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Just the thought of parasites can make your skin crawl. These uninvited passengers burrow, hook and hunker down to feast on the blood and body of unsuspecting hosts. However, some host-parasite relationships can be mutually beneficial: The bacteria living quietly in our gut help us with digestion and immune function.

But not all parasitic relationships are love affairs, and although many people think parasites only affect those in underdeveloped countries, infection and disease is common everywhere, even in places where sanitation, personal hygiene and safe food-handling practices are routine.

When it comes to human disease there are 3 types of parasites that feast at the human table.

  • Protozoa – one-celled organisms that live and multiply in the blood or tissue of humans. They infect the body via mosquitoes and flies, and are found in soil and water.
  • Helminths – parasitic flatworms, flukes, tapeworms, thorny-headed worms, roundworms and pinworms. They live in the gastrointestinal tract, blood, lymphatic system and other tissues.
  • Ectoparasites – ticks, fleas, lice, and mites that live on the surface of a human host and attach or burrow into the skin.

There are a host of parasitic infections that cause disease in humans. The effect can range from mildly annoying to life threatening. Malaria is the most prevalent parasitic disease worldwide killing more than 1 million people each year, while trichomoniasis, a common vaginal infection, is the most common parasitic infection in the US.

Here are some parasitic diseases found on our doorstep.

Ascariasis (roundworm) – The eggs produced by roundworms living in soil are transmitted to humans when they are swallowed. The eggs hatch into worms in the intestines, that cause pain and vomiting, and can also travel through the bloodstream to the lungs to cause wheezing and coughing. The eggs can be transmitted via human feces found in fields, streets, and back yards.

Pediculosis (lice) – Lice can infect the human head, body and pubic hair. They are spread by close contact with another infected person or contaminated furniture or clothing.

Giardiasis (giardia) – Giardiasis comes from drinking or coming into contact with water, feces (human and animal), food, hands or objects contaminated with the giardia larvae. It causes diarrhea, abdominal cramps, greasy stools, dehydration and weight loss.

Trichomoniasis (trich) -The trichomonas parasite is a sexually transmitted disease that infects the vagina and urogential tract.

Cryptosporidiosis (crypto) – A protozoa that infects the gastrointestinal tract causing life-threatening diarrhea, particularly in immunocompromised people.

Toxoplasmosis – Is primarily transmitted when infected undercooked meat is eaten. It also infects domestic cats, who can release eggs in their feces to later infect their human caretakers. The parasite does not become infectious until 1 to 5 days after it is shed in a cat’s feces. It can cause mild aches and pains and severe damage to the brain, eyes, or other organs.

Scabies (mites) – Mites burrow into the upper layer of the skin to lay eggs. The pimple-like “S-shaped” rash is intensely itchy. It is easily contracted through skin-to-skin contact with an infected person and can be acquired during sexual encounters.


Enterobiasis (pinworm) – Is cause by a roundworm (nematode) and infects the colon and rectum. Female pinworms crawl out of the intestines through the anus and deposit their eggs on the surrounding skin, usually when a person is sleeping. The eggs are transferred to the mouth of a new host from hands that have come in contact with egg-contaminated food, clothing or bedding where they can survive for 2 to 3 weeks.

Besides the obvious – avoiding direct contact with an infected person or contaminated items – there are some effective weapons for keeping parasitic diseases out of range.


Water Guns

  • Don’t drink water or use ice made from lakes, rivers, springs, streams or poorly monitored or maintained wells
  • Avoid swallowing recreational water in swimming pools, water parks, hot tubs, spas and fountains
  • Do not swim if you are infected or are experiencing diarrhea to protect others
  • Pay attention to public health department water advisories and do not drink untreated tap water during community-wide outbreaks of disease
  • Heat water to a rolling boil for at least 1 minute or use a NSF-rated filter that has an absolute pore size of 1 micron or smaller if water potability is uncertain

Food Fighters

  • Use uncontaminated water to wash all food that is to be eaten raw, or peel them
  • Avoid drinking unpasteurized milk or dairy products
  • Avoid eating food from street vendors
  • Cook beef, lamb, veal roasts and steaks to 145degF; pork, ground meat, and wild game to 160degF, and poultry to 180degF in the thigh (can also freeze meat for a few weeks)
  • Do not taste meat until it is fully cooked

Body Blockers

  • Wash hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and water especially after using the toilet, before handling or eating food and before and after every diaper change
  • Wear gloves when doing gardening or working in soil and sand
  • Keep fingernails clean and short and avoid biting nails
  • Avoid scratching the skin in the anal area

Dirt Busters

  • Clean anything that may be contaminated with feces such as bathroom fixtures, changing tables, diaper pails and toys regularly
  • Wash cutting boards, dishes, counters, utensils, and hands with hot soapy water after contact with raw meat, poultry, seafood, or unwashed fruits or vegetables
  • Change litter boxes daily and avoid getting a new cat or cleaning a cat’s litter box if you are pregnant


Given the rise in candida infections (Hsu 2011), and their increasing resistance against commonly used antifungal drugs (Pfaller 2012), novel therapies for the prevention and management of these infections are needed (Mailander-Sanchez 2012).

Dietary modifications such as limiting intake of refined carbohydrates (e.g., pasta, bread, sweets, soft drinks, etc.) may be helpful for people with candida infections. Higher dietary sugar is associated with vulvovaginal candidiasis and abnormal glucose metabolism is associated with recurring vulvovaginal infections (Donders 2010). Diets rich in carbohydrates are also associated with candida overgrowth in the gastrointestinal tract and may contribute to mucosal invasion (Weig 1999; Akpan 2002). Laboratory studies indicate that excess glucose weakens the immune system’s response to candida as well as the azole class of antifungal drugs (Rodaki 2009). Candidiasis patients should maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet, as poor nutrition is a commonly overlooked risk factor for bacterial and fungal infections (Curtis 2010). More information about blood sugar control is available in the Diabetes protocol.

Probiotics – Data suggest that probiotics such as lactobacillus are beneficial against mucosal candida infections (Mailander-Sanchez 2012), and should be especially considered for women who suffer from more than three yeast infections per year (Falagas 2006). Research shows that probiotics exert their beneficial actions by suppressing the growth of candida (in various regions of the body) and inhibiting candida’s ability to adhere to cell surfaces (Balish 1998).

Dietary products containing probiotic bacteria (e.g., certain cheeses and yogurts) can help control candida growth in the human body (Hatakka 2007; Williams 2002). In a study, yogurt containing lactobacillus was associated with a decreased amount of vaginal yeast (detected by culture), as well as a reduced rate of vaginal discharge associated with yeast infections (Martinez 2009).

While yogurt has long been considered a favorite natural remedy for vaginal candidiasis, and has been shown to suppress Candida albicans growth (Williams 2002; Hamad 2006), women must carefully choose yogurt products that are low in sugar. Supplemental probiotics containing lactobacillus, administered either orally or vaginally, can also help resolve urogenital infections (including yeast infections) (Reid 2001; Abdelmonem 2012). In particular, the lactobacillus species rhamnosus and reuteri have been studied for repopulating vaginal flora and reducing yeast populations (Reid 2003; Reid 2009).

Probiotics may also be useful after a course of antibiotics. Antibiotics used to kill pathogenic bacteria also destroy the beneficial bacterial flora of the vagina, putting women at risk to develop yeast infections (Donders 2010). Probiotics also help re-balance gut bacteria, and thus may help avoid symptoms of leaky gut syndrome (Horne 2006).

Resveratrol – Resveratrol, a compound found in the skin of grapes, may contribute to the anti-inflammatory characteristics of red wine. In 2007, researchers investigated (in a laboratory) the fungicidal activity of resveratrol against Candida albicans. They concluded that resveratrol demonstrated potent antifungal properties, and appears to be safer than conventional antifungal drugs such as amphotericin B (Jung 2007). In 2010, further research revealed that resveratrol impairs the ability of Candida albicans to convert into its more infectious form, and thus may be a useful agent against candida infections. In fact, resveratrol’s chemical structure may form the foundation of an entirely new class of antifungal drugs (Okamoto-Shibayama 2010).

Goldenseal – Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) is a botanical that has been used to fight inflammation and infection. An active ingredient in goldenseal is berberine (Ettefagh 2011), which has been shown to have strong antifungal effects against candida in a laboratory setting (Liu 2011). Berberine has also demonstrated synergistic effects against Candida albicans when used in combination with commonly used antifungal drugs (e.g., fluconazole) in laboratory studies (Wei 2011; Iwazaki 2010; Xu 2009). Berberine may combat candida growth by interfering with the ability of the fungus to penetrate and adhere to host cells (Yordanov 2008). Study outcomes have been so positive that, similar to the case with resveratrol, synthetic analogs of berberine are being developed that may represent a new class of antifungal medications (Park 2006; Park 2010).

Lactoferrin – Lactoferrin, a protein found in mucosal secretions (e.g., human colostrum/milk, tears, saliva, and seminal fluid) (Haney 2012; Andrés 2008; Venkatesh 2008), possesses broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity against bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoa (Kobayashi 2011). Lactoferrin demonstrates a significant antifungal effect against a variety of pathogenic candida species (i.e., Candida albicansCandida krusei and Candida tropicalis) (Al-Sheikh 2009). In addition to lactoferrin’s ability to interfere with candida growth on its own, it also displays potent synergism with common antifungal drugs; it has been shown to enhance the antifungal activity of fluconazole against candida (Kobayashi 2011). Although lactoferrin’s antifungal activity againstCandida albicans has been well established, the mechanism by which it achieves this effect is not as clear (Andrés 2008). Lactoferrin’s ability to bind to iron may contribute to its antifungal activity (Yen 2011), especially since iron appears to enhance the proliferation of candida species (Al-Sheikh 2009).

Lactoferrin derived from both bovine and human sources inhibits growth of oral candida (Venkatesh 2008). However, bovine derived lactoferrin has been specifically identified as a promising treatment option for oropharyngeal candidiasis (Yamaguchi 2004).

Tea Tree Oil – Tea tree oil is an essential oil derived from leaves of the native Australian plant Melaleuca alternifolia (M. alternifolia). It is well known for its medicinal value and has been used by Australian Aborigines to treat colds, sore throats, skin infections, and insect bites (Larson 2012; Warnke 2009). Tea tree oil has a variety of therapeutic properties (e.g., anti-inflammatory and antiseptic) and is a popular ingredient in a number of natural cosmetic products (e.g., shampoo, massage oil, and skin/nail cream) (Larson 2012; Catalán 2008; Mondello 2006). Tea tree oil, capable of eliminating a large number of microorganisms (Catalán 2008), shows promise as a treatment for candida infections (Willcox 2005). Animal studies indicate that one of the active compounds in tea tree oil, terpinen-4-ol, may be especially promising for treating drug-resistant forms of vaginal candidiasis (Mondello 2006). Furthermore, tea tree oil may have beneficial effects against fluconazole-resistant oropharyngeal candidiasis (Wilcox 2005).

Laboratory research indicates that tea tree oil may exert its yeast-killing effect by inhibiting candida’s ability to replicate. It also appears to interfere with membrane properties/functions of candida (Catalán 2008). In addition, research has demonstrated tea tree oil reduces candida’s ability to adhere to human cell surfaces (Sudjana 2012).

Although tea tree oil is occasionally associated with contact dermatitis (when used topically), it is generally considered to be safe. However, it can be toxic when ingested orally, producing a variety of negative effects (e.g., vomiting, diarrhea, and hallucinations) (Larson 2012). Therefore, it is typically used topically and should be kept out of the reach of young children.

Other Essential Oils – Essential oils (i.e., volatile oils) refer to the compounds found within aromatic plants that give them a particular odor or scent (NIH 2012). Most essential oils are a mixture of various chemicals, which are of clinical interest due to their large spectrum of biological activities (de Araujo 2011).

Although tea tree oil is considered one of the most important essential oils for biological activity against candida (Mondello 2006), a wide variety of essential oils possess anti-candida properties (e.g., carvacrol, 1,8-cineole, geraniol, germacrene-D, limonene, linalool, menthol, and thymol) (Azimi 2011). Experimental models involving geranium oil (or its main component geraniol) show that it suppressed candida cell growth (Maruyama 2008). In addition, clove oil and its major constituent eugenol have shown particularly potent effects against candida (Nozaki 2010), and may be effective against multi-drug resistant forms of Candida albicans alone or in combination with other common antifungal drugs (e.g., fluconazole or amphotericin B) (Khan 2012). A laboratory study demonstrated that essential oil from Moroccan thyme may act synergistically with common antifungal drugs, potentially reducing the need for high doses, which may in turn minimize associated side effects and treatment expenses (Saad 2010). Research has also identified the essential oil of Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla) as a promising alternative for the treatment of candidiasis (Oliva Mde 2011). Compounds isolated from the essential oil of oregano possess antifungal activity as well (Rao 2010).

Garlic – For centuries, the garlic plant Allium sativum has been used as a popular food, spice, and herbal remedy (Aviello 2009; Dini 2011). Garlic has been noted to possess cardiovascular (Ginter 2010), anticancer, antioxidant, and antimicrobial benefits (Dini 2011). Garlic (and its constituent allicin) can cause potent growth inhibition in yeast and be effective against mucosal and systemic/invasive candidiasis (Chung 2007; Low 2008). Research suggests that allicin, due to its effect on reducing the growth of biofilm (a component of candida allowing it to become resistant to certain antifungal agents), may reduce candida’s ability to become resistant to common antifungal drugs. Allicin may also decrease the production of candida by disrupting its membrane (Khodavandi 2011). A clinical trial found that the topical administration of a garlic paste was as effective at suppressing the symptoms of oral candidiasis as clotrimazole solution (the conventional antifungal treatment for this indication) (Sabitha 2005). Likewise, a clinical study of candida vaginitis concluded that there was no difference in treatment response between a vaginal cream containing garlic & thyme, and a vaginal cream containing clotrimazole (Bahadoran 2010).

by Dr. Jockers:

  1. Follow the Advanced Nutrition Plan:  Utilize the Cellular Healing Diet by avoiding grains/sugars/fruit and loading up on good fats, proteins, and non-starchy vegetables.

2.      Load up on Probiotics:  Good gut bacteria will compete with the fungal infection for nutrition and space inside the body.  Probiotics naturally secrete anti-fungal factors that destroy and inhibit Candida.  I recommend over 100 billion organisms daily.

3.      Use Raw Garlic:  One of the world’s most powerful anti-fungals.   Garlic contains many different substances with anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, including allicin, alliin, alliinase and S-allylcysteine.   Due to the variety of substances, Candida will not develop a resistance to it like it does with many pharmaceutical drugs.   Chop garlic up and add it to food or use garlic capsules.

4.      Use Coconut Oil:  The medium chain saturated fat within coconut oil has incredible anti-fungal factors that destroy Candida.  The major fighters include caprylic, mystic, and lauric acid.  Eat 3 Tbsp of coconut oil daily and put this oil on your skin.

5.      Oregano Oil:  One of the most powerful anti-oxidants and anti-fungals.  Use 3 drops of Oregano Oil or a tsp of Oregano Terrain in a glass of water 2-3x daily.

6.      SuperGreens Powder:  High chlorophyll foods help to alkalize, cleanse, and purify the body.  The alkalizing affect will naturally destroy Candida.  Take 2-3 Tbsp of supergreens in water daily for best results.

7.      Colloidal Silver:  Silver denatures the enzyme involved with supplying oxygen to the microorganism.  This is powerful against bacteria, virus, and fungal infections.  Take 3 Tbsp of pure silver daily for 6 weeks to help kill of Candida.

8.      Apple Cider Vinegar:  This powerful vinegar is high in alkaline buffering minerals to help naturally alkalize.  It is also a great anti-septic that destroys infections on contact.  Put this on acne, fungal infections, hair (for dry skin/dandruff), and skin (excema).  Use it on food or dilute it with a Tbsp in a glass of water for alkalizing effects.

9.      Use Cloves:  Cloves have more anti-oxidants than anything else per volume.  They are also potent anti-fungals.  Use clove oil on fungal outbreaks on skin or take it orally.  Try 3 drops of clove oil in a glass of water, 2-3x day.

10.    Use Ginger:  Ginger is loaded with anti-oxidants and volatile oils that powerfully combat invading organisms.  Drink ginger tea throughout the day and put fresh or dried ginger in foods & shakes.    You can also use foods that are lacto-fermented with a ginger base.

11.      Maximize Your Nervous System:  Take great care of your body’s internal healing system.  Any sort of spinal stress and dysfunction damages the nervous system and interferes with the body’s natural healing abilities.  Be sure to keep good posture, maintain core strength, and seek out regular chiropractic adjustments.  Adjustments have been shown to increase immune function by over 200%, allowing the body to naturally rid itself of invading organisms.

12.      Keep Stress Levels Down:  High mental/emotional stress increases the release of the hormone cortisol.  High levels of cortisol suppress the immune system, allowing opportunistic infections to take hold.  Start your day with powerful anchors that empower you to be calm and collective under stress.  Minimize stressful interactions and take a break in your day to reengage yourself with positive affirmations, thoughts, & visions.

13.    Optimize Your Rest:  Your immune system does the majority of its best work at night while you are sleeping.  Be sure to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night and take a 10-15 minute powernap in the middle of the day to keep your immune system elevated.

14.     Exercise Daily:   Regular exercise helps to oxygenate the body more effectively.  It also revs up the immune system.  The most advanced form of exercise is high-intensitybursts that last a total of 5-15 minutes.  Try warming up for 5 mins and then sprinting for 30s followed by a 30s walk for 5-10 minutes.

15.    Colon Cleanse:  Try to completely cleanse your colon and liver with a 3-day vegetable juice fast that incorporates milk thistle, ginger, turmeric, oregano, garlic, lemon, and other powerful herbs.  Drink lots of water with lemon during this cleanse.

Repeated diarrhea or constipation
Chronic, unexplained nausea, often accompanied by vomiting
Fatigue and weakness
Intestinal cramping
Unexplained dizziness
Foul-smelling gas
Multiple food allergies
Loss of appetite
Itching around the anus, especially at night
Difficulty sleeping
Difficulty maintaining a healthy weight (over or underweight)
Itching on the soles of the feet, often accompanied by a rash
Coughing blood (severe cases)
Palpitations (Hookworms)
Facial swelling around the eyes (roundworms)


Parasites love sugar and everything that turns into sugar. So the best way to starve the parasites is through using healthy fasting and cleansing strategies while eliminating as much sugar and grains as possible from the diet.

Several herbs and foods act as very strong anti-parasitic agents. Extra-virgin coconut oil is loaded with medium chain triglycerides that enhance the immune system in its battle against pathogens. Raw garlic and onions provide sulfur containing amino acids that are anti-parasitic. Eat six tablespoons of raw, extra virgin coconut oil, one whole clove of garlic, and one large red onion daily to help parasite proof your body.

Dried oregano and especially essential oil of oregano are extremely volatile and anti-parasitic. Use 2-3 drops of oregano oil in water with fresh squeezed lemon and drink this 3x daily. Clove works just as well so you could also substitute or use clove oil with oregano oil. Ginger, wormwood, black walnut are also commonly used in anti-parasitic strategies.

Fasting with fermented drinks such as fermented whey from grass-fed cows and fermented ginger, kombucha, coconut kefir, apple cider vinegar, etc. are powerful tools to help destroy parasites. Many holistic health coaches recommend a three to twenty-one day low calorie, liquid diet that is rich in fermented beverages, water and fresh squeezed lemon. Probiotic supplements are highly recommended to help destroy parasites and re-innoculate the gut.

After the cleansing period, it is especially important to utilize high quality fermented raw dairy and vegetables. Raw, grass-fed fermented dairy products like amasai & cheese and kimchi, sauerkraut, and fermented veggies should be used abundantly. These foods are rich sources of L-glutamine, an amino acid that helps rebuild the gut. These fermented foods also contain very powerful strains of good bacteria, organic acids, and enzymes that act to keep parasites out of the body.


Another form of parasite is the Helminth worm. This includes tapeworms, pinworms, hookworms, threadworms, roundworms and others. Many individuals doing a parasite cleanse will see the worms in their stools as they are eliminated from the body.

The body’s immune system goes after the parasites once they are identified. Often times the parasites are extremely strong and multiply too quickly for the immune system to keep them at bay. Some of the most common symptoms associated with intestinal parasites include diarrhea, gas, bloating, flu-like symptoms, nausea, rashes, joint pain, chronic fatigue, and chronic sinusitis.

We are most vulnerable to colds and influenza during the long winter, Many people suffer not only from the respiratory symptoms of cold and flu, but can also fall victim to various complications of these diseases, some of which can be serious. Children, the elderly, and people with chronic illness or compromised immune systems are especially prone to complications. Parents worry about their children bringing home infections from school. Right now, the best way Western medicine has of dealing with these diseases is the widespread use of flu shots, which encourage the immune system to “gear up” for the most prevalent type of flu. However, while flu shots can avert the most serious consequences of infection, they cannot prevent or cure the common cold.

The common cold is an acute viral infection that generally causes inflammation of the upper respiratory tract. It is the most common infectious disease in humans, and accounts for more time lost from work or school than any other disease. Flu is an acute and contagious infection of the respiratory tract. Its symptoms include running nose, cough, chills, headache, fever, and severe aching in the muscles and joints. Although flu affects all age groups, schoolchildren have the highest incidence. Although colds and flu are generally of brief duration, they can lead to complications in the very young, the elderly, and those with chronic diseases or compromised immune systems.

Because both cold and flu are viral infections, conventional medicine has no cure for them. Bed rest and increased fluid intake are generally suggested to make the patient more comfortable. Aspirin, nasal decongestants, and other medications such as steam inhalation, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, amantadline, or rimantadine are prescribed.

A friend of mine traveled to China last winter. She told me that when she visited a college there, she saw every student in the cafeteria drinking a kind of herbal tea for the prevention of cold and flu before their lunch. She thought that was very interesting and asked me what they were drinking. I told her that every school in China, from grade school through college, offers herbs to the students during the flu season to prevent cold and flu. There are quite a few teas and herbal formulas available for prevention purposes.

In China, these anti-cold and flu formulas will be found in every family’s medicine cabinet. It would be almost impossible to find a person in China who has never taken one. Most of these effective and time-tested herbal formulas come from two important schools in traditional Chinese medicine: the school of cold-induced febrile diseases, represented by Zhang Zhongjing (150-219 AD), and the school of seasonal febrile diseases, represented by Wu Jutong (1758-1836).

Using herbal formulas to prevent and treat colds and flu is one of the best-developed and most successful aspects of traditional Chinese medicine. Specific treatment practices and formulas have been handed down unbroken from the earliest schools to the modern universities of China. In this country, more and more people are becoming aware of the existence and efficacy of the ancient cold and flu formulas. At our clinic, TCM Health Center, we see increased demand for this type of treatment, especially among school teachers, who are constantly being exposed to colds. Our clients say that their doctors have been surprised by the effectiveness of Cold & Flu Formula (Yin Qiao San), which is a common and popular formula in China.

Top Antiviral Herbs in Chinese Medicine

Woad Root (Ban Lan Gen) is one of the leading anti-viral herbs. In a study of over 11,000 people who were exposed to mumps, the infectious manifestation was forestalled by using a decoction of woad root. Woad root tea is the most popular herbal tea to prevent and treat flu in China.

Woad Leaf (Da Qing Ye) shares similar properties with woad root. In a study of 100 people, only 10% of the treatment group that took a woad leaf decoction twice daily had upper respiratory infections during the study period, while 24% of the control group had infections.

Forsythia Fruit (Lian Qiao) is a pointed, oval-shaped capsule with a hard shell. Because of its anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and immunity-enhancing properties, forsythia fruit is widely used to treat common cold, influenza, swelling and pain in the throat, and skin inflammation.

Honeysuckle Flower (Jin Yin Hua) is named “gold-and-silver flower” in Chinese. Research indicates that this flower bud can deactivate the PR8 strain of influenza virus. The study also indicates that honeysuckle works wonderfully to treat other infectious diseases, including pneumonia and viral conjunctivitis.

Baical Skullcap Root (Huang Qin) is the dried root of scutellaria. It is an anti-viral agent, effective against influenza viruses. This herb and its active substance, baicalin, are used in the treatment of upper respiratory infections, either bacterial or viral.

Effective Herbal Formulas in Chinese Medicine

In traditional Chinese medicine, patterns are differentiated according to the imbalances of the body and the causes and stages of the disease. Herbal formulas (combinations of herbs) are always recommended by practitioners because they are stronger and more effective than single herbs. I will discuss three patterns of cold and flu symptoms, and the appropriate formulas for each type.

Wind-Heat Pattern: Symptoms of the Wind-Heat pattern include: fever; headache; sweating; a running nose with yellowish-colored mucus; dry mouth; thirst; sore throat; productive coughing with thick yellowish phlegm; a thin, yellow tongue coating; and a floating and rapid pulse. Cold and Flu Formula (Yin Qiao San) is the most popular herbal formula to treat the Wind-Heat pattern. Wind-Heat Clearing(Sang Ju Yin) and Lung Heat Clearing (Ma Xing Shi Gan Tang) are also basic formulas for cold and flu of the Wind-Heat pattern.

Cold & Flu Formula (Yin Qiao San)


Forsythia (Lian Qiao)
Honeysuckle (Jin Yin Hua)
Platycodon (Jie Geng)
Mint (Bo He)
Bamboo Leaf (Dan Zhu Ye)
Licorice (Gan Cao)
Schizonepeta (Jing Jie)
Soy Bean (Dan Dou Gu)
Arctium (Niu Bang Zi)

Wind-Cold Pattern: Symptoms of Wind-Cold pattern include: aversion to cold; mild fever; absence of sweat; chest congestion; sneezing; running nose with clear mucus; itching throat, or a cough with clear mucus; a thin, white tongue coating; and a tight pulse. Wind-Cold Formula (Jiu Wei Qiang Huo Tang) is commonly used for cold and flu of the Wind-Cold type. Among others, Cinnamon Decoction (Gui Zhi Tang), Minor Blue Dragon Decoction (Xiao Qing Long Tang), and Cnidium and Tea Formula (Chuan Qiong Cha Tiao San) are also widely used.

Wind-Cold Formula (Jiu Wei Qiang Huo Tang)

Notopterygium (Qiang Huo)
Ledebouriella (Fang Feng)
Cang Zhu (Atractylodes)
Asari (Xi Xin)
Cnidium (Chuan Qiong)
Dahurian Angelica (Bai Zhi)
Rehmania (Shen Di Huang)
Skullcap (Huang Qin)
Licorice (Gan Cao)

Deficiency Pattern: Most people with chronic illness fall into the Deficiency category. They are the targets of cold and flu during every seasonal change and in every flu season. Their energy is low, their immune systems are weak, and they have trouble recovering from prolonged illness. Women with a Deficiency condition often catch a cold before every menstrual cycle. When Deficiency-pattern people are hit by cold or flu, they should use either Cold & Flu Formula or Wind-Cold Formula, depending upon whether their illness falls into the Wind-Heat type or the Wind-Cold type. Once cold or flu symptoms are gone, other formulas can be taken to strengthen the immune system and prevent recurrence of disease. Immunenergy (Shi Quan Da Bu Wan) is a well-known tonic for the immune system. Chi Spleen Tonic (Bu Zhong Yi Qi Wan), Spleen Heart Tonic (Gui Pi Wan), Kidney Yin Tonic (Liu Wei Di Huang Wan) and Kidney Yang Tonic (Jin Gui Shen Qi Wan) are also popular formulas which tonify the immune system. Consult a Chinese medicine practitioner to determine the best formula for you.

Immunenergy Formula (Shi Quan Da Bu Tang)

Angelica (Dang Gui)
Cnidium (Chuan Qiong)
Peony (Bai Shao)
Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang)
Ginseng (Ren Shen)
Atractylodes (Bai Zhu)
Poria (Fu Ling)
Licorice (Gan Cao)
Astragalus (Huang Qi)
Cinnamon (Rou Gui)

By Wei Liu, TCMD, MPH, LAC and Changzhen Gong, PhD, MS - The American Academy of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM)


Candidiasis has become a “hot” topic over the past few years among health-conscious individuals in the United States. Candidiasis is a condition that results from the overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus calledCandida albicansCandida cells are part of the normal flora of our bodies found in our mouth, vagina, intestines, and other organs. When they grow unchecked, they can cause a number of health problems, including digestive disorders, fatigue, and vaginal yeast infections. Whether candidiasis is to be considered a disease or a syndrome is still controversial in conventional medicine, but the general public has accepted it as a valid disease, apart from lab tests or theoretical constructs. Some practitioners even claim that “everybody has it.” Almost every day in my clinic, people walk in asking for help with this problem. Although Chinese medicine does not have a traditional diagnosis of “candidiasis,” we can find a diagnostic framework and a treatment approach to candidiasis from the patients common symptoms and complaints. I do not believe that “everyone has it,” but it is a very common problem in the United States. Many Chinese medicine practitioners are amazed by how prevalent candidiasis is here. When you know the causes of candidiasis, it is not surprising that people are more prone to have it here than in other countries.

There are a number of medications that promote the overgrowth of yeast cells, either because they kill beneficial bacteria, or because they interfere with normal hormone functions. These medications include: antibiotics; chemotherapy; hormone replacement; corticosteroids; and oral contraceptives. Improper diet, such as over-consumption of yeast products, sugar, or alcohol, also can promote yeast growth. In traditional Chinese medicine, these foods disturb the balance of the Spleen, produce Phlegm, and create the perfect environment for yeast overgrowth.

Those people with immune system or endocrine gland disorders are more prone to candidiasis, such as patients with AIDs, cancer, or diabetes.

In Chinese medicine, balance is the most important concept in maintaining health. Yin and Yang, the eternal opposites of the universe, also form the basic substance of our bodies. They must be in balance for us to be in good health. It is the same for the yeast cells and bacteria in our bodies: too many yeast cells, and a condition of candiadiasis results; too many bacteria, and infection can be present; when there is balance, we are in good health.

Triple Burner: A Concept in Traditional Chinese Medicine
The Triple Burner is one of the six Yang organs in the body. It includes the Upper Burner (the Heart, and Lung), Middle Burner (the Spleen and Stomach) and Lower Burner (the Liver, Intestines, Bladder and Kidneys). As stated in the classical medical textbook, Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine, “the Upper Burner opens outwards, spreads the five tastes of the food essences, moistens and pervades the skin, fills the body, and is like mist. The Middle Burner receives vital energy, expels the wastes, steams the body fluids, transforms the refined essence of food, and connects upwards with the Lungs. The Lower Burner directs the separation of the clean fluids from the dirty fluids, and facilitates the excretion of urine.” Notice that the Triple Burner is described in terms of what it does. It is called a “concept” because it really exists as a function, rather than as a physical organ. In Chinese medicine, the Triple Burner regulates the activities of the other internal organs and participates in fluid metabolism.

Traditional Chinese medicine recognizes the development and proliferation of Candida in the body as a Triple Burner-related condition. The Middle Burner, and particularly the Spleen, is seen as the key to this health issue. The Spleen is responsible for taking the food and fluids that we ingest and processing them into the Chi and Blood that are the true “fuel” of our bodies. When the Spleen is functioning well, Chi and Blood are in balance, intestinal flora are in balance, there is no excess fluid or phlegm in our system, food is properly digested and distributed, and the immune system is being nourished by Chi and Blood. In most cases of candidiasis, the problem starts with a Spleen imbalance, which may then progress to digestive disorders, irregular bowel movements, diarrhea, constipation, and/or fatigue. In the absence of treatment, or with improper treatment, the disorder will then spread from the Spleen and Spleen meridian to other organs and meridians. At this stage, the condition will be diagnosed as a systemic yeast infection. When the Spleen system is weakened, Damp Heat accumulates in the Lower Burner, and an ideal environment for yeast overgrowth is developed. Symptoms such as a white, cheesy vaginal discharge, genital itching, or vaginitis might occur. When the Spleen system is disturbed, Heat and Fire can accumulate in the Upper Burner, causing an infection of the oral cavity called thrush to develop.

With candidiasis, there are cases when symptoms only appear in one Burner; but in many cases, symptoms spread to all three Burners. As explained above, Middle Burner disorder (Spleen and Stomach) is the key factor in candidiasis. When Spleen energy is weakened by poor diet, medications or other factors, its ability to transform phlegm and nutrients is diminished. The Spleen then fails to properly absorb and utilize nutrients from the foods we eat, and is therefore unable to produce healthy amounts of Chi and Blood. So the earliest stage of candidiasis is almost always a Spleen (Middle Burner) disorder. If treated appropriately at this stage, with re-balancing of the Spleen and Stomach, the problem will resolve with no yeast-related symptoms. But candidiasis is not a well-defined disease pattern. It is difficult to diagnose at the early stages, and many people are completely unaware that they are developing a severe problem. Then the disease gains ground, spreading to the Upper Burner (thrush, cough, etc.), or to the Lower Burner (vaginal infection, etc.), or both. As with many diseases, the best way to head off trouble is with early detection and treatment.

A Two-Step Treatment Plan with Chinese Medicine
Step 1. Cleansing
In Chinese medicine, a thorough cleansing is the first step in dealing with candidiasis. When our systems are full of the waste, phlegm and toxins which contribute to yeast overgrowth, clearing them out of the system is necessary. “The constitutional energy is endangered when an internalized evil is there,” says the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine.

Many people try to clear out their yeast overgrowth with diet cleansing methods. For candidiasis, diet management alone is not strong enough to clear the system, or it can take a very long time. Combining proper diet with Chinese herbs and acupuncture can achieve this goal much faster. With herbal cleansing therapy, the goal is to clear the system of Dampness, Phlegm, and Heat. These are seen as the causative factors of candidiasis. The herbs are not intended to mechanically clear out the large intestine; rather, they promote the clearing-out of the pathological factors of Phlegm and Heat toxins. Commonly-used herbs include gentiana (long dan cao), melia (chuan lian zi), agastachis (huo xiang), cardamon (bai dou kou), saussurea (mu xiang), skullcap (huang qin), coptis (huang lian), and phellodendra (huang bai).

Damp Heat Clearing Formula (Long Dan Xie Gan Wan) and Coptis Formula (Huang Lian Shang Qing Wan) are powerful herbal combinations to promote the cleansing process. Damp Heat Clearing is used most often when Lower Burner symptoms appear, and also with some Middle Burner problems; Coptis Formula is more effective with Upper and Middle Burner symptoms.

Damp Heat Clearing Formula (Long Dan Xie Gan Tang)
Gentian (Long Dan Cao)
Scullcap (Huang Qin)
Gardenia (Zhi Zi)
Akebia (Mu Tong)
Plaintain (Che Qian Cao)
Alisma (Ze Xie)
Buplerum (Chai Hu)
Rehmannia (Di Huang)
Angelica (Dang Gui)
Licorice (Gan Cao)

Coptis Formula Formula (Huang Lian Shang Qing Wan)
Coptis (Huang Lian)
Da Huang (Ruhbarb)
Scullcap (Huang Qin)
Phellodendra (Huang Bai)
Gypsum (Shi Gao)
Gardenia (Zhi Zi)
Forsythia (Lian Qiao)
Chrysanthemi (Ju Hua)
Schizonepeta (Jing Jie)
Angelica (Bai Zhi)
Viticis (Man Jing Zi)
Cnidium (Chuan Qiong)
Ledebouriella (Fang Feng)
Mint (Bo He)
Inula (Xuan Fu Hua)
Platycodon (Jie Geng)
Licorice (Gan Cao)

Some commonly-used acupuncture/acupressure points for this cleansing process include LIV3, LIV2, ST40, UB57, and LI4.

Step 2. Tonifying
After the waste, toxins, and phlegm have been cleared out of our systems, we then have to tonify our bodies, repairing the damage and restoring the balance, or the pathological factor(s) will return. “If sufficient vital energy exists, a pathological factor cannot attack us” (Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine). This is also a very important step to prevent recurrence of yeast infections. Commonly used tonifying herbs include astragalus (huang qi), codonopsis (dang shen), atractylodes (bai zhu), and dioscorea (shan yao). GI Strength Formula (Xian Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang) is a popular formula for tonification, especially of the Middle Burner.

GI Strength Formula (Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang)
Ginseng (Ren Shen)
Atractylodis (Bai Zhu)
Poria (Fu Ling)
Licorice (Gan Cao)
Tangerine (Chen Pi)
Pinella (Ban Xia)
Amomi (Sha Ren)
Saussurea (Mu Xiang)

Commonly used tonifying acupuncture/acupressure points include ST36, SP9, SP6, LI10, LIV8, REN6, and REN4.

A Recommendation for Your Diet
People who are familiar with a yeast-free diet stay away from bread, cheese, mushrooms, vinegar, soy sauce, barbecue sauce, black fungus, and white fungus. But there are other yeast-based foods such as crackers, pretzels, dry cereal, miso, tempeh, canned vegetables, pickled vegetables, beer, root beer and other fermented beverages which are often overlooked by those with yeast infections.

Grains, noodles, non-yeast bread and white rice are recommended. They are easy to digest. Brown rice and wild rice have more nutrients than white rice, but they take more energy to digest, and it is better for Spleen Chi Deficient people not to eat them often. Certain vegetables are extremely therapeutic for those with yeast infections, such as Daikon radish, which can help cleanse your system and is known as a “phlegm cleanser”.

The family of yellow-colored foods such as yam, winter squash, and pumpkins are strongly recommended from the viewpoint of traditional Chinese medicine, as they tonify and strengthen the Spleen and Spleen meridian.

Yeast-based medications such as penicillin, mycin, chloromycetin, and tetracyclines should be avoided, as well as yeast-based Vitamin B supplements.

By Wei Liu, TCMD, MPH, LAC and Changzhen Gong, PhD, MS - The American Academy of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM)