Bronchitis according to Chinese Medicine

acute bronchitis, asthmatic bronchitis redirect here

Bronchitis can be the consequence of several so-called “patterns of disharmony” in Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted, leading to symptoms or signs that something is wrong (like bronchitis here). It is similar to the concept of disease in Western Medicine but not quite: a Western disease can often be explained by several Chinese patterns and vice-versa.

A pattern often manifests itself in a combination of symptoms that, at first glance, do not seem necessarily related to each others. For instance here bronchitis is often associated with coughing, palpitations and shortness of breath in the pattern “/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-in-the-hypochondrium”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause bronchitis.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of bronchitis we’ve identified five herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.

We’ve also selected below the five medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat bronchitis.

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause bronchitis

In Chinese Medicine bronchitis is a symptom for 2 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

Kansui Roots (Gan Sui) is the king ingredient for Shi Zao Tang, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-in-the-hypochondrium

Phlegm-Fluids in the hypochondrium

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating

Tongue color: Pale

Tongue shape: Swollen

This is when Phlegm-Fluids clogs up the chest and hypochondriac regions, producing chest pain, cough and shortness of breath.

In addition to bronchitis, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-in-the-hypochondrium include coughing, palpitations and shortness of breath.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-in-the-hypochondrium is often treated with Shi Zao Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Kansui Roots - Gan Sui - as a key herb). Shi Zao Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that drive out excess water", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Purges and drives out Phlegm-Fluids".

Read more about Phlegm-Fluids in the hypochondrium here

The Lungs is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Lungs in Chinese Medicine

Lung Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Empty (Xu), Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

Exterior Heat and Dryness invades the Lungs and exhausts the Body Fluids. It eventually leads to Lung Yin Deficiency, if not intervened for a long time.

In addition to bronchitis, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/lung-yin-deficiency include dry cough, dry throat and insomnia.

From a Western Medicine standpoint /tcm-education-center/patterns/lung-yin-deficiency is associated with health issues such as Absence Of Menstruation.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/lung-yin-deficiency is often treated with Yang Yin Qing Fei Tang, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Unprepared Rehmannia - Di Huang - as a key herb). Yang Yin Qing Fei Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that enrich yin and moisten dryness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Nourishes the Yin".

Read more about Lung Yin Deficiency here

Five herbal formulas that might help with bronchitis

Shi Zao Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Purges and drives out Phlegm-Fluids.

Why might Shi Zao Tang help with bronchitis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-in-the-hypochondrium' of which bronchitis is a symptom.

Read more about Shi Zao Tang here

Yang Yin Qing Fei Tang

Source date: the 18th century

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes the Yin. Improves throat. Resolves toxicity. Clears the Lungs.

Why might Yang Yin Qing Fei Tang help with bronchitis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/lung-yin-deficiency' of which acute bronchitis is a symptom.

Read more about Yang Yin Qing Fei Tang here

Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang

Source date: 1658 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Clears dryness. Moistens the Lungs.

Why might Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang help with bronchitis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/lung-yin-deficiency' of which acute bronchitis is a symptom.

Read more about Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang here

Bu Fei E Jiao Tang

Source date: 1119 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes the Yin. Controls coughing. Stops bleeding. Tonifies the Lungs.

Why might Bu Fei E Jiao Tang help with bronchitis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/lung-yin-deficiency' of which acute bronchitis is a symptom.

Read more about Bu Fei E Jiao Tang here

Jiu Xian San

Source date: Yuan dynasty

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Secures the Lungs. Stops coughing. Augments Qi . Nourishes Yin.

Why might Jiu Xian San help with bronchitis?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/lung-yin-deficiency' of which acute bronchitis is a symptom.

Read more about Jiu Xian San here

Acupuncture points used for bronchitis

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat bronchitis

Why might Mudan Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi) help with bronchitis?

Because Mudan Peony Bark is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat bronchitis as a symptom, like Yang Yin Qing Fei Tang or Ba Wei Di Huang Wan for instance.

Mudan Peony Bark is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Heart, the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Cools the Blood, activates Blood circulation and resolves Blood stasis.

Read more about Mudan Peony Bark here

Why might Cornelian Cherry (Shan Zhu Yu) help with bronchitis?

Because it is a key herb in Ba Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern '' (a pattern with bronchitis as a symptom)

Cornelian Cherries is a Warm herb that tastes Sour. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Preserves and tonifies the Kidney, Liver and Essence. Stops sweating and benefits the Yang and Qi. Assists menstruation and stops bleeding.

Read more about Cornelian Cherries here

Why might Dwarf Lilyturf Root (Mai Dong) help with bronchitis?

Because it is a key herb in Mai Men Dong Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Lung Yin Deficiency' (a pattern with bronchitis as a symptom)

Dwarf Lilyturf Roots is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Lung and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Replenishes Yin Essence and promotes secretions. Lubricates and nourishes the Stomach. Soothes the Lung. Nourishes the Heart.

Read more about Dwarf Lilyturf Roots here

Why might Water Plantain (Ze Xie) help with bronchitis?

Because it is a key herb in Ba Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern '' (a pattern with bronchitis as a symptom)

Water Plantain is a Cold herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Bladder and the Kidney.

Its main actions are: Causes urination and removes Damp-Heat

Read more about Water Plantain here

Why might Ningpo Figwort Root (Xuan Shen) help with bronchitis?

Because it is a key herb in Yang Yin Qing Fei Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Lung Yin Deficiency' (a pattern with bronchitis as a symptom)

Ningpo Figwort Roots is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Large intestine, the Liver and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Expels true or Internal Heat and cools the Blood. Tonifies the Yin. Reduces inflammations and drains Fire toxicity. Reduces hard nodules, especially associated with the lymph.

Read more about Ningpo Figwort Roots here