Cough with foul-smelling sputum

TCM Education Center > Symptoms list > Cough with foul-smelling sputum

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.

Wind-Heat entering the Lungs, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause cough with foul-smelling sputum

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

Wind-Heat entering the Lungs

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua)

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

In addition to cough with foul-smelling sputum, other symptoms associated with Wind-Heat entering the Lungs include mild chest pain and dry and scaly skin.

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".

Read more about Wind-Heat entering the Lungs here

A herbal formula that might help with cough with foul-smelling sputum

Wei Jing Tang

Source date: 627 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Clears heat from the Lungs. Transforms Phlegm. Drives out Blood-Stagnation. Discharges pus.

Why might Wei Jing Tang help with cough with foul-smelling sputum?

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.

Other symptoms characteristic of Wind-Heat Entering The Lungs include mild chest pain and dry and scaly skin.

Read more about Wei Jing Tang here

Common reed rhizome might help with cough with foul-smelling sputum

Why might Common Reed Rhizome (Lu Gen) help with cough with foul-smelling sputum?

Because it is a key herb in Wei Jing Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Wind-Heat entering the Lungs' (a pattern with cough with foul-smelling sputum as a symptom)

Common Reed Rhizomes is a Cold herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Stomach and the Lung.

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.

Read more about Common Reed Rhizomes here

Other symptoms often associated with cough with foul-smelling sputum

Mild chest pain Dry and scaly skin