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Chinese Medicine for Cough

Chinese Medicine for Cough

Herbs for Cough

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your own physician or another medical professional. We make no claim as to efficacy or safety of herbs for cough or herbal medicine appearing on this site. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Herbal Cough Medicines 

Which Herbs for Cough Work Best 

Safety of Chinese Cough Medicine


Dry Cough, Wet Cough, Whooping Cough, Croup, What are the Symptoms and Diagnosis of a cough according to traditional Chinese medicine?

Chinese medicine considers coughing a form of rebellious qi. Qi is a general term referring to the body’s vital energy. The lungs are called the umbrella organ, in that they protect the interior from invasive pathogens, like viruses, bacteria, molds, etc. The lung qi normally descends in order to nourish the other organs with oxygen. Coughing means that the lung qi is going in the wrong direction. The body is intelligent, so the act of coughing is a sign that the lungs are reacting logically to an abnormal event. This event can be an external invasion or an internal disharmony that has affected the function or structure of the lungs. Coughs that are reactions to pathogenic invasions are reacting to these irritants or trying to expel them. These conditions are called either Wind Cold or Wind Heat invasions and are considered superficial in nature. Coughs due to colds, flu, whooping cough, tuberculosis, croup, etc. are examples of Wind Cold or Wind Heat coughs. These are treated with particular herbs for cough which are designed to Expell Wind or treat surface conditions. Such cough medicine may also contain herbs that subdue viral, bacterial, or fungal infections. Formulas and products for these coughs will be listed in this article.


Coughs resulting from internal disharmonies, such as asthma, emphysema, lung cancer, drug reactions, etc. are treated with a different type of cough medicine, consisting of herbs to relieve a cough, combined with herbs for cough that address the particular disharmony. This article does not offer formulations or prepared cough medicine for internal disharmony. This kind of cough medicine is best created by a professional Chinese herbalist who can diagnose the condition according to the principles of Chinese medicine.


Which Chinese cough medicine, cough remedy, cough drops and cough syrups are right for your cough?

If you know your cough is caused by a cold or other invasive disease, the following cough medicines may be appropriate.

If your cough exists at the onset of an upper respiratory infection, a cough medicine like Sang Ju Yin pills may help because it contains several antiviral herbs for cough. This cough medicine can be useful for both dry coughs and productive coughs. It is most useful for coughing at the beginning of a cold or flu. To improve the results combine it with Hsiao Ke Chuan Cough Pills or Hsiao Ke Chuan cough syrup.

If a cough is very phlegmy or phlegm is thick or difficult to expectorate add Fritillaria Expectorant Pills. If the phlegm is clear or white use Qing Qi Hua Tan Wan. Both may be taken simultaneously when phlegm color varies.

A dry cough that follows an upper respiratory infection is likely caused by lung dryness and irritation of the respiratory system. The body exhausts the lung qi and lung yin (fluids) when fighting the infection. This kind of cough can be impossible to treat with Western medicine and can persist for weeks, months, or longer. Dry Cough Pills is a cough medicine that can often remedy these coughs in a few days. Cough syrups and cough drops made with honey or loquat can also help to soothe a dry cough.

Safety Of Herbs for Cough

Natural Chinese herbal cough medicine is safe and effective alternative to western cough medicine.  However, false rumors, ignorant press, and pharmaceutical industry propaganda have made some nervous about the purity and safety of Chinese herbal medicine. Don’t be fooled. Though bad medicine can exist, rest assured that all cough medicine recommended on this page are safe for toddlers, children and adults when dosed correctly. Infants under one year of age should not be given cough or other products made with honey, because of the risk of infant botulism.


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