HCP-X (Herbal Composition)

Relieving colds, flu and sinus congestion for two hundred years

HCP-XHCP-X is a traditional formula that has been used successfully to treat colds, flu, sore throats, coughs, congestion and other acute ailments for over 200 years. Developed by the pioneer herbalist Samuel Thomson, it was originally called composition or composition powder (HCP stands for Herbal Composition Powder).  Thomson claimed the formula was used to “scour the bowels and remove the canker (mucus and toxins).” He used it as a tea, along with lobelia and capsicum, as part of a system for eliminating infectious diseases.

HCP-X helps the body to break up and expel mucus congestion.  It also helps to promote perspiration and stimulates circulation. It is a very useful formula for colds, flu, fevers, sore throats and other acute ailments. Here are the ingredients in the HCP-X formula:


As the principle ingredient in this formula, bayberry is an astringent and stimulant that helps to dry up excessive mucus secretions, but leaves mucus membranes moist and clean rather than overly dry. It cuts mucus, so it is no longer sticky and easier for the body to expel. It also helps fight infection. Bayberry has been snuffed to relieve sinus pressure and headaches and has been used as a gargle for sore throats.


An Oriental spice which began to be imported into Europe hundreds of years ago, ginger is more than just an ingredient in cooking. It is an important medicinal herb with a stimulating action on circulation. It contributes warming, invigorating properties to HCP-X. It also has an anti-inflammatory action.


This herb combines the expectorant action of its saponins with the soothing effect of its mucilage. It has a strong affinity for lung tissues and the lymphatic system. It is one of the major herbs the Indians used for lung problems. It appears to loosen mucus and move it out of the body. It also appears to nourish and strengthen the lungs, making it useful for respiratory problems. Mullein hydrates lung tissue and is very helpful for chronic weakness of the lungs. It has been used to help reduce swelling in the lymph nodes and improve lymphatic drainage.


Also known as the spice cayenne pepper, capsicum stimulates blood flow throughout the body. This helps promote general healing and brings warmth and vitality to the tissues. Capsicum contains capsaicin, which has a pain-relieving quality. The strong heating quality of capsicum also helps to promote perspiration, which can break a fever or help the body “sweat out” a cold or flu.


Long recognized for its mild anesthetic (pain-relieving) property, the essential oil found in cloves has been used by dentists to numb the mouths of patients before operating, as well as to disinfect root canals. Clove bud is known to trigger the release of anti-inflammatory substances and also supports the expectorant and stimulant properties of ginger and bayberry. It is also anti-parasitic, and helps to destroy intestinal microbes and bacteria.

Suggested Use

At the first sign of cold or flu, take 1-2 capsules every two to four hours with plenty of fluids (preferably warm or room temperature, but not cold) until symptoms subside. HCP-X can also be made into composition tea by pouring one cup of boiling water over the contents of 2-4 capsules and allowing it to steep for three to five minutes. Sip the warm tea frequently to ease cough, sinus congestion, colds, chill, and other symptoms of acute illness. The tea can also be used as a gargle for sore throats.

HCP-X is even more effective when used to promote perspiration in a sweat bath. Take 1-2 capsules with a large glass of water or sip a cup of tea while soaking in a hot bath for 15-20 minutes. Then go to bed, pile on some blankets, drink plenty of fluids and “sweat” the cold or flu out.

Composition tea is also very effective when used in an enema. It is much better than coffee enemas for detoxifying the body. In fact, since Thomson referred to the tea as an herbal “coffee” and used it as an enema solution, this may have been the original “coffee” enema brew.

Caution: This is a spicy combination, so use caution if spicy foods irritate your stomach.

Selected References

The Comprehensive Guide to Nature’s Sunshine Products by Steven H. Horne

Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs by Rodale Press
The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal 
by David Hoffman
New Guide to Health
 by Samuel Thomson

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