Cold Conditions: Treating a Traditional Chinese Medicine Principle

If you're always cold, you may have a fundamentally cold constitution, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. Fight cold pathogens with these herbal tips.

| November/December 2000

  • To treat cold conditions, make up a powdered extract of ginger and red ginseng, or make a tea with coarsely chopped ginger and red ginseng slices. This combination was probably used by herbalists 2,000 years ago.
    Photo By Kitty/Fotolia

Perhaps the most interesting thing about humans is our differences. Like me, you may have wished for a clone to take up the slack in your life. But really, wouldn’t you have serious doubts about wanting to have yourself in your face all day long? Sounds scary, and boring. I enjoy knowing people with so many different perspectives and ways of being.

According to TCM, “coldness” is a disease-causing agent. 

These differences (called our constitutional nature in herbal medicine) help make being an herbal practitioner exciting and fresh. An intimate knowledge of these differences has been acknowledged as an essential part of herbal medicine for thousands of years. Two basic types of constitutional makeups are “cold” and “hot” types. In the May/June 2000 column we talked of hot types, and in this article we’ll discuss individuals with a fundamentally cold constitution.

A common term for someone who often appears unemotional or who can perform certain tasks that most people would find emotionally challenging, with no outward sign of emotion, is “cold-blooded.” I remember a patient who fit this description perfectly. In fact, her case was another major step in convincing my Western mind that the diagnostic system of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) really does work.

Try This: Tea for Cold Conditions

A Textbook Case of Cold Condition

I met Gretchen through a friend of hers at a big herbal conference. Her friend introduced us because she thought I might be able to help Gretchen with a difficult digestive problem she was dealing with—she couldn’t digest anything without experiencing pain and diarrhea.

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