Chinese Herbal Medicine Breakthrough for Asthma & Cough

By Cara Frank, L.OM & Robin Ray Green, L.Ac., MTCM

Cara Frank, L.OM., Acupuncturist, Herbalist and founder of China Herb Company, has recently partnered with Robin Ray Green, L.Ac, MTCM, author, educator, and leading pediatric acupuncture expert. Together they have created a new line of formulas for children’s respiratory care to address one of the most serious chronic childhood afflictions: bronchial asthma.

There are thousands of children suffering from asthma or cough variant asthma for whom medications do not adequately provide relief. Unable to find herbal formulas that fully addressed the different asthma presentations found in children, they dove into classic and modern literature in search of solutions. The most impressive research findings came from Dr. Xiu-Min Li an internationally renowned professor of pediatrics and director of The Center for Integrative Medicine for Allergies and Wellness at Mount Sinai.

The result of their collaboration is three formulas for complete respiratory care:
Easy Exhale
Wheeze Ease

1. PulmaSoothe
Inspired by the ground-breaking work of Xiu-Min Li, MD, Pulmasoothe is a modification of Dr. Li’s ASHMI (Anti-Asthma Herbal Formula) formula, which has been subjected to rigorous scientific study. According to research, four weeks of use of ASHMI in adults has nearly the same effect on the body as prednisone, without lowering immunity or other negative side effects.1,2 ⁣⁣

Due to her clinical experience with asthma and allergies, Cara feels strongly that all upper respiratory conditions respond more favorably to teas and syrups, yet no liquid formulas for these conditions were available on the market. They set to modify and even improve upon ASHMI by adding two additional herbs.

ASHMI is based on three medicinals:
Ling Zhi Ganoderma
Ku Shen Sophorae Flavescentis Radi
Gan Cao Glycyrrhizae Radix

It was modified in two ways:

First, Wu Mei, Mume Fructus, was added. It is a type of pickled and dried plum traditionally used, among many other applications, as an antitussive medicinal. It has been shown be antiallergic and is part of a formula currently being researched to treat food allergies3,4:

⁣⁣Secondly, Luo Han Guo Momordicae Fructus was included. It is traditionally used to moisten the lungs, clear heat, and stop cough. Modern research shows that luo han guo also has anti-inflammatory properties. The fruit is used as a natural sweetener, helping to moderate the bitterness of the ku shen in this formula.5

Beneficial for All Patterns of Asthma
According to Dr. May Loo, author of Pediatric Acupuncture, when it comes to asthma, “Both an ineffective immune response and an unmodulated immune response are biochemical correlates to Lung deficiency– a lung unable to carry out its normal function.”

According to Chinese medicine theory, PulmaSoothe tonifies Lung Deficiency as described above by Dr. Loo as an underlying imbalance in all types of asthma. It can be used in conjunction with other formulas to address specific asthma symptoms. Thus, this formula has been shown to help patients with symptoms of airway hypersensitivity, non-allergic asthma, and allergic asthma that isn’t responding to medications.

When using this, and all herbal formulas, we recommend that patients remain under the care of their physicians and maintain their current pharmacological regimen. Asthma is a serious disease and medication changes should never be made without physician involvement. In many cases, herbal medicine is best included, at least initially, as adjunctive therapy.

2. Wheeze Ease
This formula contains Chinese herbs traditionally used to help with a dry, spasmodic, or hacking cough, wheezing, and/or chest tightness.

It was created to address Lung Heat Dryness causing Rebellious Lung Qi. Tongue presentation may be normal or red color. The treatment principle is to Moisten Dryness, Clear Heat, Relieve Spasm, and Descend Rebellious Lung Qi.

The formula is based on the classical formulas Mai Men Dong Tang Ophiopogon Decoction and Bei Mu Gua Lou San Fritillaria, and Trichosanthes Powder. Jie Geng Platycodonis Radix and Zhi Ke Aurantii Fructus are added to regulate and open the chest. Gou Teng Uncariae Ramulus cum Uncis is a unique, off label application of a wind dispelling medicinal. Here, it helps to relax bronchial spasms.

3. Easy Exhale
This formula contains Chinese herbs traditionally used to help with wet, phlegmy cough, wheezing and/or heaviness in the chest.

It was created to address Heat and Phlegm in the Lung causing Rebellious Lung Qi. Tongue presentation may be normal or red color with thick white or yellow coating. The treatment principle is to Resolve Phlegm, Clear Heat, Stop Wheezing, and Descend Rebellious Lung Qi.

The formula combines the downbearing actions of Zhi Ban Xia Pinelliae Rhizoma Praeparatum, Hou Po Magnoliae Officinalis Cortex and Bai Guo Ginkgo Semen with herbs traditionally used to assist with coughing and wheezing, including Zi Su Zi Perillae Fructus, Xing Ren Armeniacae Semen, and Qian Hu Peucedani Radix. Sour, astringent Wu Wei Zi Schisandrae Fructus and Wu Mei Mume Fructus stabilize the Lung Qi.

Gou Teng Uncariae Ramulus cum Uncis featured to dispel wind and helps to relax bronchial spasms.

Finally, two mulberries are included: Sang Bai Pi Mori Cortex clears Lung Heat and Sang Ye Mori Folium gently disperses and moistens the Lungs.

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Kelly-Pieper K, Patil SP, Busse P, et al. Safety and tolerability of an antiasthma herbal Formula (ASHMI) in adult subjects with asthma: a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, dose-escalation phase I study. J Altern Complement Med. 2009;15(7):735-43.
Ash M. New Studies Confirm the Power of Three Chinese Herbs for Asthma. Clinical Education. Published February 28, 2018. Accessed March 25, 2019.
Wang J, Li XM. Chinese herbal therapy for the treatment of food allergy. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2012;12(4):332-8.
Pilot Study on Traditional Chinese Medicine and Food Allergy – Full Text View. Pilot Study on Traditional Chinese Medicine and Food Allergy – Full Text View – Published July 7, 2015. Accessed March 25, 2019.
Anti-inflammatory Activities of Mogrosides from Momordica grosvenori in Murine Macrophages and a Murine Ear Edema Model Rong Di, Mou-Tuan Huang, and Chi-Tang Ho Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2011 59 (13), 7474-7481 DOI: 10.1021/jf201207m

About the Authors:

Cara O. Frank L.O.M., Dipl O.M.
Acupuncturist, herbalist, educator and founder of China Herb Company, Cara has been in practice since 1983. In 1991 she founded China Herb Company, recognizing the need for high quality custom Chinese Herb Formulas. She has founded and directed Chinese Herb Departments at two Acupuncture Schools. Cara is the author of TCM Case Studies: Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders. She lives and practices in Philadelphia, where she runs Six Fishes Healing Arts, with thriving offices with special focus on Chinese Herbal Medicine. She is the creator of many herbal formulas, including her signature “Little Fishes” formulas for children.

Robin Ray Green, L.Ac., MTCM
Pediatric acupuncturist, author, and speaker, Robin Ray Green is dedicated to helping adults and children create optimal health and well-being. She specializes in helping children with asthma, allergies, and eczema. Robin is a published Hay House author and her book Heal Your Child from the Inside Out: The 5-Element Way to Nurturing Healthy, Happy Kids was published in 2016. She maintains a clinical practice in Morgan Hill, California and sees patients in-person and remotely. A leader in pediatric acupuncture, she is the founder of the Center for Acupuncture Pediatrics and has trained thousands of acupuncturists in her live and online classes.


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