In traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the common cold is associated with lung dysfunction.
The lung system disseminates protective qi over the body's surface, which forms the first barrier against the invasion of external pathogens.
Cold symptoms are the result of a battle between the protective qi and the external pathogens in the superficial portion of the body. Besides the body's natural resistance, environment and seasonal factors play important roles in determining what pathogens are prevalent. Generally, wind evils are the leading pathogens and they are often accompanied by cold, heat or dryness evils, making people have different symptoms when they have a cold.
Depending on how the body responds, TCM physicians study the cough pattern and the accompanied symptoms in detail, diagnose a disharmony pattern and choose a remedy accordingly.
Three disharmony patterns are commonly seen in cough and cold symptoms:
1. Wind-cold type
Clear or white mucus; other symptoms may include a runny nose with a clear discharge, an itchy throat, headache, slight body aches and chills. The tongue coating is white and the pulse is floating.
2. Wind-heat type
Yellowish thick mucus, other accompanied symptoms may include yellowish nasal discharges, throat soreness, thirst, low-grade fever, chills, headache and sweating. The tongue coating is yellowish, and the pulse is floating and rapid.
3. Dry-heat type
This condition consists of dry coughing, hoarseness, itchy and sore throat, dryness of the nose and mouth; the cough can have a little blood-tinged mucus, and be accompanied by cough-induced chest pain, chills or fever. The tongue tip is red and the coating looks yellow and dry, the pulse is slightly rapid. This type of cold is most common in autumn or when the humidity is low.
Because puerh tea (ripe, raw, aged or young) is ultimately cooling, I would not suggest that you consume any type of puerh tea if your cold is the "Wind-cold type" as this will simply aggravate your condition.
If your cold is the "Wind-heat type" or the "Dry-heat type", puerh tea may alleviate the symptoms somewhat, but bear in mind that there are other herbs and remedies that are far more effective and cheaper than puerh tea. You would be better off leaving your puerh tea alone as you can enjoy it better after you have recovered.