Coughing with blood-streaked sputum

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Coughing with blood-streaked 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 coughing with blood-streaked 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 coughing with blood-streaked sputum is often associated with dizziness, tinnitus and dry stools in the pattern “Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency”. As you will see below, we have in record five patterns that can cause coughing with blood-streaked sputum.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of coughing with blood-streaked sputum 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 coughing with blood-streaked sputum.

The five "patterns of disharmony" that can cause coughing with blood-streaked sputum

In Chinese Medicine coughing with blood-streaked sputum is a symptom for 5 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency

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

Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

When Yin Deficiency lasts for a long it may lead to Interior Heat

In addition to coughing with blood-streaked sputum, other symptoms associated with Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency include dizziness, tinnitus and dry stools.

Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency is often treated with Qing Hao Bie Jia Tang, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Softshell Turtle Shells - Bie Jia - as a key herb). Qing Hao Bie Jia Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat from deficiency", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Nourishes the Yin".

Read more about Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency here

Water Buffalo Horns (Shui Niu Jiao) is the king ingredient for Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang, a formula used for Loss of Blood

Loss of Blood

In addition to coughing with blood-streaked sputum, other symptoms associated with Loss of Blood include bloody sputum, epistaxis and bloody stools.

Loss of Blood is often treated with Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Water Buffalo Horns - Shui Niu Jiao - as a key herb). Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear nutritive-level heat", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Treats severe fevers and Heat in the Blood system".

Read more about Loss of Blood here

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

Liver Fire Blazing

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian), Full (Shi)

In addition to coughing with blood-streaked sputum, other symptoms associated with Liver Fire Blazing include epistaxis, dizziness and tinnitus.

Liver Fire Blazing is often treated with Long Dan Xie Gan Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Chinese Gentian - Long Dan Cao - as a key herb). Long Dan Xie Gan Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat from the organs", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Heat and Fire from the Liver and Gallbladder".

Read more about Liver Fire Blazing here

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

Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Fire

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian)

In addition to coughing with blood-streaked sputum, other symptoms associated with Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Fire include epistaxis, dizziness and tinnitus.

Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Fire is often treated with Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Saiga Antelope's Horns - Ling Yang Jiao - as a key herb). Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that pacify and extinguish internal wind", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Cools the Liver".

Read more about Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Fire here

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

Lung and Kidney Yin Deficiency with Empty Fire

Pulse type(s): Fine (Xi), Rapid (Shu)

Tongue coating: Partial absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

In addition to coughing with blood-streaked sputum, other symptoms associated with Lung and Kidney Yin Deficiency with Empty Fire include hot palms and soles, night sweats and wheezing.

Lung and Kidney Yin Deficiency with Empty Fire is often treated with Bai He Gu Jin Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Lily Bulbs - Bai He - as a key herb). Bai He Gu Jin Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that nourish yin and tonify", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Nourishes Lung and Kidney Yin".

Read more about Lung and Kidney Yin Deficiency with Empty Fire here

Five herbal formulas that might help with coughing with blood-streaked sputum

Qing Hao Bie Jia Tang

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes the Yin. Clears Heat.

Why might Qing Hao Bie Jia Tang help with coughing with blood-streaked sputum?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency' of which coughing with blood-streaked sputum is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Empty-Heat Or Fire Caused By Yin Deficiency include dizziness, tinnitus and dry stools.

Read more about Qing Hao Bie Jia Tang here

Bai He Gu Jin Tang

Source date: 1573 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Lung and Kidney Yin. Lubricates the Lung and clears phlegm.

Why might Bai He Gu Jin Tang help with coughing with blood-streaked sputum?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Lung and Kidney Yin Deficiency with Empty Fire' of which coughing with blood-streaked sputum is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Lung And Kidney Yin Deficiency With Empty Fire include hot palms and soles, night sweats and wheezing.

Read more about Bai He Gu Jin Tang here

Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang

Source date: 650 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Treats severe fevers and Heat in the Blood system. Removes Blood Stagnation.

Why might Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang help with coughing with blood-streaked sputum?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Loss of Blood' of which coughing with blood-streaked sputum is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Loss Of Blood include bloody sputum, epistaxis and bloody stools.

Read more about Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang here

Long Dan Xie Gan Tang

Source date: 1682 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and Fire from the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears and drains Damp-Heat from the Lower Burner.

Why might Long Dan Xie Gan Tang help with coughing with blood-streaked sputum?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Fire Blazing' of which coughing with blood-streaked sputum is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver Fire Blazing include epistaxis, dizziness and tinnitus.

Read more about Long Dan Xie Gan Tang here

Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang

Source date: Qing dynasty

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Cools the Liver. Extinguishes Wind. Increases Fluids. Relaxes the sinews.

Why might Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang help with coughing with blood-streaked sputum?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Fire' of which coughing with blood-streaked sputum is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver Wind Agitating Internally Due To Liver Fire include epistaxis, dizziness and tinnitus.

Read more about Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang here

Acupuncture points used for coughing with blood-streaked sputum

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat coughing with blood-streaked sputum

Why might Unprepared Rehmannia (Di Huang) help with coughing with blood-streaked sputum?

Because Unprepared Rehmannia is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat coughing with blood-streaked sputum as a symptom, like Qing Hao Bie Jia Tang or Bai He Gu Jin Tang for instance.

Unprepared Rehmannia is a Cold herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Expels Heat by Cooling Blood. Tonifies Yin by promoting Fluid production. Soothes the Heart by calming Blazing Fire. Cools and nourishes.

Read more about Unprepared Rehmannia here

Why might White Peony Root (Bai Shao) help with coughing with blood-streaked sputum?

Because White Peony Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat coughing with blood-streaked sputum as a symptom, like Huang Lian E Jiao Tang or Bai He Gu Jin Tang for instance.

White Peony Roots is a Neutral herb that tastes Bitter and Sour. It targets the Liver and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood and preserves the Yin. Nourishes the Liver and assists in the smooth flow of Qi. Regulates the meridians and eases the pain.

Read more about White Peony Roots here

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with coughing with blood-streaked sputum?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat coughing with blood-streaked sputum as a symptom, like Long Dan Xie Gan Tang or Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang for instance.

Liquorice is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Lung, the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Basal Qi and nourishes the Spleen Qi. Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Moistens the Lungsexpel phlegm and stop coughing. Relieves spasms and alleviates pain. Harmonizes and moderates the effects of other herbs.

Read more about Liquorice here

Why might Cape Jasmine Fruit (Zhi Zi) help with coughing with blood-streaked sputum?

Because Cape Jasmine Fruit is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat coughing with blood-streaked sputum as a symptom, like Long Dan Xie Gan Tang or Dang Gui Long Hui Wan for instance.

Cape Jasmine Fruits is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder, the Heart, the Lung and the Sanjiao.

Its main actions are: Clears Heat and calms spirit. Drains Damp-Heat affecting the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears Heat in the Blood and stops bleeding. Anti-inflammatory.

Read more about Cape Jasmine Fruits here

Why might Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with coughing with blood-streaked sputum?

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat coughing with blood-streaked sputum as a symptom, like Dang Gui Long Hui Wan or Long Dan Xie Gan Tang for instance.

Dong Quai is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Liver and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Lubricates the Intestines. Relieve constipation. Promotes circulation and dispels Bi Pain. Reduce Dysmenorrhea and help with irregular menstruation.

Read more about Dong Quai here

Other symptoms often associated with coughing with blood-streaked sputum

Bloody sputum Epistaxis Dizziness Tinnitus Dry stools Irritability Hot palms and soles Night sweats Anxiety Insomnia