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Herbal Remedies for Chronic Coughs íV Yin-deficient Type

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


This is shown by a dry cough, or coughing up blood. Other symptoms include hot flushes in the afternoon, red cheeks, warm palms and soles, insomnia, night sweats, fatigue and irritability. The tongue is red, and the pulse is thready and rapid.

The remedy should nourish the lungs, clear lung-heat, resolve phlegm and arrest coughing.

Sample prescription: Modified Glehnia Root and Dwarf Lily-turf Tuber Decoction

In the prescription, the glehnia root, Solomonseal rhizome, dwarf lily-turf tuber and snakegourd root nourish the lungs and promote the production of body fluids; the mulberry leaf dispels heat and dryness evils through the body surface; the liquorice root and hyacinth bean reinforce the spleen to produce more nutrient essence, so as to support lung functioning. Additional herbs are necessary when particular symptoms are obvious, for example:

Schisandra
bamboo shavings
snakegourd peel

In case if the cough has persisted for a long time, the lungs must have accumulated a lot of heat, therefore, more heat-clearing herbs are necessary. In the prescription, delete the mulberry leaf, and add:

sang bai pi white mulberry root-bark Cortex Mori Radicis
di gu pi wolfberry root-bark Lycii Radicis Cortex

Severe cough may need extra force to calm the lung qi, so add herbs like:

chuan bei mu unibract fritillary bulb Bulbus Fritillariae Cirrhosae
ku xing ren bitter apricot kernel Semen Armeniacae Amarum
bai bu stemona root Radix stemonae

Coughing accompanied with breath shortness indicates that lung qi should be reconsolidated with the following herbs:

wu wei zi schisandra Fructus Schisandrae
he zi myrobalan fruit Fructus Chebulae

Coughing up yellow and thick mucus indicates that the lungs has generated their own heat, more herbs should be added to clear heat and resolve phlegm:

ha ke clam shell Concha Meretricis Seu Cyclinae
zhi mu anemarrhena rhizome Rhizoma Anemarrhenae
gua lou snakegourd peel Fructus Trichosanthis
zhu ru bamboo shavings Caulis Bambusae in Taeniam
huang qin baical skullcap root Radix Scutellariae

Coughing up blood, indicate that the blood is over-heated, suitable cooling herbs are:

zhi zi gardenia fruit Fructus Gardeniae
mu dan pi peony root-bark Crotex Moutan
bai mao gen couch grass rhizome Rhizoma Imperatae
bai ji common bletilla tuber Rhizoma Bletillae
ou jie lotus rhizome-node Nodus Nelumbinis Rhizomatis

Severe hot flashes or low-grade fever can be arrested by:

yin chai hu starwort root Radix Stellariae
qing hao sweet wormwood herb Herba artemisiae Annuae
bai wei blackened swallowwort root Radix Cynanchi Atrati

Excessive night sweats can be arrested by:

nuo dao gen root of glutinous rice straw Radis Ophiopogan
fu xiao mai shriveled wheat Fructus Tritici Levis

When coughing is accompanied with wheezing or breathing difficulties, kidney qi deficiency may also appear, and the depleted state can be reconsolidated with herbs like:

shu di processed rhemannia rhizome Rhizoma Rehmanniae Praeparatae
shan zhu yu cornus fruit Fructus Corni
wu wei zi schisandra Fructus Schisandrae
ren shen ginseng Radix Ginseng
ge jie tokay Gekko