Whooping cough according to Chinese Medicine

pertussis redirects here

Whooping cough 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 whooping cough 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 whooping cough is often associated with palpitations and coughing 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 whooping cough.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of whooping cough 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 whooping cough.

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause whooping cough

In Chinese Medicine whooping cough 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 whooping cough, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-in-the-hypochondrium include palpitations and coughing.

/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 whooping cough, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/lung-yin-deficiency include dry cough 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 whooping cough

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 whooping cough?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-fluids-in-the-hypochondrium' of which pertussis 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 whooping cough?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/lung-yin-deficiency' of which pertussis 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 whooping cough?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/lung-yin-deficiency' of which pertussis 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 whooping cough?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/lung-yin-deficiency' of which pertussis 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 whooping cough?

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

Read more about Jiu Xian San here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat whooping cough

Why might Genkwa Flower (Yuan Hua) help with whooping cough?

Because it is a key herb in Shi Zao Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Fluids in the hypochondrium' (a pattern with whooping cough as a symptom)

Genkwa Flowers is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Kidney, the Large intestine and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Relieves chronic congestion of Fluids in the chest and stops cough. Drains congested Fluids through the urine and the stool. Expels parasites.

Read more about Genkwa Flowers here

Why might Unprepared Rehmannia (Di Huang) help with whooping cough?

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 whooping cough as a symptom)

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 Peking Spurge Root (Jing Da Ji) help with whooping cough?

Because it is a key herb in Shi Zao Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Fluids in the hypochondrium' (a pattern with whooping cough as a symptom)

Peking Spurge Roots is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Spleen, the Kidney and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Drains water downward and drives out Phlegm-Fluids. Reduces swellings and dispels lumps.

Read more about Peking Spurge Roots here

Why might Kansui Root (Gan Sui) help with whooping cough?

Because it is a key herb in Shi Zao Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Fluids in the hypochondrium' (a pattern with whooping cough as a symptom)

Kansui Roots is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Spleen, the Kidney, the Large intestine and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Relieves water retention and congestion of Fluids. Cools swellings and reduces inflammation when applied topically. Strong purgative, driving water and Food Stagnation out though the stool.

Read more about Kansui Roots here

Why might Jujube Date (Da Zao) help with whooping cough?

Because it is a key herb in Shi Zao Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Fluids in the hypochondrium' (a pattern with whooping cough as a symptom)

Jujube Dates is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen and Stomach Qi. Tonifies the Blood. Calms the Shen (spirit). Moderates the actions of other herbs in formula.

Read more about Jujube Dates here