I was recently asked “do you have any suggestions for how can I get rid of a cold or flu if I feel onset symptoms?” Yes!!! It turns out as acupuncturists we know a lot about treating viruses big and small.  We have many tools that you can add to your home emergency kit.  Just ask!

In Chinese medicine, food is medicine.  We can tweak basic recipes to help heal current complaints.  This recipe is the great example of how your food intake can turn around an imminent cold or flu.  As a practitioner as the cold and flu season rolls around, we are exposed to hundreds of virus.  This is one of my favorite recipes when I feel like I am loosing the battle.   


The medicinal step of this recipe is to simmer a lot of fresh ginger and green onions for a short amount of time, 5-15 mins.  You can make this recipe with almost any soup base, but the best way to make this healing recipe is to make a chicken soup. In the future if you get caught in this situation and don’t have a way to make chicken soup, just simmering those two in water will work.  There are many times that I have made this recipe with only water, fresh ginger and fresh green onions, adding salt or soy sauce at the end.  Just these few ingredients are enough to make a light tasty broth and most importantly, boost your immunity.


Ingredients for 1-2 bowls of soup

5 generous slices of fresh ginger

1 large bunch of green onions

1 piece of chicken. Thigh with the bone and skin will give the best flavor, but any cut will do

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper


Add the olive oil and warm in the pan.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Add the chicken and pan fry the chicken until brown on each side. A chicken thigh with bone and skin will give best flavor but is not necessary, any cut will do.

Once the chicken is browned on each side, add chicken to to the water. Add a little more salt, 5 slices fresh ginger. Bring to a simmer and then turn down the heat to a low simmer and continue to cook for 15-30 mins. The length of time will depend on how much longer the chicken will need to cook all the way through. If you are using a thick piece, it might take a little longer.

In the last 5 minutes add the sliced green onions and continue to simmer.

season to taste.  You can add a little soy sauce or toasted sesame oil to give an Asian twist to the recipe.


Since we are using food as medicine, the instructions for how to take the soup (or herbal prescription) is the most important part. Without this step, it is just soup!

After drinking the soup, take a hot bath or shower and cover up. After warming yourself up, hopefully you will start to sweat just a little.  It is not a good idea to over heat yourself or sweat a lot, that will cause another problem. The purpose of this step is what we call in Chinese Medicine as “Opening the pores.” After this step it is a great idea to go to bed!

Quite often if you enjoy this soup in the evening, your cold will be much better in the morning. If you have caught a stubborn virus you can repeat this recipe as needed at each meal.

In coming days it is very important to avoid cold weather. If you have to go out in the cold, always cover well, wearing a scarf and paying extra attention to the back of your neck.  Its a good idea to get in the habit of carrying a scarf so that if you get caught in cold or windy weather, you can make sure to cover up well. This simple habit will prevent colds and flus. I know this sounds old fashioned, but even a medical study proved that any drop in body temperature decreases immune activity.  antiviral cell activity is triggered by a warm body.  It’s nice when modern medicine proves our old advice correct!

Check out the article here


This recipes isn’t good if you have a a lot of yellow or green phlegm - I would reduce the ginger.