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Wind Invasion

Home > Avian Flu > Wind Invasion


In Oriental Medicine, causes of disease from outside the body have names such as Wind, Heat, Cold, Dampness, Dryness, etc. Most flu and colds are referred to as a "wind invasion," in which other pathogenic factors attach themselves to Wind and attempt to enter the body. Generally, the most common combinations are Wind Cold and Wind Heat.

The purpose of this discussion is to give the reader insights into self-diagnosis at the onset of flu or cold symptoms. Oriental Medicine's approach to dealing with these "wind invasions" is to knock them out at the earliest possible sign of their presence. In order to effectively do this, one must fulfill the following three requirements:

  • We must be familiar with the signs and symptoms of the primary patterns (in this case, Wind-Heat and Wind-Cold).

  • We must have on hand the appropriate herbal medicines to treat both syndromes.

  • And most importantly, we must be continually aware of subtle changes in our bodies. The quicker we can respond to a wind invasion, the less likely it is to actually manifest as a cold or flu.

Armed with these advantages, an individual who is following the guidelines suggested in the discussions on diet and lifestyle should rarely become ill with infections moving through the population around them.


Understanding signs and symptoms

The first requirement is knowing what to look for. I'll try to keep this information as simple and accessible as possible while giving you enough understanding to accurately evaluate your situation.

Wind invasions can be one of the more complex illnesses to diagnose and treat, because of the nature of Wind. It moves suddenly and quickly. The conditions can change rapidly — sometimes more than once a day, especially in children. When conditions change, the herbal formula must change. It's easy to understand the wisdom of nipping these invasions in the bud.

Wind Cold

Wind Heat

Usual First Symptom: Wind-Cold is most often first noticed as a vague sensation of TIGHTNESS OF THE ENTIRE HEAD and/or SCRATCHY THROAT. It is at this point that one should begin taking Wind-Cold herbs.

Usual First Symptom: The hallmark of an invasion of Wind-Heat is a SORE THROAT WITH SWOLLEN TONSILS. In Oriental medicine sore throat occurs for a number of reasons, but if you’re feeling “off” and suspect the onset of flu when a sore throat appears, this is the time to administer Wind-Heat herbs.

From tightness, Wind-Cold progresses to:
Headache, starting at the base of the skull
Stiff neck
Body aches
Runny nose with clear or white discharge
Aversion to cold
Chills with possible slight fever

Sore throat in a Wind-Heat invasion is most often followed by:
Runny nose with yellow phlegm
Slight sweating
Slight thirst
Aversion to heat or cold
Possible headache and body aches

Wind-Cold may transform into Wind-Heat. Take both formulas if you’re not sure which symptoms are dominant.

It is possible for Wind-Cold to appear within Wind-Heat. In this situation, take full doses of each formula.


Why this is important

Oriental Medicine teaches that wind invasions should be treated immediately upon recognition and completely expelled from the body. There are two reasons for this:

  1. Unresolved wind invasions which manifest as flu, and which are not properly expelled can linger deeply and unnoticed in the body as "Latent Heat," which eventually emerges as a more serious condition. This is an entirely different conversation, and its implications are huge. Suffice to say, you do not want this to happen. Stay home, rest, get well, and then go about your life after all signs of the pathogen are gone— don't "force" your way through an illness.

  2. Secondly, Wind-Heat symptoms may also be the initial stages of diseases more serious than flu. Measles, diphtheria, whooping cough, polio, acute nephritis, scarlet fever, meningitis, and a killer-flu such as H5N1 all begin with Wind-Heat. Wiping out such disorders at the Wind-Heat stage is far more efficient than dealing with the full blown disease.


Prevention: A better choice

Much of our discussion has focused on early intervention, and indeed, that is the name of the survival game when dealing with common as well as the more serious forms of wind invasions. It's worth re-emphasizing, however, that prevention is still the most intelligent matrix to set in our every day behavior. Certainly the three previous pages on that subject make the biggest contribution to this end. However, a complete understanding of wind invasions offers additional guidelines for prevention.

In the oriental model, Wind, Cold, Heat, Damp, etc. are not just the names of these pathogenic factors. These elemental forces actually bring on the invasions. For instance, a Wind-Cold invasion to the face carries the western diagnosis of Bell's palsy. Every case of Bell's palsy I've seen was preceded by an actual exposure to wind and/or cold. The first such case was a fellow who fell asleep on a train next to an open window with a cool breeze on one side of his face. He awoke with that side of his face paralyzed. Oriental medicine is very good at resolving Bell's palsy, providing that treatment is begun soon after the invasion — less successful the longer treatment is delayed.

Likewise, actual wind, cold, and damp can usher colds and flu into our bodies. Preventing an invasion involves the following observances:

  1. Try to stay out of the wind. At the very least, it drains us of energy. It commonly heralds the advent of a problem we don't want.

  2. If you must be in the wind, a wind-proof garment can offer enough protection to make the difference. Most important to cover is the back of the head and neck, and the throat and chest.

  3. Exposure to both cold and dampness often result in illnesses of various kinds. Dressing appropriately can save a lot of grief if we find ourselves in these conditions. Additional examples of Cold invading the body include the following:

    • Cold and Dampness can directly invade the channels and joints, causing joint pain.

    • These pathogens can also cause pain and stiffness of the muscle and connective tissue.

    • More insidiously, Cold can directly invade three organs: the Stomach, the Intestines, and the Uterus — an entirely different conversation, but good to know, nonetheless.

  4. Heat is a little different. An actual exposure to wind and heat is not necessary to contract this pathogen.


Chinese Herbal Medicine

Appropriate and effective Chinese Herbal Formulas are discussed in "Secrets", the following page in this series. As noted above, Wind moves quickly. These formulas must be on hand when you need them, not eight hours later. They make ideal traveling companions as well.



These links are sequential. Maximum understanding will be obtained by reading the pages in the order in which they're listed.


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