In this post, we will be discussing how we can use yoga therapy, nutrition, moxibustion, and the 5 elements theory knowledge to protect ourselves against colds and flu, and get our immune system and body stronger instead.
Why do we get sick?
The vast majority of us will get sick in autumn or winter, by usually catching a cold, getting the flu, or other lung related illnesses (pneumonia for example). This is due to the fact that our body needs to discharge the excess of the summer, where we indulged in certain foods and alcohol a bit too much. We also get sick easily due to the fact that most of us have lost the ability to adjust from season to season. Instead, our modern society uses air-condition or heaters to cope with the changes in temperature.
Vaccination, which is a prominent and sensitive topic, can be a reasonable thing in certain environments and in certain conditions. But for the vast majority of us it should be avoided because our body NEEDS to adapt and adjust to the new season. We’ve discovered that people become very immune deficient after such treatments. We NEED to go through this natural process, so that our nervous system and our immune system get strong enough to become adaptable. When the body is in danger, it eliminates the foods and nutrients that it doesn’t need for the coming season.
In autumn and winter, it is normal and acceptable to eat foods that are richer (according to the cold weather of course, so not if you live in a tropical country!). This comes from the simple fact that when the weather gets colder, the body will need more fuel to keep warm and protect its vital organs. Less fruits and more mineral abundant foods is what we should eat in autumn. Further I will be giving you a few recipes that are perfectly suited for this season.
In short, we probably shouldn’t have colds, flus and fevers in the first place but it’s the natural reaction our body takes in this change of season.
The body doesn’t make mistakes, nature is very simple and nothing that happens to you is “bad luck”. We should treat our body like we would treat a kid (we have impulses and want to indulge). Keep it happy and alive, but keep teaching it and showing it the right way.
There are also lots of people who get the flu or cold as soon as they relax. This is because their body starts to heal. They will usually feel sore the day after a shiatsu treatment.
Homemade remedies for colds and flu?
Lotus root tea: 1tbsp of lotus root powder + 1 cup of water; add grated ginger (10% approximately). Bring to simmer (Don’t let it boil!). Drink hot. This is used to repair damaged lungs as it helps eliminate mucus (from colds, flu, sinus infections, bronchitis, asthma, and whooping cough).
Medicine for colds: “Ume-sho-ban”
Ingredients: 1/2 Umeboshi plum; 1/2 tsp. of ginger; mash everything with a teaspoon to create a paste (without liquid); add few drops of shoyu; add a tiny bit of Bancha to make it a drink. This medicine will draw all the poison into your stomach and help you eliminate it.
Use this medicine if you have some of the following symptoms:
Upper front body tension.
Light period pain;
Medicine for flu: “Kuzu drink”
Ingredients: mix 1 teaspoon of kuzu powder in 1 cup of cold water (HAS to be cold or the kuzu won’t dilute!); eat up the mixture (cloudy at this stage) in a small pot of a stove (not microwave!); take 1/2 an umeboshi plum and crush it before adding it to the mixture; eat up the kuzu on medium heat until the mixture goes from cloudy to almost transparent and thicker texture; add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger; add few drops of shoyu and drink when warm.
What is Kuzu exactly?
Kuzu root has been used by Eastern healers for almost 2,000 years and is most often utilized in foods to impart its ability to heal and balance natural sugars. No other root comes close to kuzu and its ability to quell digestive disturbances and calm the nerves. Kuzu is also noted for its high flavonoid composition and is gaining traction in the medical community for its ability to treat a variety of health concerns. In its native land, kuzu enjoys an excellent reputation and must be considered as a valuable alternative to the potentially harmful pharmaceuticals that pervade our society.
Kuzu can be found as a starch, and is most commonly used to treat minor indigestion and the symptoms of the common cold, but it can also be used as a remedy for constipation, to stimulate appetite and to calm hyperactive children or minds. Alternately, kuzu root can be purchased dried, which has the added benefit of containing more water-soluble flavonoids that are often lost during starch production. It can also reduce high blood pressure, regulate blood sugar, relieve chronic migraines and ease muscular tension. A few studies have even found that the consumption of flavonoids reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.
Ancient herbal remedies such as kuzu are a powerful, all natural source of healing that have proven extremely valuable in treating a number of everyday ailments and are now gaining widespread acceptance in the medical community for use in combating a variety of health concerns. By integrating natural remedies we can organically improve our health and wellness while avoiding modern pharmaceuticals and their often harmful side effects.
Kuzu recoats the lining of the stomach, and improves gut bacteria and therefore the immune system.
Important moxa points for colds & flu
Conception Vessel 17 – Located in the middle of the sternum, at the midpoint between the nipples (press on the bone and it should be very painful if the person is sick).
Bladder 12 – Called the Wind gate – located 1½ “tsun” either side of the spine, just below T2. Wind pathogens enter the body at this point and are responsible for colds/flus. The neck will become stiff if this point is exposed.
Governing Vessel 14 – Called Da Zhui or “the Great Hammer” – it raises the Yang immune system of the entire body and is the most effective treatment for colds, flus and fevers. It is located directly on the seventh cervical vertebra of the spine.
Apply heat on these points using a “moxa stick” until the skin is reddish from the heat. These points will nurture the Lungs in particular, help with colds and flu, nourish and warm the lungs. It will also stimulate white blood cells production.
Ginger compress for the lungs
the best way to activate the lungs along with the moxa, is to apply hot ginger compresses on the back of the lungs (rib cage). This will bring fresh blood in there, get rid of the potential cold and dampness your body has accumulated and support the lungs in eliminating the excess of toxins, mucus and phlegm it contains.
How to do it:
Grate 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger in a thin chux cloth that you tie up to make a pouch.
Simmer a medium to big pot of water and throw the ginger pouch in it so that the water infuses with the ginger oils.
When the water becomes yellow/brown take a medium size towel and dip the middle part only in the hot water; rinse the towel so it is not overly soaked with water but still wet.
Apply gently on the back ribs. WARNING!!! The heat will be too much at first to leave the towel on the skin therefore only tap the towel on/off the skin until the person can bear the heat from the towel. After a few minutes ask the person if you can press on the towel (it will intensify the heat so be careful); you can then massage the area you’re applying heat to.
Only apply to the BACK of the lungs. It will be much easier if you’ve got someone else to apply the compress for you. Dip the towel in the hot ginger water pot again once it becomes lukewarm, and repeat the process until the skin is pink/reddish on the area you’re working. You can then switch roles once the skin is red/pink, which means the capillaries are working and fresh blood is circulating through that part of your body.
Best recipes for autumn season
Barley Soup With Chapatis
Soak barley few hours prior cooking (optional). In the saucepan, bring water to boil, add wakame strip(s) and dried shiitake mushroom(s) – Reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
Cook the pre-soaked barley (1 cup of barley to 2 cups of water) with a pinch of salt at the beginning of cooking. Once it’s boiled, reduce the heat and simmer until the water is gone and barley is soft. – Once there is no more water, put the lid on, cover with the tea towel and set aside for 10 minutes (so that steam is kept in the pot).
While barley is cooking, fry onions with a pinch of salt – Add chopped carrots and once they become soft, add a pinch of salt – Add chopped cauliflower, cook until soft.
Add the stir-fry vegetables into the saucepan with wakame and mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes – Scoop one cup of stock from the saucepan & dissolve the miso into the stock (adjust the amount of miso added to your taste). Return the miso stock to the original stock. Add a small amount of grated ginger into the saucepan and let it cook for a few minutes – Add the cooked barley into the saucepan and let it all cook for another 5-7 minutes – Turn the heat off, put the lid on and serve after 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh coriander and shallot.
Add a pinch of salt into wholemeal flour, mix with hands – Dry roast sesame or sunflower seeds. Add toasted sesame or sunflower seeds into the flour, mix with hands – Add a few drops of sesame or olive oil into the mixture – Once the texture is different, start adding a little bit of water – Start kneading (the texture is crummy and not doughy) – Add water to make it more ‘wet’ or add flour to make it more crummy (not too doughy).
Sprinkle flour over countertop, knead the mix until dough sticks together and doesn’t fall apart – Flatten it to about 5mm thickness – Use a cup to create a round patty. Preheat the frying pan on full heat with sesame oil (cold pressed sesame oil ONLY).
Add the patties to the frying pan, use a spatula to flatten the patties in the frying pan. Cook until it’s more than golden brown and slightly charcoaled (crispy on the outside, soft inside).
Shoyu Broth With Soba Noodles (DINNER)
Bring water to boil – Add Wakame (1 strip or two) – Add one or two Shiitake mushrooms (depending on serving size) – Meanwhile cut up and fry brown onion with some sesame oil in a pan. Once onion smells sweet and becomes soft, add a pinch of salt. Once onion is cooked, add them to the broth. Add half teaspoon of grated ginger. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Add desired amount of Shoyu.
Fill pot with water. Add pinch of salt – Bring water to boil. Once water is boiling, add desired amount of soba noodles. Once water starts bubbling again add cup of cold water to neutralise bubbling. Repeat cold water procedure three times – Strain noodles – Rinse with cold water.
Serve with broth.
What should I avoid to lower my chances of getting sick?
In terms of foods, try to avoid sugar and sugary foods, alcohol, and coffee. All these are what we can “yin acids”, and they create a certain acidic condition in the upper body, which makes us more vulnerable towards viruses, the flu and the cold. Every symptoms we have starts in the upper body due to excessive yin acids: headaches, sore throat, coughing, runny nose, catarrh, etc.
Have more savoury foods instead, especially for breakfast. Eat lots of vegetables and grains (whole grains) that you enjoy, and stay away from refined foods and chemicals. The simpler you eat, the better for your body.
Avoid dairy foods (butter, milk, cheese, yogurt) as they are also yin acid foods, affect your lungs and create phlegm in you.
Pickles and fermented foods such as miso are really good for your gut bacteria to stay strong and healthy. Be careful if you don’t pickle your food yourself and buy it in store, make sure that it doesn’t contain sugar!!
What are the best exercises to do?
It could potentially not be enough to stop doing the wrong things, now we also have to start doing the right things, such as the right type of exercise.
It’s a fine line between exercising and over-exerting yourself, which in turn will make your immune system too weak and expose you to potential sickness. The best way to avoid that is to know exactly and precisely what we need to do that will maximise our chances of staying healthy for these particular times.
Click on this link to find a series of exercises tailored for issues such as the flu and cold: https://www.instagram.com/tv/B9tBXwsD7-l/
In the video I focus our energy and attention on 2 organs:
the large intestine
These two organs role is to ELIMINATE and ABSORB. That is what we need to focus on! Eliminate the unwanted and surplus, the acid, the toxins,