Asthma / Dyspnea

WESTERN MEDICINE: Asthma is a condition manifested by recurrent paroxysms of dyspnea of a characteristic wheezing type, due to obstruction of the flow of air in the smaller bronchi and bronchioles. Dyspnea is an unpleasant subjective complaint involving not only the patient's perception of breathing difficulty or discomfort, but also his reaction to it. Symptoms show breathlessness, shortness of breath, the sensation of difficult, labored, or uncomfortable breathing. The symptoms of asthma usually can be seen as bronchial asthma, chronic asthmatic bronchitis, cardio-pulmonary asthma; while the dyspnea shows in pneumonia, pulmonary emphysema, lung T. B., pulmonary infarction, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary edema, hysteria, etc. 

SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS: Breathlessness, shortness of breath, with open mouth, shoulders' moving up and down, nose moves to help breathing in a serious case, wheezing.

ETIOLOGY AND PATHOLOGY: The causes of asthma and dyspnea include six exogenous factors, phlegm from unhealthy food, or alcohol, unstable emotions, and deficient lung and kidney Qi after other chronic diseases. All above reasons produce rebellious Qi and phlegm which obstruct lung and cause excessive asthma; or the deficient lung and kidney result in the failure of normal Qi control such as descending, ascending, storaging, and cause the deficiency asthma.



(1). Wind-Cold Type: 

Indications: Breathlessness, shortness of breath, fullness of chest, cough, profuse white and watery sputum, aversion to cold, headache, no perspiration, white thin tongue coating, floating and tight pulse. 

Treatment & Formulas: Dispel wind-cold, open lung obstruction and relieve asthma.


    • Ma Huang Tang (Ma-huang Combination, Item No. 2174): This is for asthma of typical wind­ cold type. 
    • Shen Mi Tang (Ma-huang and Magnolia Combination, Item. No. 2139): This treats bronchial asthma with dyspnea and moderate sputum.
    • Hua Gai San (Ma-huang and Marus Formula, Item No. 2214): This treats wind-cold with minor lung heat. 
    • Xiao Qing Long Tang (Minor Blue Dragon Combination, Item No. 2031): It treats wind cold asthma with interior cold at the same time. 

(2). Wind-Heat Type:

Indications: Breathlessness, shortness of breath, or shoulder and nose moves to help breath, cough, yellow and sticky sputum, fullness and pain in chest, restlessness, thirsty, fever, sweating, aversion to wind, thin yellow tongue coating, floating and rapid pulse.

Treatment & Formulas: Dispel and clear wind heat, open the lung obstruction and relieve asthma.


    • Ma Xing Gan Shi Tang (Ma-huang and Apricot Seed Combination, Item No. 2176): This treats bronchial asthma, especially in children with severe cough, fever and sweaty forehead. 
    • Ding Chuan Tang (Ma-huang and Ginkgo Combination, Item No. 2112): This treats wind heat asthma with interior lung heat.
    • Qing Fei Tang (Platycodon and Fritillaria Combination, Item No. 2181): It treats asthma with strong interior lung heat. 

(3). Phlegm Obstructing Lung Qi:

Indications: Breathlessness, shortness of breath, cough with profuse and sticky sputum, full and obstructive sensation in chest, nausea, poor appetite, tasteless, white greasy tongue coating, slippery pulse.

Treatment & Formulas: Resolve phlegm and relieve asthma, regulate and descend lung Qi.


(4). Stagnant Qi Obstruct Lung Qi:

Indications: Unstable emotions, usually depressed and worrying emotions, for some psychological reasons, sudden breathlessness, shortness of breath, discomfort in throat, chest pain and fullness, insomnia, palpitation, thin tongue coating, wiry pulse.

Treatment & Formulas: Regulate and harmonize the stagnant Qi and relieve asthma.


    • Wu Yao Shun Qi San ( Lindera Formula, Item No. 2164)
    • Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang (Pinellia and Gastrodia Combination, Item No. 2066): It treats liver Qi stagnation with combined dampness and phlegm, symptoms show recurrent headaches, vertigo, dizziness, tinnitus. 


(1). Deficiency of Lung Qi: 

Indications: Breathlessness, shortness of breath, fatigue, laconic speech, spontaneous sweating, aversion to wind, dry mouth, flushed face, light red tongue body, soft and weak pulse.

Treatment & Formulas: Tonify spleen and lung Qi together (since spleen transform food essence into various Qi, include lung Qi) so as to relieve asthma.


    • Ren Shen Yang Rong Tang (Ginseng Nutritive Combination, Item No. 2007): It treats lung and spleen Qi deficiency.
    • Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang (Ginseng and Astragalus Combination, Item No. 2225): lt tonifies the middle (spleen and stomach) Qi. 

(2). Deficiency of Lung Yin:

Indications: Chronic asthma, breathlessness, shortness of breath, scanty and sticky sputum, thin body, dry throat, night sweating, red and dry tongue body, thin and yellow tongue coating, thready and rapid pulse.

Treatment & Formulas: Tonify the lung Yin and relieve asthma. 


    • Mai Men Dong Tang (Ophiopogon Combination, Item No. 2196): Treat the lung and stomach. Yin deficiency so as to relieve asthma. 
    • Sha Sheng Mai Dong Tang (Adenophorea and Ophiopogon Combination, Item No. 2107): This treats the lung Yin deficiency symptoms. 

(3). Deficiency of Spleen Qi:

Indications: Breathlessness, shortness of breath. cough with profuse sputum, general fatigue, poor appetite, loose stool or diarrhea often, pale tongue body, white or greasy tongue coating.

Treatment & Formula: Tonify the spleen and resolve sputum so as to help relieve asthma.


    • Liu Jun Zi Tang (Major Six Herb Combination, Item No. 2050): It treats the spleen Qi deficiency with internal phlegm and dampness. 

(4). Deficiency of Kidney Qi:

Indications: Chronic asthma, breathlessness. shortness of breath, inhale less and exhale more, general fatigue, all symptoms worse after activities. thin body type, perspiration, cold limbs, pale tongue body, deep and thready pulse.

Treatment & Formulas: Tonify the kidney to accept and store Qi relieving asthma.


    • Ba Wei Di Huang Wan (Rehmannia Eight Formula, Item No. 2011): It treats both kidney Yin and Yang deficiency.
    • Su Zi Jiang Qi Tang (Perilla Fruit Combination, Item No. 2272): It treats the kidney Yang deficiency plus the lung Qi obstruction.