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Herbal Remedies for Chronic Coughs - Phlegm-dampness Type

TCM types of chronic cough: Phlegm-dampness | Phlegm-heat | Liver-fire | Yin deficiency

This is chronic coughing with copious mucus that is white and thick in nature. Other symptoms include a stuffy feeling in the chest or gastric region, poor appetite, fatigue, and sometimes loose bowels. The tongue coating is white and greasy; the pulse is hesitant and rolling.

The remedy should invigorate the spleen, dry dampness, resolve phlegm and arrest coughing.

Sample prescription: Modified Citrus & Pinellia Decoction

This is a classic formula for eliminating excessive phlegm and dampness, in which the pinellia tuber and poria work together to dry dampness and resolve phlegm; tangerine peel and liquorice root harmonize the spleen and promote its functioning. Additional herbs are necessary when particular symptoms are serious. For example:

Dried tangerine peel
Pinellia tuber
cynanchum rhizome

If individuals cough up profuse mucus and have stomach discomfort, the ability to eliminate the pathogens should further be enhanced with herbs like:

cang zhu atractylodes rhizome Rhizoma Atractylodis
hou po magnolia bark Cortex Magnoliae Officinalis
ku xing ren bitter apricot kernel Semen Armeniacae Amarum
yi yi ren coix seed Semen coicis

For severe coughing, the qi flows of lungs can be enhanced with herbs like:

ma huang ephedra Herba Ephedrae
bai su zi perilla fruit Fructus Perillae
ku xing ren bitter apricot kernel Semen Armeniacae Amarum
bai qian cynanchum rhizome Rhizoma Cynanchi Stauntonii

For severe fatigue and a pale tongue, select herbs to strengthen qi production of the spleen such as:

dang shen pilose asiabell root Radix Codonopsis Pilosulae
bai shu largehead atractylodes rhizome Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae

During the course of development, the accumulated pathogens can easily transform into heat or coldness evils, which further aggravates the cough or lead to other complex symptoms.

When mucus becomes thinner and the limbs are cold, the complexion is pale, a pale tongue with glossy coating, and a taut and slow pulse. The above prescription will be used together with Calm the Stomach Powder, so as to eliminate excessive dampness and coldness, otherwise, some warming herbs are selected:

xi xin Manchurian wildginger Herba Asari
gan jiang fried ginger Rhizoma Zingiberis
wu wei zi schisandra Fructus Schisandrae

When the mucus becomes thicker, difficult to expectorate or develops a fishy smell, and there is also a coarse breathing, thirst, a bitter taste in the mouth, and yellow greasy tongue coating, this indicates that a lung heat condition has developed. Clear Lung Heat and Resolve Phlegm Decoction will be more appropriate than the above prescription.