How does Chinese medicine help a persistent cough that you cannot get rid of?

How does Chinese medicine help a persistent cough that you cannot get rid of?

Coughing is a very common health issue treated in our clinic with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture.

A persistent cough can be a major health symptom experienced during any season and it may be especially worse in winter and spring.

In this article, we are going to briefly discuss how Chinese medicine diagnoses and helps chronic and persistent coughs.

1. What is the cause of the cough according to Chinese medicine?

Generally, in traditional Chinese medicine a cough is commonly caused by one of the following reasons:

  • External Pathogenic Factors (EPF) such as wind-cold, wind-heat and dry-heat. This category closely matches coughs caused by the common cold and viral infections.
  • Indigestion due to weakness of the Spleen, Stomach and Liver organs.
  • Weak Lung and Kidney organs (people who have low immunity).
  • Heat (toxins) in the Lungs and Large Intestines.

2. What type of cough do you have?

  • A cough with tickling sensation in the throat accompanied with sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, and headache could be due to External Pathogenic Factors (EPF).
  • A mild cough with a lot of phlegm could be due to indigestion.
  • A prolonged, shallow cough accompanied with frequent urination, shortness of breath, lack of energy and weak immunity (easy to fall sick or catch colds) could be due to Lung and Kidney weakness.
  • Cough with yellow/green phlegm accompanied with constipation, dry skin, bloating could be due to Lung and Large Intestine Heat.

3. How do we find out the type of your cough with traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis?

During the consultation, your practitioner will ask detailed questions related to your cough as well as general questions about your overall internal organ health.

Your practitioner will also take your pulse and observe your tongue using traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis methods.

During your first visit, your practitioner will give you an idea about the cause of your cough and discuss a suitable treatment plan for you.

You will also be given personalised diet and lifestyle advice to help you recover quickly from your cough.

4. General tips to be aware of if you suffer from a chronic cough

Our practitioners are trained to give you more personalised suggestions after diagnosing the cause of your cough, but here are some general suggestions we suggest most people can follow:

  • It is suggested to avoid exposure to wind, you can also wear a scarf to protect yourself.
  • Eat less meat and oily/greasy foods.
  • Avoid hot and spicy foods.
  • Avoid strenuous exercises.

Since winter has arrived in Australia, we hope you keep warm, happy and cough-free this winter season.


Dr Ping Wang is the clinic founder and senior practitioner of Ping Ming Health. She has over 30 years of experience in traditional Chinese medicine teaching and practice. Dr Ping especially enjoys sharing her knowledge of Chinese medicine through our popular clinic articles, seminars and clinical training of students and practitioners.

  • Kimberly Kirkland

    Thanks for sharing!

    22 September, 2017