S, Fan T, Liu W, Xie L, Mao B. Full Article

Complementary Medicine Research

2015, Jan

Herbal Medicine for Cough: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Complementary Medicine Research

This review found strong evidence for Chuan Xin Lian and ivy/primrose/thyme-based preparations to relieve the frequency and severity of patients' cough symptoms.

Wagner L., Cramer H., Klose P., Lauche R., Gass F., Dobos G, Langhorst J. Full Article

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

2013, Mar 28

Chinese medicinal herbs for influenza
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews Cochrane

Most Chinese medical herbs in the included studies showed similar effects to antiviral drugs in preventing or treating influenza. Few were shown to be superior to antiviral drugs. No obvious adverse events were reported in the included studies. However, current evidence remains weak due to methodological limitations of the trials. More high‐quality RCTs with larger numbers of participants and clear reporting are needed.

Jiang L, Deng L, Wu T. Full Article

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