SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS: Coughing is a common symptom of respiratory disorders. lt shows up following diseases, such as infection of upper respiratory tract, acute and chronic bronchitis, bronchiectasis, pneumonia, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary tuberculosis.

ETIOLOGY AND PATHOLOGY: Cough is the result of descending lung Qi caused by exogenous factors or internal disorders. The exogenous factors include Liu Yin (Six Exogenous Factors): wind, coldness, summer heat, dampness, dryness, fire. Since lung is in a high position, it opens to the nose and controls the opening and closing of pores, the exogenous factors (especially wind cold, wind heat"and dryness) can easily attack the lung through nose and skin. Internal disorders are mostly the following: spleen dysfunction which creates phlegm and the phlegm going upward and disturbing the lung; liver fire up flaming to lung; and the Yin essence deficiency of lung itself.

1. Cough by Exogenous Factors

(1). Cough by Wind-Cold

Indications: Cough, white and thin sputum, fever, aversion to cold, headache, nasal congestion, runny nose, body soreness and pain, no perspiration, white and thin tongue coating, floating pulse.

Treatment & Formula: Dispel wind cold, open the stagnant lung Qi and relieve cough.


    • Xing Su San (Apricot and Perilla Combination, Item No. 2104): This is a typical formula to treat cough due to the wind cold factors. 

(2) Cough by Wind-Heat

Indications: Cough, yellow and sticky sputum, dry throat and thirsty, fever, aversion to wind, sweating, headache, thin and yellow tongue coating, floating and rapid pulse.

Treatment & Formula: Dispel and clear the wind heat, open the stagnant lung Qi and dissolve sputum.


    • Sang Ju Yin (Marus and Chrysanthemum Combination, Item No. 2146): This is a light and popularly used formula for cough due to the wind heat factors. The following herbs may be added for better results: 
      • Huang Qin (Scutellaria Radix, Item No. 1192)
      • Niu Bang Zi (Arctum Fructus, Item No. 1036)
      • Qian Hu (Peucedanum Radix, Item No.1129)
      • Pi Pa Ye (Eriobotrya Folium, Item No. 1112)
      • The dosage for the above herbs totally depends on the practitioner's decision based on each patient's own situation. 

(3). Cough by Dry heat 

Indications: Dry cough with no sputum, or scanty sputum with blood, dry mouth and throat, chest pain, or fever, aversion to wind, red tongue tip, dry, thin and yellow tongue coating, thready and rapid pulse. 

Treatment & Formula: Clear the dryness and lung heat, moisten the lung and relieve cough. 


    • Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang (Eriobotrya and Ophiopogon Combination, Item No. 2186): It treats cough by dry heat, especially during autumn time. 
    • Zhi Sou San (Platycodon and Schizonepeta Formula, Item No. 2054): It treats chronic cough with dry heat. 


(1). Cough Due To Damp-phlegm 

Indications: Cough with profuse white watery and foamy sputum, full sensation in chest, poor appetite, fatigue, loose stool, white and greasy tongue coating, slippery pulse. 

Treatment & Formulas: Tonify the spleen, resolve phlegm by drying the internal dampness and relieve cough. 


    • Er Chen Tang (Citrus & Pinellia Combination, Item No. 2003): This treats typical cough with damp-phlegm. 
    • Liu Jun Zi Tang (Major Six Herb Combination, Item No. 2050): It treats damp-phlegm cough with spleen deficiency. 
    • Ding Chuan Tang (Ma-huang and Ginkgo, Item No. TL024)

(2) Cough Due To Flaming Liver Fire

Indications: Cough with painful sensation radiated to hyperchondric area, worse when emotions change, flushed face, dry throat, dry, thin and yellow tongue coating, wiry and rapid pulse. 

Treatment & Formulas: Clear the liver and lung fire, relieve cough. 


    • Long Dan Xie Gan Tang (Gentiana Combination, Item No. 2267): It can be combined with Xie Bai San (Marus and Lycium Formula, Item No. 2268) for better result to stop cough due to the liver fire. 
    • Jia Wei Xiao Yao San (Bupleurum and Paeonia Formula, Item No. 2068): It is a formula to regulate and harmonize the liver and its relationship with spleen and stomach. Other herbs or formula for stopping cough can be added to improve its results.

(3). Cough Due To Yin Deficiency of Lung 

Indications: Chronic cough, dry, scanty or bloody sputum, or vomiting blood, dry mouth and throat, afternoon tidal fever, flushed cheeks, hot sensation in the four palms, insomnia, night sweating, thin body type, general fatigue, red tongue body, scanty tongue coating, thready and rapid pulse. 

Treatment & Formulas: Tonify the Lung Yin and clear lung heat, resolve sputum and relieve cough. 


  • Sha Sheng Mai Dong Tang (Adenophora and Ophiopogon Combination, Item No. 2107): This treats Lung Yin deficiency cough.
  • Bai He Gu Jin Tang (Lily Combination, Item No. 2092): This treats lung Yin deficiency and dry-heat cough. 
  • Qin Jiao Bie Jia San (Gentiana Chin-Chiu & T.S. Combination, Item No. 2168): This is a typical formula for cough due to lung Yin deficiency. 

(4). Cough Due To Qi Deficiency of Lung 

Indications: Chronic cough with low voice, shortness of breath, spontaneous sweating, fatigue, aversion to wind, throat discomfort, dry mouth, pale tongue body, slow and weak pulse. 

Treatment & Formulas: Tonify lung Qi and relieve cough.


    • Ren Shen Yang Rong Tang (Ginseng Nutritive Combination, Item No, 2007): It treats the cough due to the lung and spleen Qi deficiency. 
    • Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang (Ginseng and Astragalus  Combination, Item No. 2225): This tonifies the Middle (spleen and stomach) Qi so as to supply the lung Qi. 
    • Bu Fei E Jiao San (Gelatin & Aristolochia Formula, Item No. 2284): This is the most effective formula for cough due to Lung Qi deficiency with interior fire at same time.