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Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatment of the Three Most Common Types of Cough

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Because of its specific differentiation of the various types of coughs Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is especially effective in treating all sorts of coughs. A cough caused by heat, for example, produces sticky phlegm that can be very hard to expectorate; TCM treats this type of cough with acupuncture points and moistening, cooling herbs that dispel heat from the lungs. A cough due to cold, on the other hand, is marked by copious mucus and chills and is treated with the application of moxibustion and with drying, warming herbs.

If there is no differentiation, it can lead to an unfocused treatment that is ineffective or can even cause the cough to worsen. The following are a few of the Chinese medicine diagnoses of the more common forms of coughs and their specific corresponding treatments.

1. Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatment of a Wind Dryness Cough

Oftentimes contracted after exposure to a dry environment, this type of cough is not the same as a chronic dry cough associated with lung yin deficiency (usually due to smoking). In a wind dryness cough, the air’s dryness allows the external adverse influence of the dryness to attack the lungs. This type of cough leads to symptoms such as headache, sore throat with a ticklish sensation, and a dry cough, mouth, and lips.

The aim of the treatment is to stop the cough, moisten the lungs, and overcome the pernicious influence of the dryness. Herbal treatments for this type of cough include an herbal formula known as “Mulberry Leaf and Apricot Seed Decoction,” which in Chinese is called Sang Hsing Tang. This formula is an effective substitute for Chuan Bei Pi Pa Gao.

The diet should involve lots of liquids and soups. One should take hsi yang shen or American ginseng every day for a few weeks once the condition is gone. This will fortify the yin and qi of the lungs and prevent any future attack.

2. Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatment of a Cold or Damp Phlegm Cough

This type of cough is marked by persistent coughing that expectorates copious amounts of sticky white or clear phlegm that tends to be more plentiful after meals or in the morning. Other symptoms can include a sensation of heaviness, fatigue, poor appetite, fullness sensation in the stomach or chest, and nausea. The goal of treatment for this syndrome is to strengthen digestion, and dispel the phlegm from the lungs since an underlying spleen qi deficiency can trigger an excessive production of mucus.

To warm the lungs and repel the pathogen, the classic formula known as “Two Old Things Decoction,” (Er Chen Tang) and other herbs are prescribed. Er Chen Wan is the patent version of Er Chen Tang. If this syndrome is accompanied by nasal congestion, stiff neck, headache and other wind-cold symptoms, the patent medicine Chuan Hsiong Cha Chao Wan can also be prescribed.

Dietary therapy involves not eating mucus-producing foods such as sweets, dairy products, and cold foods. Recommended foods include whole grains, vegetables, and hot soups as well as small amounts of raw juices at room temperature to help moisten the lungs and induce expectoration. People with this syndrome should stay warm, get plenty of rest and eat lots of hot liquids, particularly ginger tea. Hot vegetable soup is ideal for this condition.

3. Saratoga Springs Traditional Chinese Medicine of Hot Phlegm Cough

This type of cough leads to accumulated phlegm that turns sticky and thick because of heat. The cough can cause a loud, barking sound. The heat gives the phlegm a dark color that ranges from yellow to dark green or brown. The phlegm is very hard to expectorate. This type of syndrome necessitates an aggressive approach as the green means the mucus has been infected. When the mucus goes into the lungs, it can be easily infected with bacteria, making the immediate removal of the mucus extremely important. Dislodging the mucus and stimulating expectoration is done by using herbs that moisten the lungs.

One excellent herbal formula for hot phlegm cough is the Pinellia Expectorant Pills which may come under several names, like Pinellia Root Teapills or Ching Chi Hua Tan Wan, but they are all the same formula. It is recommended to take it along with Yin Chiao Jie Du Pian or Gan Mao Ling to get the best results. Diet therapy is the same as cold or damp phlegm cough.

Plan of Treatment for a Cough

Unless cough sufferers get some rest and change their diet, their acute cough will fail to respond to the aforementioned treatments within a week. If this is the case, the cough can last for weeks, resulting in a weakened immunity and a series of colds. Cough due to any cause can be addressed with acupuncture treatment. Inserting a needle or needles an acupoints associated with the Conception Vessel meridian located above the sternum can rapidly assist breathing and quell a cough. Moxibustion is typically applied in a damp, cold type of cough, since warmth is required for that pattern.

Written by Valerie

April 4th, 2017 at 10:55 am

Posted in Acupuncture

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