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Can’t stop that cough?

Lately I’ve been treating a lot of coughs. Part of the reason is springtime allergies. Part is as a leftover symptom from a winter cold. But, not all coughs are season-dependant. I found this great article for 8 possible reasons for your chronic cough: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20358279,00.html

So, what can you do if you have a cough that won’t go away? TCM has a variety of solutions.

1. Chinese herbs. Yes, they can taste awful, but to borrow from Buckley’s “It tastes bad and it works.” The key to a successful Chinese herbal prescription is a proper TCM diagnosis. We need to determine if that cough is because of “Phlegm-Heat”, “Phlegm-Cold”, “Wind-Heat”, “Wind-Dryness”, or other. Each of these coughs requires a different selection of herbs. It matters if that cough is accompanied by phlegm; if so, what colour is that phlegm, how much of it, and how easy is it to cough up; when the cough happens most; what the sound of the cough is like; what happened to start the cough; what other symptoms there are; and so on.

2. Acupuncture. Once again, the TCM diagnosis needs to be determined, but there are some acupuncture points that will be shared across all patterns of imbalance for a cough. I have had patients come in unable to stop coughing and once we do some needles, that cough stops.

3. TCM food cures. Some foods will produce more phlegm. Some foods will irritate the throat and lungs. Some foods will stress the immune system.We obviously want to choose foods that don’t fit into those categories when you are suffering from a chronic cough (or acute cough, for that matter).

4. Lifestyle stuff. If your cough is caused by GERD, i.e. gastroesophageal reflux disease–one symptom of which is heartburn, you will want to consider your diet and stress levels. Lack of sleep can affect the immune system and your body’s ability to heal an irritated respiratory system.

Have a cough? Ask me questions. I’m happy to help.

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