Immune Health Now- East Meets West

Cold and flu season is upon us again, and this year it is shaping up to be a whopper! Now is the time to bolster our first line of defense against viruses, bacteria and other pathogens.

The superior path in Traditional Chinese Medicine is to prevent disease rather than resorting to treating symptoms after they occur. In Ancient China, the doctors were paid in advance to keep the community well. Fortunately, there are several things we can all do now based on ancient wisdom to make sure that our natural Immune Defense Systems are strong and ready to protect us.

Prevention of Cold and Flu:

In Chinese Medicine, it is the Protective Energy (Wei Chi) in our Lung/Metal Element that is responsible for protecting us against colds and flu – and for maintaining our immunity. In addition to respiration, the energy of the Lung/Metal Element relates to governing the functions of immunity, elimination and also the skin. The Metal Element is also associated with the emotions of grief and sadness. Autumn is

the Season related to the Metal Element and is the time when our Lung Energy (also known as “Lung Chi”) is the highest. If our Lung Energy is strong, we will travel through this period with few respiratory, skin or elimination problems. If our Lung Energy is weakened, then we are at risk for contracting colds and flu – and any viral or bacterial infections we may become exposed to. Our Lung Energy is strengthened by participating in aerobic exercise and by practicing abdominal breathing. Healing foods that strengthen the Lung Energy include white foods – in Chinese Medicine white is the color that strengthens the Lung/Metal Element. These include Cauliflower, potato, and apple. Pears are particularly moisturizing for the Lungs. Ginger, Turmeric and Garlic are important Lung tonics. (See my Immune Boosting Tea Decoction recipe below) Also beneficial are mild curries and chili peppers.

Other things you can do to increase your cold, flu and virus fighting ability include:

  1. Keep your neck warm and protected from Wind, Cold and Rain. Make sure that you protect the back of your neck after warming up from exercise and heading out into the cold weather. Chinese Medicine knows that this is where so called “Evil Chi” enters the body.
  2. Sleep with your windows closed – again because of the wind or “Evil Chi” issue. It is important to protect your body from cold drafts during the night. Keep windows shut, turn off fans, and keep your chest and back covered with a tee shirt or pajama top. At night, the defensive chi (Wei Chi) of the immune system flows much deeper within the body than during the day, leaving us more vulnerable to being invaded overnight.
  3. Hot Ginger Bath – A warm ginger bath can stimulate your immune system and help stave off an impending cold or flu. Roughly chop 2-3 1×1 inch pieces of ginger and boil this in 4 cups of water for 20 minutes after it comes to a boil. Add this tea to your bath water and soak for approximately 5-10 minutes with your Epson Salts until you have broken a mild sweat. Don’t stay in the bath for too long as this is draining. Dry off thoroughly and get into your PJ’s and straight into bed. This is a relaxing way to boost your immunity for prevention or if you have been exposed to a potential virus.
  4. Avoid Alcohol, sugar and excessive grains – Alcohol impairs immune function and it is best to be avoided. Sugar and grains are pro-inflammatory and put more strain on immune function.
  5. Acupuncture and Cupping – These TCM techniques are often used to boost immunity and are recommended for prevention of disease, as well as for treatment of all stages of cold and flu. Receiving regular treatments will boost immunity.
  6. Herbal Medicine – Herbal Fortress Astragalus Forte – 500mg. Astragalus Root is a very famous Chinese Tonic Herb/Adaptogen that has been used for centuries. I have formulated a standardized extract which we call our Herbal Fortress Astragalus Forte – 500mg.This product contains the most efficacious therapeutic dosage on the market of 18% active polysaccharides and 0.2% flavones per capsule. This therapeutic dose far exceeds other versions. Dr. Andrew Weil, MD has recommended our product since 1999, and has included Herbal Fortress in his book “Healthy Aging” as one of the companies that he feels is highly reliable. Our product undergoes extensive testing and quality controls and is approved by the FDA for GMP’s. You can learn more about this amazing product that is very important for immune support at my website: or contact me by e-mail with any questions or comments:
  7. Drink this Immune Boosting Tea Decoction to help keep your immune system strong and to fight off any viral or bacterial intruders. Wishing you Optimal Health always! Dr. Margo Jordan Parker

Immune Boosting Tea Decoction:

This savory tea will warm your body and soul – and it has immune protective benefits due to the inclusion of the Garlic, Turmeric and Ginger.

Ingredients: (can use all organic ingredients if available)

1 head Garlic, peeled (that is one entire bulb of garlic containing all the cloves, slice the cloves in half and let them sit for a few minutes before adding them to the water to help release more of their therapeutic benefits) 2 cups chopped fresh Ginger 1 cup chopped fresh Turmeric 1 large organic Lemon Honey or Stevia to taste (optional) ¼ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

2 quarts filtered water


  1. Slice the garlic, ginger and turmeric into thin strips in order to draw out all the health benefits. It is not necessary to peel these. Add the garlic, ginger and turmeric to the pot of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for approximately an hour on a low simmer, until the tea has reduced by ½.
  2. Slice the lemon thinly, including the rind, and add that to the pot and boil for another 20 minutes.
  3. Along with the lemon add a ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more or less to your taste)
  4. Let the tea cool and strain and pour a cup. The rest can be stored up to 3 days in glass containers. Add honey, or stevia, to taste – optional

Note: There is still a lot of immune boosting power in the left over ingredients after making this decoction and you may boil them again in another 2 quarts of filtered water until it is depleted by ½

(approximately two hours on a low simmer after bring it to a boil). This additional amount can be added to the other batch.

Bio: Dr. Margo Jordan Parker, Creating Wellbeing with Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Holistic Nutrition


Margo Parker, OMD, L.Ac.

Coeur d’Alene Hand Therapy and Healing Center
2448 Merritt Creek Loop – at Riverstone
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83814
(208) 625-0538

Dr. Margo Jordan Parker, OMD, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac.(NCCAOM)(Doctorate in Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Diplomate of the National Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) has been licensed to practice Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine since 1985. She received her Doctorate in Oriental Medicine in 1986 and has appeared on national TV as a pioneer in the field. Dr. Margo has been a Coeur d’Alene resident since 2001 and her office is located in Riverstone at the Coeur d’Alene Hand Therapy and Healing Center. She founded the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Program at Tucson’s Canyon Ranch Spa and Resort, and helped develop Dr. Andrew Weil’s Integrative Medicine Program at the University of Arizona, College of Medicine. She was also one of the first Acupuncturists in the US to be fully credentialed to work alongside MDs in a teaching hospital. Dr. Margo has authored a chapter on Chinese Herbal Medicine in The Clinician’s Guide to Complementary and Alternative Medicine and helped develop the Chinese Medicine curriculum for Dr. Andrew Weil. She is also the CEO of Herbal Fortress, which manufactures herbal and aromatherapy products.

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