Treating cough is not easy because the
natural health care practitioner needs to be very skillful in their
differentiation of various types of cough. The herbalist needs to be
able to select the right herbs to match the various symptoms of cough.
There is no one magic herb for all types of cough. If you hear that,
then you better be very careful. For example, many people say that
garlic is a good source of anti-bacteria and anti-viral herb. However,
garlic is heaty and is unsuitable to only use it on heaty cough without
some modification to the formula. Therefore, the best natural treatment
for cough will depend on the right selection of herbs to match the
different symptoms presented by the patients.
What Herbs To Use To Cure Different Types Of Cough?
There are many different kinds of cough.
It can be loud or soft, dry and hacking, loose and wet, occasional or
frequent or brassy or croupy. The loudness of a cough is only a measure
of how much energy is being put into the cough.
When coughs are dry and hacking, it
usually means that something is irritating the respiratory tract.
Sometimes the sensory nerves in the mucous membrane lining can't
determine whether the irritation that sets off a cough is caused by the
presence of foreign matter or by the swelling and inflammation of the
mucous membrane. For this kind of cough, the formula must include Yin
tonic herbs in the overall cough formulation.
Coughs that are loose and wet indicate
that mucus is being produced. Mucus that is ejected from the lower
respiratory tract often flips over into the esophagus and gets
swallowed. This is why so many persons with colds and other respiratory
ailments can have diarrhea and vomiting with mucus present. This kind
of symptoms will usually point to the use of mucus or phlegm clearing
herbs. The herbalist may also choose to use some Spleen tonic herbs as
the health of the Spleen has a close connection to the formation of
phlegm according to the theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
When the cough seems loose and ratty from
the chest or upper mid back, this indicates that there is a great deal
of extra mucus in the larger upper part of the breathing apparatus. In
this kind of situation, mucus or phlegm clearing herbs can be used but
the herbalist needs to differentiate if it is cold or heaty mucus or
phlegm. For example, if it is heaty mucus or phlegm, then cold herbs
like qian hu (Hogfennel Root) and chuan bei mu (Fritillaria Bulb) that
clear mucus or phlegm can be used. It is more effective to take chuan
bei mu in its raw form, i.e. make it into powder and take it raw.
In asthmatic and virus-related conditions
in toddlers and infants, a wheezing sound is heard especially on the
exhalation. This indicates that the lower, middle size airways are
blocked bronchioles), reducing the available space for air to pass
through. Extra care must be given to the treatment of cough for
infants. This kind of symptoms presentation is not enough to understand
clearly the condition of the cough. The herbalist will usually ask for
more information before the right herbs can be matched for the
treatment of the cough. One little suggestion here is to use high
quality cod liver oil to boost up the immune system of the infants --
please also note that if the infant is too young, cod liver oil may not
be suitable. Be sure to use the white liquid form of cod liver oil, and
not those in pill forms. If the quality is better, it will work better.
In addition, the color white -- according to Traditional Chinese
Medicine -- will move along the Lung Meridians.
More serious conditions such as pneumonia
are indicated by the deepest lung tissues being filled with fluid,
giving rise to a very soft sound. Again, the herbalist will need more
information to give the right herbs. Remember that the treatment of
cough using natural cure and herbs is very different from using
conventional drugs. We cannot just use the same herbs for everyone who
has pneumonia. Herbs need to be selected carefully according to the
body type of the patient by the skillful herbalist for it to be useful.
A cough may also be signaling lung
infection such as bronchitis or pneumonia. More commonly there is just
continuing phlegm and mucus production in the chest and throat, or
sinuses that irritates the main bronchi and produces a cough. If this
kind of cough is accompanied by internal heat, then the herbalist will
choose heat clearing herbs combined with some herbs that clear phlegm
in the overall formula. Usually, but not always, heat clearing herbs
has anti-bacteria and anti-viral effects as well.
There is the so-called 'psychogenic'
cough. This is considered to be reasonably common in children and to
represent a sort of habit, nervous tic or attention seeking device. The
cough is usually dry, loud ('barking' or 'honking') and explosive, and
recurrent in nature. Many of these psychogenic coughs are actually
allergic in nature and respond to supplements that strengthen the
mucous membranes and deal with the allergy. In this kind of cough, Yin
tonics that move along the Lung Meridian may be recommended along with
high quality cod liver oil -- use the white liquid original cod liver
oil rather than those in pill form. However, cod liver may be
unsuitable to little children who are too small.