Gan Mao Ling: The Magic Cold-Buster

By Marcie Bower, Lic.AC.

This post is copied from our older, original blog. Original post date 5/6/2014.


I woke up yesterday with a scratchy and slightly sore throat. While my previous self would have panicked and thought “I can’t get sick! I have so much to do this week!” I didn’t. I just got up, drank some water, and took one of my favorite Chinese Herbal Medicine pill formulas, Gan Mao Ling. I am still taking these pills today, and will for a couple days, but I can already tell that whatever sickness was threatening to take hold has passed and my body’s own defenses have won again.

Gan Mao Ling is a Chinese Herbal formula for the early stages of a cold or a flu. It literally translates to “Common Cold Effective Remedy.” From a Chinese Medicine perspective, Gan Mao Ling expels wind (which is the pathogen), clears heat (which causes a sore throat), and eliminates toxins (thereby killing the virus.) It is most effective in the early stages of a sickness, but can be taken throughout the course of the cold or flu because of its antiviral properties. It specifically targets the throat, head, and sinuses.

Modern research has shown us that certain herbs in Gan Mao Ling have a known antiviral effect.  In fact, 74% of the herbs in the modern formulations of Gan Mao Ling are antivirals. These include gang mei gen (radix ilex), san cha ku (radix evodia), ban lan gen (radix isatis), and jin yin hua (flos lonicera).

Gan Mao Ling can be purchased in pill form from licensed practitioners of Chinese Herbal Medicine. It is a great formula to have in the house, in the event that you wake up with a scratchy, sore throat, and worry about all the things you won’t be able to do if you get sick this week.