Theory

Chinese Herbal and Acupuncture Treatment Protocols for Cough - Formulas, Protocols, TCM Diagnoses


Cough - Basics

A cough is the body's reaction to irritants in the airways, which carry air to and from the lungs. When the lungs become irritated, the nerve endings in the airways react by clearing out the lungs--or coughing. Often, coughing is a symptom of a larger medical issue such as acid reflux disease, an upper respiratory infection, asthma or a common cold.

Below you will find alternative and natural treatment options including those from a Chinese Medicine perspective for coughing.


Cough - Diagnostic Patterns

The Chinese Medicine treatment of cough generally involves arriving at the appropriate TCM diagnosis or pattern. This pattern within the individual is what treatment is based on not the general condition (see treating the cause and not the symptoms).

The following patterns may represent the underlying contributing factors for the development of cough:



Cough - Acupuncture Protocols

The treatment of conditions with acupuncture can be a complicated endeavor that should only be undertaken by individuals with a deep understanding of the underlying Chinese Medicine theory (and/or whatever system being used for treatment). There are many approaches, but generally speaking few viable approaches are involved on a point to condition basis. Rather using proper diagnostic procedures the patients diagnostic pattern is ascertained and that is what is treated. The protocols listed here exemplify some of these clinical approaches.

The following Acupuncture Treatment Protocols May Be Used With Cough


Cough - Formulas From Our Store

The following herbal formulas are potentially useful in the process of treating cough. For a complete list from our store with more details see our cough formula section.


Cough - Questions

Need treatment options for cough and not finding the information you need?

Using our forums our staff and our community may offer guidance with regards to the treatment of cough.



Cough - Related Acupuncture Points

The following (36) acupuncture points may be useful for cough. A subset of these could potentially be useful with acupressure stimulation and/or tongren therapy methods as well.

Generally treatment would be based on the TCM patterns listed above instead of selecting points by function alone, (see general points selection rules.)



Cough - Related Chinese Herbs

The following (24) chinese herbs may be useful for cough. In most cases, however, treatment with Chinese Herbal Medicine is done with herbal formulas based on the TCM patterns listed above instead of selecting herbs by function alone. When available, relevant formulas will appear below and/or in the store listings above.



The following (12) Formulas TCM Herbal Formulas May Be Useful For Cough

Bai He Gu Jin Wan

  • Lily Bulb to Preserve the Metal
    • General yin deficiency signs may present as night sweats, heat in the soles and palms, and flusing.
    • Cough/wheezing, possible blood in the sputum, dry and sore throat may present from lung yin and qi deficiency.
    • Useful for treating people who quit smoking or those with acute smoke exposure.
  • Treat Dryness
  • Enrich the Yin and Moisten Dryness

Ban Xia Hou Po Wan

  • Pinellia & Magnolia Pills
    • Plum pit qi (globus hystericus) and/or difficulty with swallowing from liver qi stagnation.
    • Coughing, hiccups, nausea and possible vomitting from rebellious qi and phlegm.
  • Regulate the Qi
  • Promote the Movement of Qi
  • Cautions
  • Use with caution in yin deficiency or with patients with signs of liver yang rising

Bu Fei Er Jiao Wan

  • Tonify the Lungs Formula with Gelatin
    • Lung yin deficiency with strong heat signs and/or bleeding - chronic dry cough, wheezing, pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, tuberculosis, COPD.
    • Stops bleeding when it arises from lung yin deficiency - mild bloody sputum with dry cough.
  • Treat Dryness
  • Gently Disperse and Moisten Dryness
  • Cautions
    • Avoid in patients with wind-cold (i.e. "common cold").
    • Avoid when there are profuse amounts of blood in the sputum.
    • Avoid, or use with caution, in patients with stomach and/or spleen deficiencies, particularly with phlegm accumulation.

Er Chen He San Zi Yang Qin Wan

Er Chen Wan

  • Two Aged Herbs
    • The primary base formula to resolve phlegm damp, particularly in the lungs and GI system - cough (with white mucus), plugged ears, sinus blockage - along with GI symptoms of nausea, vomiting.
    • Upper respiratory tract infections, bronchitis, emphysema, COPD - when arising from phlegm damp.
    • Phlegm accumulation in the head symptoms such as dizziness, insomnia, meniere's disease, alcohol hangover.
    • Cysts from phlegm accumulation - fibroids, breast cyst, ovarian cyst, thryoid cysts, goiter. 
  • Treat Phlegm
  • Dry Dampness and Expel Phlegm
  • Cautions
    • Avoid in patients with yin deficiency - i.e. cough from dryness.

Gan Mao Ling

  • Miraculous Cold Pills
    • Common cold and flu patterns, particularly at the early stages.
    • Can be used in lie of actual bacterial or viral infection as long as flu or cold like symptoms are manifest.
  • Clear Heat
  • Clear Heat and Relieve Toxicity

Qing Qi Hua Tan Wan

  • Clear the Qi and Transform Phlegm Pill
    • Cough with thick yellow or green phlegm, difficulty breathing, wheezing, and possible fullness of the chest due to damp heat accumulation in the lungs.
  • Treat Phlegm
  • Clear Heat and Transform Phlegm

Sha Shen Mai Dong Wan

  • Glehnia and Ophiopogonis Decoction
    • Important formula for stomach yin deficiency - benefits the stomach and the lungs - a range of digestive issues (gastritis, epigastric pain), possibly with dry throat, thirst and/or cough.
    • Diabetes - particularly with signs of dryness.
    • A range of lung related issues - lung cancer, pneumonia, cough/wheezing.
  • Treat Dryness
  • Gently Disperse and Moisten Dryness

Sheng Mai San Wan

Sheng Mai Yin Wan

  • Replenish Pulse Pills
    • Dry mouth, dry skin, dark or scanty urine from yin and fluid deficiency.
    • Fatigue, shortness of breath, and spontaneous sweating.
  • Tonify
  • Tonify the Qi
  • Cautions
    • Use with caution for patients that present with heat signs.

Su Zi Jiang Qi Wan

  • Perilla Fruit Pill to Direct Qi Downward
  • Cough with watery, copious sputum, breathing issues such as wheezing, asthma, shortness of breath (particularly difficulty inhaling), chest oppression.  Possibly signs of kidney qi/yang deficiency such as edema, weak low back and/or legs, fatigue.

    The Tongue will have a white coating that can be either greasy or slippery.

  • Regulate the Qi
  • Direct Rebellious Qi Downward

Xiao Qing Long Wan

  • Minor Blue Dragon Pills
    • Cold/flu like symptoms such as aversion to cold, cough, clear watery phlegm -from exterior wind cold invasion.
    • Wheezing, heavy sensation, edema due to interior water accumulation.
  • Release the Exterior
  • Release Exterior-Interior Excess
  • Cautions
    • Not meant for long term use.



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