Herbs for Cough, Sore Throat, and Phlegm

Vanessa, 31 from Garner, NC asks me “what is a good herbal expectorant for phlegm? I am having allergic reactions to ?? I am not sure of. However, i seem to have alot of phlegm collecting in my lungs.”

Well Vanessa lets look at this. Phlegm is also called sputum and mucous. In Chinese Medicine phlegm does not really need to be a physical form coughed up from your lungs, but that is another discussion. Typically here is how phlegm develops. Phlegm starts as a form of dampness and then is decocted down into a much thicker substance. Your lungs are naturally a damp place and if that place is heated up and that fluid is cooked you have created some phlegm in there. This is a generalization, but a very common source of getting this phlegm. Now, typically phlegm will be a dark color from the heat. The lighter the color the more heat you have there. Usually you will end up with a more clear runny phlegm, a yellowish is more ‘cool’ but I will go over herbs to cover both of these.

Vanessa wasn’t very descriptive with her condition. So lets cover a nice general condition. Let’s add in a cough that will usually accompany the phlegm, which is your bodies natural instinctive way to expel the phlegm. What we want to do here is get rid of the phlegm by breaking it down and expelling it. We also want to soothe your throat, tonify your lungs and quiet your cough.
I like to use syrups here since we can soothe the throat at the same time and give an application that will coat the area leaving the medicine on the area. An alternative is a smoking mixture where you can use mullien, but lets move on to the syrup.

We want to use an expectorant, in other words something that expels the phlegm out. Comfrey and/or Playcodon are the good herbs here. To quiet the cough we will use the ultra powerful Kuan Dong Hua or Coltsfoot. This herb can be a little pricey but it works very well and tastes/smells wonderful. To compliment and soothe we will use Wild Cherry Bark that will also add some good flavor. I personally would use Lobelia here to open the system up to the treatment.

Gather these herbs and throw them in a stainless steel pot. You want 4oz of herb and add water to the pot to match the height or 500ml would be good. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low heat for over an hour. Keep decocting and cooking down to get a think substance but make sure not to burn anything. You can remove the herbs and throw the water back in and a add a bit of Slippery Elm pre-mixed with a little water and add it in there. This will thicken the decoction, but don’t add too much it will get slimy. After this add honey and or glycerin to the decoction to thicken.

1-3 teaspoons of this mixture as needed should do a great job to our condition here. Should you rather buy this ready to take, Dimmak Herbs Cough Herbal Remedies also sells a cough syrup that is similar to the formula I talked about and works great (go under products and its under ‘syrups’). I feel a nice tingle in my throat and fast relief. On a final note your concoction should be kept refrigerated. This should now last you about 3-6 months.

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