7 Self-Care Tips for Early Cold Symptoms + Ginger Tea Recipe

By Hayley Stobbs R.Ac, CNC


Early cold symptoms indicate that one’s defensive qi (wei qi) has been invaded by either heat or cold carried by wind pathogens, for example a virus carried by a draft. The lungs govern wei qi, which guards our outermost boundary; it is relative to immune protection and resides within the skin and superficial meridians.

Expel a cold before it progresses by getting daily acupuncture as soon as you start to feel symptoms. Receiving your first treatment within the first few hours of onset is ideal. The longer you wait to treat, the more it sets in and the more difficult it becomes to expel the pathogen. Along with acupuncture, here are some cold-quelling tips to follow:

1. Dress warm and stay warm. Cold reduces qi circulation and the elimination of the pathogen.

2. Wei qi is produced via food and fluid intake. Drink soothing ginger tea (see recipe below), and eat small, simple portions of warm foods; for example home-made soup with bone broth, chicken, shiitake, ginger, scallion, squash, and daikon radish. Avoid the following mucus-forming foods: processed foods, dairy, sugar, fried/greasy foods, banana, and orange.  

3. Slow down, rest, minimize stress, and sleep. Light activity such as qi gong, tai chi, and walking support qi and immune system regulation.

4.  Breathe through your nose as this acts as a filter and supports your lung and spleen qi.

5. Take-home moxa, gua sha, and acupressure can help expel the cold.

6. Wash regularly and avoid touching your T-zone  (area including your forehead, nose and chin) to minimize spreading the pathogen.

7. Supplement with zinc and book in for a herbal consultation.

Ginger-Lemon-Honey Tea
Brew Time: 15 minutes

Makes: 6 cups


- 6 cups water
- 2 inches fresh ginger, peel intact, fine grated
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest, optional
- Juice of 2 – 3 lemons (1/4 cup), fresh squeezed juice
- 3 tablespoons raw honey

1. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a medium sized saucepan. Meanwhile, fine grate the fresh ginger and lemon zest.
2. Add the ginger and lemon zest to the water, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for 5 minutes, covered.
3.  Turn off heat and allow the liquid to slightly cool. Add the remaining ingredients, stir, and let the tea steep, covered, for an additional 10 minutes.
4. Strain or ladle into mugs and store refrigerated in a glass mason jar for up to a week.

In health & happiness,