The information provided here is not a replacement for a doctor. You shouldn't use it for the purpose of self-diagnosing or self-medicating but rather so you can have a more informed discussion with a professional TCM practitioner.
Cough with foul-smelling sputum 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 cough with foul-smelling sputum 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 cough with foul-smelling sputum is often associated with mild chest pain and dry and scaly skin in the pattern “Wind-Heat entering the Lungs”.
Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of cough with foul-smelling sputum we’ve identified that a herbal formula called Wei Jing Tang can help treat the patterns behind the symptom.
In Chinese Medicine cough with foul-smelling sputum is a symptom for the pattern "Wind-Heat entering the Lungs". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.
The Lungs is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Lungs in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua)
Tongue coating: Yellow coating
Tongue color: Red
Wind-Heat entering the Lungs is often treated with Wei Jing Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Common Reed Rhizomes - Lu Gen - as a key herb). Wei Jing Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear internal abscesses and sores", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears heat from the Lungs".
Source date: 627 AD
Number of ingredients: 4 herbs
Key actions: Clears heat from the Lungs. Transforms Phlegm. Drives out Blood-Stagnation. Discharges pus.
Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Wind-Heat entering the Lungs' of which cough with foul-smelling sputum is a symptom.
Its main actions are: Clears Heat and promotes the generation of Fluids. Dispels Lung Heat. Dispels Stomach Heat. Promotes urination and clears Heat in the urinary tract. Calm the minds and stop vomiting.