Root Causes of Asthma in TCM

Explore below more details about what might cause Asthma according to TCM.

  • By Syndrome
  • By Organ
  • Lung
  • Kidney
  • Liver
Detailed description of the cause

Phlegm

In TCM "Phlegm" as a pattern of disharmony is a complex concept that extends beyond the physical manifestation of mucus. It represents a pathological factor that can disrupt the flow of Qi (vital energy) and blood, leading to various health issues. Phlegm in TCM is seen as a sticky, turbid substance arising from the body's inability to metabolize fluids properly, often due to a dysfunction of the spleen. It's not only associated with respiratory problems like cough and congestion but also with systemic issues. Symptoms can include a feeling of heaviness, mental cloudiness, dizziness, and in some cases, the formation of lumps or masses. Phlegm can even be "invisible," contributing to emotional disturbances like depression or stress. ... see more

Phlegm Patterns That Can Lead to Asthma

Common Symptoms: Coughing Stifling Sensation In The Chest Wheezing Dizziness Sputum Shortness Of Breath Feeling Of Heaviness Profuse White Sputum

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Damp-Phlegm in the Lungs Asthma, Coughing, Pale face, Sputum, Stifling sensation in the chest, Shortness of breath, Discomfort when lying down, Wheezing, Nausea, Feeling of heaviness, Dizziness, Profuse white sputum, Chest distension... see more Er Chen Tang
Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm Asthma, Coughing, Edema, Feeling of oppression of the chest, Dizziness, Profuse white sputum... see more Xiao Qing Long Tang | Ling Gan Wu Wei Jiang Xin Tang
Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs Asthma, Coughing, Shortness of breath, Wheezing, Stifling sensation in the chest, Sputum, Feeling hot, Thirst, Head and body heaviness, Dizziness, Copious thick yellow sputum... see more Er Chen Tang | Ren Shen Ge Jie San | Wen Dan Tang | Qing Qi Hua Tan Wan | Ma Xing Shi Gan Tang | Qing Xin Li Ge Tang | Pi Pa Qing Fei Yin
Detailed description of the cause

Yang Deficiency

Yang deficiency in TCM refers to a state where the body's Yang energy, which is responsible for warmth, activity, and function, is weakened or diminished. This pattern of disharmony often arises from chronic illness, aging, or inherent constitutional weakness. Symptoms of Yang deficiency are typically associated with cold and sluggishness, such as a feeling of coldness, cold extremities, pale complexion, low energy or fatigue, and a desire for warmth. Digestive issues like poor appetite, loose stools, and water retention can also be indicative of Yang deficiency.... see more

Yang Deficiency Patterns That Can Lead to Asthma

Common Symptoms: Chills Coughing Edema Of The Lower Extremities Lower Back Pain Dizziness Tinnitus Weak And Cold Knees Lower Back Coldness

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Kidney Yang Deficiency Asthma, Lower back pain, Dizziness, Tinnitus, Weak and cold knees, Lower back coldness, Chills, Weak legs, Bright pale face, Generalized fatigue, General weakness, Leg edema, Female infertility, Diarrhea, Depression, Erectile dysfunction, Premature ejaculation, Oligospermia, Low sex drive, Pale and abudant urination... see more Ba Wei Di Huang Wan
Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing Asthma, Edema of the lower extremities, Cold sensation in legs and back, Abdominal distention, Lumbar pain, Chills, Scanty clear urination, Palpitations, Shortness of breath, Cold hands, White and watery sputum, Coughing... see more Wu Ling San | Ji Sheng Shen Qi Wan
Detailed description of the cause

Qi Rebellion

Rebellious Qi in TCM is a bit like having a rebel inside your body. Qi, which is the vital energy flowing through your body, is supposed to move in certain directions to keep everything in balance and working well. But with Rebellious Qi, this energy decides to go the opposite way. Think of it like a river flowing upstream instead of downstream. This can cause various issues like heartburn, coughing, or even headaches. It's as if the body's natural flow is disrupted, creating a kind of internal chaos. TCM focuses on correcting this flow, restoring order and balance.... see more

Qi Rebellion Patterns That Can Lead to Asthma

Common Symptoms: Coughing Nausea Vomit Headaches Dizziness Loss Of Consciousness Vomiting Blood Hiccups

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Rebellious Lung Qi Asthma, Coughing, Nausea, Vomit, Dizziness, Headaches, Loss of consciousness Jin Fei Cao San | Su Zi Jiang Qi Tang
Rebellious Qi Asthma, Hiccups, Belching, Nausea, Vomit, Coughing Su Zi Jiang Qi Tang | Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang | Ju Pi Zhu Ru Tang | Chai Hu Shu Gan San | Si Ni San
Detailed description of the cause

Dampness

"Dampness" in TCM is a concept that describes a pattern of disharmony where the body accumulates excess moisture. Imagine the heavy, sticky feeling you get on a very humid day; that's similar to what dampness feels like internally. It can manifest as a sense of heaviness, bloating, sluggishness, or even a foggy mind. This condition is often thought to arise from environmental factors like living in a damp place, dietary habits that promote moisture in the body, or internal imbalances that hinder the body's ability to process fluids properly. In TCM, dampness can obstruct the normal flow of energy and fluids in the body, leading to various symptoms.... see more

Dampness Patterns That Can Lead to Asthma

Common Symptoms: Coughing Shortness Of Breath Pale Face Sputum Stifling Sensation In The Chest Discomfort When Lying Down Wheezing Nausea

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Damp-Phlegm in the Lungs Asthma, Coughing, Pale face, Sputum, Stifling sensation in the chest, Shortness of breath, Discomfort when lying down, Wheezing, Nausea, Feeling of heaviness, Dizziness, Profuse white sputum, Chest distension... see more Er Chen Tang
Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing Asthma, Edema of the lower extremities, Cold sensation in legs and back, Abdominal distention, Lumbar pain, Chills, Scanty clear urination, Palpitations, Shortness of breath, Cold hands, White and watery sputum, Coughing... see more Wu Ling San | Ji Sheng Shen Qi Wan
Detailed description of the cause

Heat

In TCM "Heat" signifies an excess of Yang energy, leading to an imbalance where heat predominates over the body's cool Yin aspects. This condition is metaphorically akin to an internal over-heating. Symptoms indicative of Heat can include feelings of warmth, fever, sweating, irritability, red face, thirst with a preference for cold drinks, and a rapid pulse. The tongue may appear red with a yellow coating. Unlike the common interpretation of heat in terms of temperature, in TCM, it represents a state of hyperactivity or inflammation in the body.... see more

Heat Patterns That Can Lead to Asthma

Common Symptoms: Shortness Of Breath Dizziness Thirst Bitter Taste In The Mouth Constipation Hypochondriac Pain And Discomfort Cough With Yellow Or Blood Tinged Sputum Headaches

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Liver Fire insulting the Lungs Asthma, Shortness of breath, Hypochondriac pain and discomfort, Cough with yellow or blood tinged sputum, Headaches, Dizziness, Flushed face, Thirst, Bitter taste in the mouth, Eye hyperemia, Scanty and dark urine, Constipation... see more Long Dan Xie Gan Tang | Ke Xie Fang
Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs Asthma, Coughing, Shortness of breath, Wheezing, Stifling sensation in the chest, Sputum, Feeling hot, Thirst, Head and body heaviness, Dizziness, Copious thick yellow sputum... see more Er Chen Tang | Ren Shen Ge Jie San | Wen Dan Tang | Qing Qi Hua Tan Wan | Ma Xing Shi Gan Tang | Qing Xin Li Ge Tang | Pi Pa Qing Fei Yin
Detailed description of the cause

Lung

In TCM the Lungs are seen as the organ responsible for controlling Qi and respiration, as well as being a key part of the body's defensive system. They are thought to maintain the balance and flow of air and moisture, and are closely linked to the skin and hair. When the Lungs are imbalanced or malfunctioning in TCM, it can lead to respiratory issues like coughing or asthma, a weakened immune system, dry skin, and emotional disturbances such as sadness or grief. These symptoms are believed to arise from disruptions in the Lungs' ability to regulate Qi and protect the body, highlighting their central role in maintaining overall health and well-being.... see more

Lung Patterns That Can Lead to Asthma

Common Symptoms: Dizziness Coughing Shortness Of Breath Sputum Stifling Sensation In The Chest Wheezing Nausea Chest Distension

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Damp-Phlegm in the Lungs Asthma, Coughing, Pale face, Sputum, Stifling sensation in the chest, Shortness of breath, Discomfort when lying down, Wheezing, Nausea, Feeling of heaviness, Dizziness, Profuse white sputum, Chest distension... see more Er Chen Tang
Liver Fire insulting the Lungs Asthma, Shortness of breath, Hypochondriac pain and discomfort, Cough with yellow or blood tinged sputum, Headaches, Dizziness, Flushed face, Thirst, Bitter taste in the mouth, Eye hyperemia, Scanty and dark urine, Constipation... see more Long Dan Xie Gan Tang | Ke Xie Fang
Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs Asthma, Coughing, Shortness of breath, Wheezing, Stifling sensation in the chest, Sputum, Feeling hot, Thirst, Head and body heaviness, Dizziness, Copious thick yellow sputum... see more Er Chen Tang | Ren Shen Ge Jie San | Wen Dan Tang | Qing Qi Hua Tan Wan | Ma Xing Shi Gan Tang | Qing Xin Li Ge Tang | Pi Pa Qing Fei Yin
Rebellious Lung Qi Asthma, Coughing, Nausea, Vomit, Dizziness, Headaches, Loss of consciousness Jin Fei Cao San | Su Zi Jiang Qi Tang
Detailed description of the cause

Kidney

In TCM the Kidneys are regarded as the body's most fundamental reservoir of Essence, known as Jing, which influences growth, reproduction, and aging. They are not just organs for filtering blood, but a holistic system governing vital life forces. When the Kidneys malfunction in TCM, it can manifest as a variety of health issues, such as chronic fatigue, reproductive problems, imbalances in fluid metabolism leading to edema or dryness, lower back pain, and a sense of fear or insecurity.... see more

Kidney Patterns That Can Lead to Asthma

Common Symptoms: Lower Back Pain Dizziness Tinnitus Chills Cold Extremities Coughing Edema Of The Lower Extremities Weak And Cold Knees

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Kidney Yang Deficiency Asthma, Lower back pain, Dizziness, Tinnitus, Weak and cold knees, Lower back coldness, Chills, Weak legs, Bright pale face, Generalized fatigue, General weakness, Leg edema, Female infertility, Diarrhea, Depression, Erectile dysfunction, Premature ejaculation, Oligospermia, Low sex drive, Pale and abudant urination... see more Ba Wei Di Huang Wan
Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing Asthma, Edema of the lower extremities, Cold sensation in legs and back, Abdominal distention, Lumbar pain, Chills, Scanty clear urination, Palpitations, Shortness of breath, Cold hands, White and watery sputum, Coughing... see more Wu Ling San | Ji Sheng Shen Qi Wan
Kidneys failing to receive Qi Asthma, Exertional dyspnea, Rapid respiration, Weak respiratory, Difficulty breathing in, Chronic coughing, Spontaneous sweat, Cold extremities, Facial edema, Emaciation, Low energy, Lower back pain, Dizziness, Tinnitus, Clear urination... see more You Gui Wan | Su Zi Jiang Qi Tang | Ren Shen Ge Jie San
Detailed description of the cause

Liver

In TCM the Liver is viewed as the organ responsible for the smooth flow of Qi, Blood, and emotions throughout the body. It plays a key role in regulating mood, storing blood, supporting digestion, and ensuring the health of tendons and eyes. When the Liver malfunctions or is imbalanced in TCM, it can lead to a range of issues such as irritability, mood swings, menstrual irregularities, eye problems, and muscular stiffness or pain. A malfunctioning Liver in TCM reflects not only physical disturbances but also emotional and mental disharmony, emphasizing the holistic approach of TCM in addressing health and wellness.... see more

Liver Patterns That Can Lead to Asthma

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Liver Fire insulting the Lungs Asthma, Shortness of breath, Hypochondriac pain and discomfort, Cough with yellow or blood tinged sputum, Headaches, Dizziness, Flushed face, Thirst, Bitter taste in the mouth, Eye hyperemia, Scanty and dark urine, Constipation... see more Long Dan Xie Gan Tang | Ke Xie Fang

TCM Herbal Formulas for Asthma

Explore below some TCM herbal formulas used to address asthma, organized by cause and by formula type.

  • By Cause
  • By Formula Type
  • Formulas that clear wind-Cold
  • Formulas for a rebellious qi
  • Formulas that tonify qi
  • Formulas that dry dampness and transform phlegm
  • Formulas that warm yang and tonify
  • Formulas that clear heat and transform phlegm
  • Formulas that nourish yin and tonify
  • Formulas that clear heat from the organs
  • Formulas that warm and transform phlegm-Cold
  • Formulas that clear internal abscesses and sores
  • Formulas that promote qi movement
  • Formulas that purge heat accumulation
  • Formulas that secure lungs and stop coughing
  • Formulas that promote urination and leach out dampness
  • Formulas that clear heat and expel dampness
  • Formulas that warm and transform water and dampness
  • Formulas that stop bleeding
  • Formulas that enrich yin and moisten dryness
  • Formulas that clear lung-Heat
  • Formulas that disperse dryness and moisten
  • Formulas that harmonize liver-Spleen
  • Formulas that dispel phlegm
  • Formulas that clear exterior disorders with interior deficiency
  • Formulas that harmonize lesser yang-warp disorders

All Formulas Recommended for Asthma Caused by Phlegm

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Er Chen Tang Damp-Phlegm in the Lungs, Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs
Ren Shen Ge Jie San Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs
Xiao Qing Long Tang Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm
Ling Gan Wu Wei Jiang Xin Tang Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm
Wen Dan Tang Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs
Qing Qi Hua Tan Wan Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs
Ma Xing Shi Gan Tang Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs
Qing Xin Li Ge Tang Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs
Pi Pa Qing Fei Yin Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs

All Formulas Recommended for Asthma Caused by Yang Deficiency

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Ba Wei Di Huang Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency
Wu Ling San Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing
Ji Sheng Shen Qi Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing

All Formulas Recommended for Asthma Caused by Qi Rebellion

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Su Zi Jiang Qi Tang Rebellious Lung Qi, Rebellious Qi
Jin Fei Cao San Rebellious Lung Qi
Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang Rebellious Qi
Ju Pi Zhu Ru Tang Rebellious Qi
Chai Hu Shu Gan San Rebellious Qi
Si Ni San Rebellious Qi

All Formulas Recommended for Asthma Caused by Dampness

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Er Chen Tang Damp-Phlegm in the Lungs
Wu Ling San Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing
Ji Sheng Shen Qi Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing

All Formulas Recommended for Asthma Caused by Heat

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Er Chen Tang Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs
Ren Shen Ge Jie San Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs
Long Dan Xie Gan Tang Liver Fire insulting the Lungs
Ke Xie Fang Liver Fire insulting the Lungs
Wen Dan Tang Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs
Qing Qi Hua Tan Wan Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs
Ma Xing Shi Gan Tang Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs
Qing Xin Li Ge Tang Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs
Pi Pa Qing Fei Yin Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs

All "formulas for a rebellious qi" recommended for asthma

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Su Zi Jiang Qi Tang Kidneys failing to receive Qi, Rebellious Lung Qi, Rebellious Qi
Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang Rebellious Qi
Ju Pi Zhu Ru Tang Rebellious Qi
Ding Chuan Tang Not applicable

All "formulas that clear wind-Cold" recommended for asthma

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Jin Fei Cao San Rebellious Lung Qi
Xiao Qing Long Tang Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm
Gui Zhi Tang Not applicable
Ma Huang Tang Not applicable
Da Qing Long Tang Not applicable

All "formulas that tonify qi" recommended for asthma

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Ren Shen Ge Jie San Kidneys failing to receive Qi, Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs
Bu Fei Tang Not applicable
Yu Ping Feng San Not applicable

All "formulas that dry dampness and transform phlegm" recommended for asthma

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Er Chen Tang Damp-Phlegm in the Lungs, Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs
Wen Dan Tang Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs
Huang Lian Wen Dan Tang Not applicable

All "formulas that warm yang and tonify" recommended for asthma

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Ji Sheng Shen Qi Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing
You Gui Wan Kidneys failing to receive Qi
Shen Qi Wan Not applicable

All "formulas that clear heat from the organs" recommended for asthma

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Long Dan Xie Gan Tang Liver Fire insulting the Lungs
Ma Xing Shi Gan Tang Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs

All "formulas that clear heat and transform phlegm" recommended for asthma

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Qing Qi Hua Tan Wan Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs
Xiao Xian Xiong Tang Not applicable
Gun Tan Wan Not applicable

All "formulas that nourish yin and tonify" recommended for asthma

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Ba Wei Di Huang Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency
Bai He Gu Jin Tang Not applicable

All "formulas that warm and transform phlegm-Cold" recommended for asthma

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Ling Gan Wu Wei Jiang Xin Tang Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm
San Zi Yang Qin Tang Not applicable

All "formulas that clear internal abscesses and sores" recommended for asthma

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Qing Xin Li Ge Tang Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs
Wei Jing Tang Not applicable

All "formulas that promote qi movement" recommended for asthma

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Chai Hu Shu Gan San Rebellious Qi
Si Mo Tang Not applicable

Acupoints for Asthma

Explore below some acupoints used to address asthma, organized by meridian.

  • By Meridian
  • Stomach Channel
  • Kidney Channel
  • Governing Vessel
  • Bladder Channel
  • Extra Points: Back (EX-B)
  • Large Intestine Channel
  • Directing Vessel
  • Gall Bladder Channel
Quepen ST-12

Quepen ST-12

About 4 cun lateral to the anterior midline, in the supraclavicular fossa, superior to the midpoint of the clavicle.

Qihu ST-13

Qihu ST-13

About 4 cun lateral to the anterior midline, below the midpoint of the clavicle.

Shangjuxu ST-37

Shangjuxu ST-37

6 cun below Dubi ST-35, on finger-breadth from the anterior crest of the tibia.

Fenglong ST-40

Fenglong ST-40

Midway between Dubi ST-35 and Jiexi ST-41, two middle finger-width from the anterior crest of the tibia, or one middle finger-width from Tiaokou ST-38.

Qixue KID-13

Qixue KID-13

3 cun below the umbilicus, 0.5 cun lateral to the anterior midline.

Bulang KID-22

Bulang KID-22

In the 5th intercostal space, 2 cun lateral to the anterior midline.

Yuzhong KID-26

Yuzhong KID-26

In the 1st intercostal space, 2 cun lateral to the anterior midline.

Lingtai DU-10

Lingtai DU-10

On the back midline, in the depression below the spinous process of the 6th thoracic vertebra (T6).

Shenzhu DU-12

Shenzhu DU-12

On the back midline, in the depression below the spinous process of the 3th thoracic vertebra (T3).

Shenshu BL-23

Shenshu BL-23

1.5 cun lateral to the lower border of the spinous process of the 2nd lumber vertebra (L2).

Pohu BL-42

Pohu BL-42

3 cun (about 4 finger-breadths) lateral to the lower border of the spinous process of the 3rd thoracic vertebra (T3).

Dingchuan EX-B-1

Dingchuan EX-B-1

0.5 cun lateral to the lower border of the spinous process of the 7th cervical vertebra (C7).

Hegu LI-4

Hegu LI-4

Between the 1st and 2nd metacarpal bones, approximately in the middle of the 2nd metacarpal bone on the radial side.

Huagai REN-20

Huagai REN-20

On the midline of the chest, on the level of the 1st intercostal space.

Zhejin GB-23

Zhejin GB-23

1 cun anterior to Yuanye GB-22, approximately level with the nipple.