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Treatment of Cough

In this presentation, I offer a theoretically oriented exposition of the diagnosis and treatment of cough. I begin with a brief outline of the history of cough in Chinese medicine. History Chinese medicine has not, as many people still appear to believe, remained unchanged for eons. It has been undergoing constant development. This can be seen in the realm of cough. The Neijing states, ``The five viscera and six bowels can all cause a person to cough, not just the lung.'' By this statement, the authors of the Neijing were suggesting that although cough is associated with the lung, it can reflect disease in other organs of the body.

The Neijing also said that, ``enduring cough of the five viscera can spread to the six bowels. For example, ``When lung cough persists, the large intestine receives it; the sign of large intestinal cough is coughing that causes loss of stool.'' ``When heart cough persists, the small intestine receives it; the sign of small intestinal cough is coughing that causes the letting of qi (flatus).

``When spleen cough persists, the stomach receives it, and a stomach cough takes the form of cough and vomiting, and with vomiting the expulsion of long worms.'' These ideas, as indeed many others in the Neijing, attracted little interest from later physicians. However, the notion that organs other than the lung may be involved in cough has not been abandoned.

Treatment of Cough