Kids' immune health - the traditional Chinese medicine perspective
In this article, we'll briefly explain some of the unique perspectives that traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has to offer regarding children's immune health and the frequency with which they catch common colds.
Understanding defensive Qi
In TCM, a specific form of life force energy called defensive Qi is believed to act as a protective barrier at the body's surface (including the skin, throat and nasal passages), where it's traditionally understood to help fend off external influences with the potential to cause illness.
TCM theory says that defensive Qi becomes depleted when children or adults experience repeated minor infections like common colds or are slow to recover from them.
In a vicious cycle, the depletion of defensive Qi further weakens their resistance, making them more prone to further illness.
Common colds and wind in TCM
In TCM, when illnesses arise from outside the body and involve the rapid onset of symptoms, they're often regarded as being associated with wind (sometimes referred to as exterior wind).
When a mild fever is present at the same time, they're described as being associated with wind-heat.
Jade Windscreen Formula
A herbal combination called Jade Windscreen Formula (Yu Ping Feng San) has been used for more than 670 years in TCM.1
Jade Windscreen Formula is traditionally taken to help reduce the frequency of common colds in TCM, where it's considered particularly beneficial for people who suffer from them repeatedly, and is typically taken over several months.
It combines astragalus, white atractylodes and fang feng, all of which are found in Fusion Kids' Astra 8 Immune Shield.
Astragalus is the chief or 'emperor' herb in Jade Windscreen Formula. It helps stimulate healthy immune responses and support the immune system in fighting illness. In Chinese medicine, it's traditionally used to support defensive Qi and help reduce the frequency of common colds.
Astragalus is also traditionally taken to support vitality and relieve fatigue in TCM.
White atractylodes is the deputy herb in Jade Windscreen Formula, where it's traditionally believed to act synergistically with astragalus, reinforcing its actions.
In Chinese medicine, white atractylodes is also traditionally used to nourish the spleen, and is therefore taken to relieve children's loss of appetite.
Fang feng is also known as Wind protector; its name is a reference to its traditional use in TCM for clearing excess wind-heat from the body. As mentioned above, this symptom patternis often associated with common colds and flu in TCM.
Fang feng plays a key therapeutic role in Jade Windscreen Formula, where it's regarded as having synergistic effects with astragalus.
Consider zinc for additional immune support
Kids' Astra 8 Immune Shield also contains zinc for additional immune support. Zinc has been shown to reduce the frequency with which children catch common colds. It also supports a healthy appetite in children whose dietary zinc intake is inadequate.
HOT TIP: If your child catches a cold, discontinue use of the herbs mentioned above, and instead consider honeysuckle and forsythia, which are traditionally used in TCM to relieve common cold symptoms associated with external wind-heat.
If you're unsure whether these herbs are suitable for your child, please contact our Technical Support team for free, confidential advice.
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, worsen or change unexpectedly, talk to your health professional. Mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.
- Lou, J.S. et al. Sci Rep, 2016;631926.