Sasang Herbs for Cold and Flu

△During the cold season, many suffer from the common cold and flu. imageⓒshutterstock_Kleber Cordeiro

Natural Medicine Does Not Distinguish Virus. It Enhances the Immune System.

By David Lee, L.Ac.

At every winter season, we can use time-tested Sasang herbal formulas to treat cold and flu. Even against the mutated viral strains every season, Sasang medicine has been effective. It accelerates recovery while reducing symptoms. It promotes a quicker recovery at the beginning, middle, or end stages.

Even with the appearance of coronavirus COVID-19 and its variation, the same herbal medicine works as well. It can be used at the first sign of a sniffle and sore throat. Or at the height of a fever, cough, body ache, and difficulty breathing. This means the Korean Four Constitutions Sasang Medicine is used for a wide variety of viral upper respiratory infections. 

Not one herbal formula is effective for the whole population. But there are effective herbal formulas for the three Sasang constitutions. Unlike biomolecular medicine, a differential diagnosis in natural medicine does not distinguish the type of virus. The virus is not targeted. Rather, constitutional medicine differentiates innate physiology so that the body’s automation can be supported rather than replacing its function. 


Lesser Yin

Chuan Xiong Gui Zhi Tang


Gui Zhi 9 grams, Bai Shao Yao 6, Chuan Xiong 3, Cang Zhu 3, Chen Pi 3, Zhi Gan Cao 3, Sheng Jiang 3 pieces, and Da Zao 2 pieces.

Soyangin, Lesser Yang

Jing Fang Bai Du San


Qiang Huo 3 grams, Du Huo 3, Chai Hu 3, Qian Hu 3, Jing Jie 3, Fang Feng 3, Chi Fu Ling 3, Sheng Di Huang 3, Di Gu Pi 3, and Che Qian Zi 3


Taeeumin, Greater Yin

Han Da Re Shao Tang


Yi Yi Ren 9 grams, Lai Fu Zi 6, Mai Men Dong 3, Jie Geng 3, Huang Qin 3, Xing Ren3, Ma Huang 3, Gan Li 7 pieces

The above herbal formulas can be taken up to 4 times a day.

Each body type has its own way of addressing its problems according to its innate physiology. In deductive biomolecular medicine, a targeted treatment is sought to mitigate or eliminate the virus. But common colds and flu are opportunistic. If the body is weak, it will create a gap for the pathogen to enter and flourish. However, herbal medicine promotes health so the body can close this gap. A strong immune system is an outcome of efficient physiology at the cellular level. Because each body type has its way of establishing homeostasis, it is important to provide the right environment for the constitution’s DNA to express itself optimally toward health and well-being.

If a virus overwhelms the body regardless of its health status, then direct treatment is necessary. But when a virus is selective against the elderly and those with co-morbidity, it indicates there is a compromise in the immune system. Sparing of the young and healthy indicates an opportunistic infection. Supporting the body’s ability to address its own problems by improving its ability to identify and treat them is practical with herbal medicine.

There is no medicine that kills cold and flu viruses. There is only vaccine. However, most people recover fully. The danger is the overreaction of the immune system. It leads to a cytokine storm, which is a hyper-inflammatory response. Herbal medicine helps to modulate the cytokine storm.

With the above representative herbal formulas Chuan Xiong Gui Zhi Tang for the Lesser Yin I & II, Jing Fang Bai Du San for Lesser Yang, and Han Da Re Shao Tang for Greater Yin, an acupuncturist has the right tools to be a highly effective practitioner.

Because constitutional medicine is straightforward to learn and implement, it is an evolutionary and revolutionary solution as an integrative medicine, even for today’s modern diseases.