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  • Writer's pictureJoan Rothchild Hardin

Fighting Off A Virus


Since we’re well into the flu and colds season, I thought it might be useful to describe how I ward off becoming ill when I feel the first inkling that something viral is trying to take hold in my body – a scratchy throat, a slight fever spike, and lethargy are my early warning symptoms. These are the steps I take, in the order I do them: FIRST: DR. SHEN’S YIN CHIAO PILLS

I take two Dr. Shen’s Yin Chiao Pills right away. They’re made of herbs and contain no pharmaceuticals, dyes, animal products,  preservatives or unlisted ingredients. They’re intended for use at the first sign of a cold or flu. One or two doses usually dispatch my symptoms. If any of the symptoms return, I take two more Yin Chiao an hour later and every hour until they’re gone. This has never required more than four hourly doses. Last winter, when a rather virulent flu was going around and I was exposed to many people who were sick but nevertheless felt compelled to be out and about (and in my office), my symptoms returned every few days for about a week so I repeated the dosing until my immune system had successfully fought off the virus. From the Dr. Shen website: This formula was first published in a Chinese herbal text by Dr. Wu Ju Tong in the year 1798. SERVING: Take six pills immediately, then four every four hours for the rest of the day. Continue to take four every four hours. Beyond the second day, switch to Dr. Shen’s Zong Gan Ling. INGREDIENTS:

  • Honeysuckle (Lonicera flos) Jin Yin Hua

  • Forsythia (Forsythia Suspensa Fructus) Lian Qiao

  • Balloon Flower (Platycodi Grandiflori Radix) Jie Geng

  • Peppermint (Menthe Herba) Bo He

  • Edible Burdock (Arctium Lappa) Niu Bang Zi

  • Crested Grass (Lophatheri Gracilis) Dan Zhu Ye

  • Schizonepeta (Schizonepeta Tenuifolia) Jing Jie

  • Fermented Soy Bean (Sojae Praeparatum Semen) Dan Dou Qi

  • Chinese Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza Uranelsis Radix) Gan Cao

SERVING: Take six pills immediately, then four every four hours for the rest of the day. Continue to take four every four hours. Beyond the second day, switch to Dr. Shen’s Zong Gan Ling. SUGGESTED USE: Keep a dozen tablets in your car, purse, or pocket. Take promptly. Use for immune support at home. Unlike some Yin Chiao imported from China, Dr. Shen’s Yin Chiao contains no drugs, dyes, pharmaceuticals, animal products, or unlisted ingredients. Each tablet contains a generous amount (750 mgs.) of premium grade wildcrafted herbs. Each tablet is also coated with natural food glaze and shaped for easy swallowing. Though Dr. Shen’s Yin Chiao is considered a Wind Heat formula, it is traditionally used, and effective for, both Wind Heat and Wind Cold patterns. However, using this formula to support normal patterns can require the addition of herbs or formulas such as Er Chen Wan to dry dampness and leech dampness from the tissue. For Immune Enhancement: Take three tablets every four hours. Some people have said they get diarrhea after taking Chinese herbs. This has not been a problem for me but I have noticed slightly more frequent BMs if I’ve had to dose myself three or four times in a single day. I can get Dr. Shen’s Yin Chiao at LifeThyme, my local health food store. It’s also available on Amazon. I’ve tried several other herbal remedies for this purpose but have had the best results with this product. SECOND: ‘MILK’ THE LYMPH GLANDS IN THE NECK Our body’s lymphatic system is essentially its sewer system, removing toxins from the body. Like our blood system, it consists of millions of vessels – but it lacks a heart-like pump to keep the lymph moving. This lack of a pump wasn’t a problem when we moved around a lot doing physical labor. Now that most of us sit at desks, in cars, and in front of TVs and computers much of the time, our lymph systems have become sluggish.  Lymph is moved along when we breathe and walk, and also by intestinal activity and muscle action. The lymph vessels are squeezed by tightening muscles, pushing the lymph along to be filtered through lymph nodes on its way back to the heart. (Williams, 2014) Exercise helps move the lymph efficiently. So do slant boards or inversions like head and hand stands. Lymphatic drainage can also be achieved manually. Since I usually notice my body is fighting off a virus when I’m in the middle of a therapy session or am otherwise occupied in a public place and can’t conveniently do a Down Dog, I manually drain, or ‘milk’, the lymph glands just under my lower jaw, starting next to my ears. It’s quick and certainly not the weirdest thing I’ve seen people do in public. This gets the stagnant, toxin-containing lymph out of those glands. While I find pressing on these glands a bit nauseating, draining them always leaves me feeling a whole lot better immediately afterwards. I highly recommend doing this drainage whenever you start to feel a sore throat or have sinus congestion. It’ll also give you a nice burst of energy when you’re feeling tired and sluggish. And of course doing it prophylactically is an excellent idea. It’s important to do the manual drainage in a downward motion, moving the lymph down toward the heart. Here are two diagrams showing the lymph glands in the head and neck:

. (Source:

Lymph glands of the head and neck.


Lymph glands of the head and neck. From the diagrams above, it looks like the glands I’m referring to are the parotid lymph glands. If I have a little more time, I’ll also start under my jaw and milk down my throat on either side of my windpipe to drain those glands too – the anterior cervical.


I came across this in Dr. Williams’ article Exercises to Help Drain Your Lymph System but haven’t tried it yet – it looks wonderful. He says this manipulation alone is good for relieving headaches and neck tension:

Starting at the base of the skull with your thumbs just behind your ears, push under the skull, into the neck, with firm pressure slowly going down toward your collar bones. Continue doing this, each time moving your thumbs closer together toward the spinal column.



  • If you have Hodgkins or non-Hodgkins lymphoma, it’s not good to press on your lymph glands.

  • Regularly draining the lymph glands across the chest, from inside the armpits toward the breastbone in the center of the chest, is good for preventing breast cancer.




The thymus gland under the sternum. The thymus gland, located under the sternum (breast bone), is a reflex point that helps stimulate lymphatic drainage in the upper body. Tapping it will also stimulate your immune system to kick in. The gland sticks out on both sides of the sternum so tapping it vigorously with the finger tips of both hands or rubbing it vigorously for about two minutes helps get lymphatic drainage going. (Williams, 2014) It will probably feel a little – or a lot – sore when you’re on the right spot. FOURTH: DRAIN THE LYMPH GLANDS ACROSS THE TOP OF THE CHEST I do this if I have time: Use your knuckles to squeeze the stagnant lymph and toxins out of the line of lymph glands running across your chest in a line with your thymus gland. Be sure to start inside your arm pits and move toward the thymus gland so the lymph drains back to the heart. I do this a few times a month, whether I feel viral or not.



  • Up my fluid intake

  • Avoid any foods I know are inflammatory

  • Do a little breath work (pranayama) to center myself

  • Avoid letting things upset me

  • Go to bed early if at all possible

The general idea is to get your immune system to kick in to overpower the virus.


REFERENCES Dr Shen’s Quality Chinese Herbs. (2014). Yin Chiao. See: Williams, D. (2014).  Exercises to Help Drain Your Lymphatic System. See: © Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


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