Cough, phelgm and sputum


Does anyone know of a good home remedy for cough and phelgm?

I’m having this nasty cough that just won’t go away for 3-4 weeks now. Its disturbing my sleep.

I’m always confused about the Chinese believe of heaty vs cooling. There is supposed to be two types of coughs, the heaty type or the “cold” type. So when do you know what type you have and whether you should drink “leong cha” (cooling herbal drinks) to cool down your heaty body or when should you apply it the other way to balance your cold body?

I never know when to do what. Some doctors will tell me to stay off cooling drinks and fruits, some ask me to drink more “leong cha” whereas some brush this off as utter nonsense.

Some say you should take a course of antibiotics whereas some say you should avoid antibiotics if you can since antibiotics will not help a viral infection. Some prescribe antibiotics anyway, just in case it is a bacterial infection because they can’t tell what it is. The last doc I went to see told me this. “It will take too much time to take samples to the lab to decide if yours is a viral infection by which time you would have healed if you take this antibiotics just in case its a bacterial infection.”

So what am I to do? Its all very confusing. So if mine is a “cold” cough and I take “leong cha” I would actually be making it worse, not better. Hmm…. so how?

What do you know about coughs, phelgm and sputum? Do you know of any good  and simple home remedies? What foods should we avoid and what foods should we take that’ll help? Do you understand the cooling and heaty concept? Do you even believe in it? Care to share?

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22 thoughts on “Cough, phelgm and sputum

  1. i personally think that leong char wont help with ur cough and u shd take cough with phlegm medicine. my fren reconmended a cough medicine with mint which can be bought from pharmacy. I don’t know if spelling is correct or not but here it goes: Tomsolo

    Thanks. 🙂

  2. Don’t know much abt this heaty/cooling thing as well. All I have is my granma’s remedy (which is a traditional one), just make almond milk drink. Somehow it always works.

    I think you can buy the almond custard powder (for making the dessert) and just add warm water.

    That would be just almond powder right because doc say cannot drink milk because it creates more mucus.

  3. MG,
    I have a traditional recipe for bad cough and flu
    take 1 tablespoonful of warm honey and mix with 1/4 teaspoon of “kayumanis” powder (I couldn’t find the term in English, I hope it has the same meaning in Melayu term). Ususally I find the cough get decrease and also the phelgm & sputum.

    Honey is always good yah? I think kayumanis is cinammon if I am not mistaken.

  4. yes, kayu manis is cinnamon.

    Hot tea/lemon/honey works great too.

    I have bought echnieca (sp?) liquid, a bit mahal at first but you only use a few drops at a time. Marvellous stuff. It also numbs the throat so drinking/eating isnt so ardous.

    Whats echnieca?

  5. hey…i’ve just recovered from my 3 weeks cough…took 2 bottle of cough mixture + 3 visits to the clinic did not help until….I boil this to drink for 3 continuous day..

    Go to chinese medical hall and ask for (translated in cantonese)
    1. Chuin Pui
    2. Nam Hang & Pak Hang
    3. Kat Peng

    The above are 3 MAIN ingredients..they may add some other herbs that I cannot remember the name. You can ask the people at the chinese medical hall. This is not any special medicine but a very common herbs for cough. Pack RM5 per pack and boil from 3 bowls of water to 1 bowl (about 2 hrs), using small flame. Then drink 1 pack each day for 3 days and see whether it improves.

    If you are not too sure, u can just go to chinese medical hall and asked them to prescribe you some herbs. It works on hubby and Darren too.

    Hope it helps….

    Whenever I go to the chinese medical hall, I always sked they cheat me because I am so ignorant. Haha. Thanks for the tips.

  6. My mom used to double boil the orange with rock sugar. Slice the side of the orange till it looks like a large cube, then insert the rock sugar into the orange. Then double boil it – maybe 2-4 hours. Then drink the orange juice – it taste a bit bitter due to the skin. I love it, but have not done it myself. BTW, yesterday I coughed till vomit – like a child….

    Aiyoooo…. kesian you. Hope we get better soon, yah? I read about this boiling the orange together with the skin before but must wash very carefully ler, otherwise we drink in all the pesticides. Hehe.

  7. Try Manuka Honey? This seems to be the remedy for me for everything nowadays, immunisation and healing…can take as it is or mix in water.

    Hope you are feeling better soon.

    How is Manuka Honey different from other Honeys?

  8. I take honey. It works for me or I make the chinese “ke chai” water with honey.

    Btw when you have cough, always drink warm water. Don’t touch cold drink or any melon.

    Like dat ah. I don’t know how to jaga my diet one. I watermelon, cold water, everything also sapu. No wonder cannot get well. Hehe.

  9. I think lia means echinacea.

    I second Baby Darren’s remedy. Add to those 3 ingredients, an apple or pear. Boil and drink like leung cha.

    Wish I bought some back in my last trip. I have been having cough and sputum since last June. But it’s not constant, I’ll cough maybe 2-3 times a day and when irritated by eating chilli. Not enough to warrant medication, so herbal remedies are good. Think I’ll try the orange remedy and have a tsp of manuka honey every day.

    Hope your cough clears up too. 🙂

  10. When I have cough or a strep throat, I always take Manuka Honey (UMF 10+) with freshly squeezed lemon juice and gargle with salt water.
    If the cough comes with phlegm, boiled ‘loh hon koa’ drink is good too, at least it worked for me.
    Echinacea is a herb that’s good for relieving colds. You can get it from pharmacies.
    And stay away from cold / chilled food and drinks. They really irritate the throat more.

    They don’t call you a health freak for nothing eh. Hehe.

  11. My understanding of heaty type and cold type of cough.

    Heaty type of cough usually comes with yellowish or greenish phlegm. You cannot drink too much liang cha cos sometimes it will turn into cold type of cough. If you drink too liang de liang cha when you feel heaty, normally the next day, bad cough will happen. (my experience)

    Cold type of cough usually come with clear phelgm. It will keep you awake at night due to the non stop coughing. Its more difficult to recover from cold cough than heaty cough. To speed up my recovery, I will spit out the phelgm everytime I cough even I am sleeping.

    I take Sea Coconut Cough Mixture or those cough mixture from clinic for both type of cough. Cough mixture is to soothen the itchiness of the throat but it doesn’t really help to stop the cough.

    Sometimes when I give up on those cough medicine. I will just drink one cup of Fresh Orange Juice daily (without pulp and not taken right from the fridge). Surprisingly, my cough recovers in a few days time. Western doctor will encourange us to drink orange juice (not those kam zhui) during coughing as it contain Vitamin C.

    You can try Baby Darren’s recipe, it works sometimes.

    Hope you feel better soon! 🙂

    Thanks for your explanation about the cold and heaty coughs. Now I geddit! 🙂

  12. For me, I drink hot (not warm) water to ‘dilute’ the phelgm.

    For my kids, I stop all sweet stuff and cold stuff.

    For my parents-in-law, THEY PUT ‘FENG-YOU’ medicated OIL DIRECTLY INTO THEIR THROAT!!! and amazingly they are cured in a shorter time then us! (I don’t think I’ll ever try that!)

    If you have sore throat, gurgle with salt water, it helps to clear some sticky phlegm too…

    Some of the kids in my primary school a long time ago used to do the feng-you thing too! Back then feng-you used to be the “magical” oil that we used for everything, stomach ache, headache, you name it.

  13. Few months back I had a really bad cough. A colleague recommended homemade remedy with ingredients as follows and it works!

    A slice of ginger
    Few pieces of dried longan and red dates

    Infused above ingredients with hot water. Add honey and drink warm.

    Hope you get well soon.

    Thanks for the recipe. It sounds delicious too.

  14. I shall not confuse you further (wah, already so many to try), but hope you get well soon.

    I do find drinking warm water frequently helps relief the irritation to the throat.

    I think the water will losen up the phelgm too. 🙂

  15. I believe in some of the remedies mentioned by readers above…honey, Lam hang Pak Hang (almonds) Kat peng (dried orange) for long standing cough. Honey lime is good when you have cough and sore throat. Pei PAh Ko is my 1st action ..failing which I’ll see doctor for antibiotics if I have sorethroat or when the phlegm turn green/yellowish. To me I always believe when the phlegm is white and’s cold cough. Stay away from icy stuff. If the phlegm is thick and greenish it’s heaty cough or may be infected cough..I’ll stay away from fried stuff, chilly which can stimulate more phlegm. I also believe drinking leong sui and take young coconut drink without ice is good for heaty far touch wood i think I’m on the right track coz..i seldom have coughing problem that prolong.

    Thanks for the great explanation. When buying pei pah koh, you must be careful not to get the imitation one. Check this site out to get the right one.

  16. Sorry to hear that you are ill.

    I always follow this priciple – if you cough more at night/late evening, it is a cool cough and therefore you need to take heaty stuff.

    If you cough more during the day and find the mildest chillis (that you used to eat with no problem last time) too spicy, then you are having heaty cough.

    If you want, go see a sinseh. There is one in SS2, should be the first one you pass as you walk from the coffee shop Lorong Seratue Tahun towards Kimarie Hair Salon. My bbsitter recommended him to me and says he is very good. Though I cannot personally vouch.

    Hope you get well soon.

    Thanks for the recommendation, Ann. 🙂

  17. Sorry to hear about the ongoing cough. I’m having it too, on and off. As long as it’s mild and does not comes accompanied with sore throat, I’ll usually bear with it. If there’s sore throat, gargling 2-3 times with Listerine helps.

    Anyway, thanks for this post. One of the best health tips that I got is through this comment section. LOL.

    I think if I try all the remedies, by the time my cough recovers I won’t know which remedy it was that helped or whether its just that the cough has expired. Hahaha. Still its very good for reference. 🙂

  18. If you cough more at night which means you are having a cold cough and if you cough more at daytime, then it’s heaty. Most of the time, cold cough don’t come with phlegm. You may get heaty cough then turn to cold cough.

    Then cold cough turn back to heaty cough and heaty cough turn back to cold cough. Tak habis habis. Hahaha.

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