Cough - Acupuncture can help

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Millwoods Acupuncture Center
102, 2603 Hewes Way
Edmonton AB,   Canada

Phone: (780) 466-8683




Cough means something wrong in the lung system, both in the western medicine or in the Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). In TCM, we know that the lung works as a bell. It means that any stimulation from out of the body, or from inside of the body, can beat the “bell” to cause “ring” (cough). The cough is just as the ringing of the bell. It also means that the diagnosis of cough is complex in TCM, so the treatment is also very different.

However, here we introduce some tips used in China by ordinary people, if the cough is not long time, or not so sever, or without heavy phlegm.

(1). Mustard (Jie Chai) and ginger soup

Material: fresh mustard, 80g; fresh ginger, 10g; salt, little.

Preparation: Wash the mustard and ginger, chop into pieces. Add into water 2000 ml to boil until 1000 ml left. Add little salt (as cooking food).

How to use: This is one-day dose. Drink the soup twice a day. Repeat for three days. This formula is suitable for those who has cough with headache and puffy nose, sour feelings on legs or arms, e.g. Cold type of cough.

(2). Turnip (Bai Luo Pu) and Allius soup

Material: Turnip (white color radish), one; Allius, 6 stems; fresh ginger, 15g.

Preparation: Wash and chop the turnip into pieces, cook in boil water (about 1000 ml) until it is editable. Add the allius and ginger in, continue to cook until there is about 300 ml left.

How to use: Drink the soup and eat the turnip all once.

This formula is good for Cold type common cold. People feels chilly, cough with white color phlegm, with or without sour in whole body.  



(3). Brown sugar, ginger and Chinese date soup

Material: Brown sugar, 30g; fresh ginger, 15g; Chinese date (you can get it in superstore), 30g.

Preparation: Add all of the material into 1000 ml water. Bring to boil for 30 min. 

How to use: Drink the soup all once. It is better to have mild sweat after drinking.

This formula is good for Cold type common cold. It is also good for sharp pain in stomach. Diarrhea in women after birth giving or nausea during pregnancy.

(4). Fresh horse milk

Material:  Fresh horse milk, 300 ml; white sugar, little. 

Preparation: Bring the horse milk to boil, add little sugar. 

How to use: Drink the milk.

This formula is good for Fire-type cough. People feel fever (no chilly or cold) with little dry or thirsty in mouth. The phlegm might be little yellow in color and wish to drink little cold water. The fresh horse milk should be easy to get in the farm here in Alberta area.

(5). Chicken egg and sugar soup

Material:  Egg, 1; white sugar, 50g; fresh ginger juice, 5 ml;  

Preparation: Broken the egg and stirring. Add the white sugar into 200 ml boiled water. Add the sugar water into the egg, stirring. Add the fresh ginger juice and mix.

How to use: this is one-day dose. Drink the soup twice a day.

This formula is suitable for long term cough without lots of phlegm.

(6). Sesame and rock sugar

Material:  sesame, 15g; rock sugar 10g.

Preparation: Add the sesame and the sugar into bowl. Mix with boiled water 200 ml.

How to use: this is one-day dose. Drink the soup twice a day.

This formula is good for the cough, which comes mostly at night without phlegm.

(7). White pear and honey

Material: White pear (bigger one), one; honey 50g.

Preparation: Cut the pear into two pieces. Remove the kennel. Add the honey into the hole. Steam over boiling water for 20 min.

How to use: Eat the pear and honey.


(8). Peanut and honey soup

Material: peanut, 30g; Chinese date, 30g; honey, 30g.

Preparation: Add into 200 ml water. Mix and bring to boil for 20 min.

How to use: This is one-day dose. Eat and drink the soup, twice a day.

Note: this formula is suitable for cough with phlegm. You can also eat peanut in a regular way. The peanuts should be water cooked, or dry-fried.

Note: as it is mentioned above, there could be many reasons responsible for the cough. If you have tried the above tips but no any improvement, you are recommended to visit your professional TCM doctor.

If it is due to various common cold caused by something out of the body (that we call it Xie-qi), we should solve the common cold. Depending on the kind of the common cold, e.g. wind-cold, wind-fire, or summer-hot, or dryness, the treatment should focus on the correction of the common cold. Quite normally, when we do this way, the cough will disappear along with other symptoms, such as headache, stiff nose, sour throat, chilly feeling or sour muscle all over the body. In another words, the cough accompanied with other symptoms during a common cold is not so hard to stop.

Cough can also be caused by the disorders due to other organ system, such as the Heart system, the Spleen system, the Liver system, and the Kidney system (all are the TCM concept). Pay attention to the correction of the disorders in these systems are very important. However, it is not always so easy to identify the exact cause, or the initial reasons for the cough too. For people with long term cough, they may have one or more disorders in the body, all of which may cause the cough or make the original cough worse. The cough, the disorder in the Lung system can also make the disorders in other systems worse too. Therefore the clinic conditions could very complex and the treatment is hard too. This is the time to check the clinic skill of a doctor. In such cases, we have to use more therapies for the treatment, such as herbal therapy, acupuncture, moxi, and others.


As a non-medical profession, you can also do some other things to improve the cough condition, such as an acupressure or a tui-na massage on the meridian. The most commonly used meridian is the Lung meridian and the Large intestine meridian. They are on your front arm. If the cough is due to the common cold, you massage or squeeze from the wrist to the elbow direction several times, otherwise, if you do not know the reason for the cough, massage or squeeze from the elbow to the wrist direction.


You can also try the suction cupping therapy. The position to put your suction cup is the same as we recommend you for the treatment of common cold. Basically you can put the suction cup on the upper back of the body, on and beside the spine line. Repeat once a day, you should feel difference.