Foods Recommended in Traditional Chinese Medicine to Treat a Cough

Stewed pears

Stewed pears with crystal sugar can treat a dry cough. (Image: via Epoch Times)

According to traditional Chinese medicine, a cough is caused by external factors and can be classified into three categories — a cold cough, a flu cough, and a dry cough.

If the coating on your tongue is white, it is a cold cough, which is accompanied by a runny nose with nasal congestion and white phlegm. In this case, warm foods that can reduce sputum and relieve a cough are recommended.

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If the coating on your tongue is yellowish or red, this is a flu cough, accompanied by manifestations of inner heat with a fever, a runny nose, and a sore throat with yellowish phlegm that is hard to clear. In this case, foods that can clear the lungs and reduce sputum are recommended.

If the cough is dry without any sputum, it is frequently caused by the changing seasons. For instance, in early autumn, you may feel that your throat and nasal cavity are dry and cannot be relieved by simply drinking water. In such cases, foods nourishing your body fluids are recommended.

Here are three recipes to treat a cough in traditional Chinese medicine:

Ginger soup flavored with brown sugar for a cold cough

Usually, medicines with warm properties are effective for treating illnesses in the cold category. Ginger is pungent in flavor and warm in property, which can reduce sputum in a cold cough. Ginger soup mixed with brown sugar can warm the stomach and trigger perspiration, which is effective for relieving a cold, fever, headache, nausea, bloating, and stomachache.

Materials: 3-5 slices of fresh ginger (unpeeled), brown sugar

Method: Boil the materials and drink the soup 1-2 times each day when the soup is hot

It is better to cook the ginger rather than soak it in hot water because the properties in the ginger can be better released. Make sure not to peel the ginger because the peel also has beneficial properties. Brown sugar can be deleted if you do not mind the strong taste of the soup.

Baked tangerines for a flu cough

Tangerines have cold properties that can relieve the heat associated with a flu cough.

Materials: tangerine, salt


  1. Wash the tangerine without peeling it
  2. Soak in boiling water for 5-10 minutes
  3. Remove the base of the tangerine with a knife and dig out the stem hole
  4. Fill the hole with salt
  5. Wrap the tangerine with foil paper and bake it in an oven at a low temperature of 113°F (45°C) for 5-10 minutes, peel the tangerine before eating
Baked tangerines can be used to treat an antipyretic cough. (Image: Epoch Times / Video Screenshot)

Pear steamed with crystal sugar for a dry cough

A dry cough can be relieved by cultivating body fluid and nourishing the lung.

Materials: pear, crystal sugar


  1. Wash the pear and cut it into halves down the middle
  2. Core the stem and fill the hole with crystal sugar
  3. Combine the two halves back together, fix with toothpicks, and put into a bowl
  4. Put the bowl into a bamboo steamer for 30-60 minutes
  5. Eat the pear together with the juice in the bowl

Translated by Audrey

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