Introduction to TCM

Basics of TCM

  • Yin-Yang | Five Elements

Zang-Fu Theories

  • Zang Organs | Fu Organs

Classification of Antineoplastic Herbal Medicines

Characteristics of Herbal Medicines


  • By Auscultation & Olfaction
  • By Inspection


Theories of Channels (Meridians) and Collaterals

Reference: A Modern View of the Immune System

Differentiation of Syndromes

  • 8 Principles
  • 6 Channels 4 Stages
  • Syndromes of Zang-Fu Organs


  • Exogenous | Pestilential
  • Pathogenic Factors
  • Emotional

Materia Medica

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Differentiating Lung Syndromes

Qi Deficient of the Lung

Feeble coughing, shortness of breath, clear and thin sputum, feeble breathing, speaking in a low voice, spontaneous sweating, pale and lusterless complexion, lassitude, pale tongue proper with thin white coating, xu and forceless pulse.

The lung dominates qi and controls respiration, so qi deficiency causes a weak cough, shortness of breath, and feeble breathing. Qi deficiency of the lung also leads to a failure of lung qi descent causing an accumulation of body fluid with resulting phlegm. There are also symptoms of cough with thing sputum, spontaneous sweating, pale and lusterless complexion, lassitude, pale tongue proper with white and this tongue coating, and xu type pulse.

Yin deficiency of the lung

Dry cough without sputum or with a little sticky sputum, dryness of the mouth and throat, hoarseness of voice, emaciation, dry red tongue proper, thready and forceless pulse. If yin deficiency leads to a preponderance of fire, there may be cough with bloody sputum, tidal fever, night sweating, malar flush, red tongue proper, and a thready rapid pulse.

The symptoms of lung yin deficiency are actually the manifestations of an insufficiency of lung yin fluid, i.e., dry cough without sputum, or cough with a little stick sputum, dryness of the mouth and throat, hoarseness of voice, emaciation, dry red tongue proper, thready and forceless pulse. If yin xu fails to restrict yang, then xu fire is formed and flares up to the damage the vessels of the lung, producing the symptoms of tidal fever, night sweating, malar flush, hematesis, red tongue proper, thready rapid pulse.

Lung wind-cold retention syndromes

Cough, asthma, thin white sputum, absence of thirst, nasal obstruction, runny nose, chills and fever, no sweating, pain of the head and body, thin white tongue coating, superficial and tense pulse.

Exogenous pathogenic wind-cold obstructing the lung leads to the dysfunction of lung qi spreading and descending, causing symptoms of cough with thin white sputum. The lung opens into the nose, which is then also troubled by nasal obstruction or discharge. The lung dominates the skin and hair, when exogenous pathogenic wind and cold invade the lung leading to the dysfunction of defensive (wei) qi, the symptoms are an aversion to cold, fever, pain of the head and body, absence of sweat, thin white tongue coating.

Lung win-heat invasion syndromes

Cough with yellowish and thick sputum, thirst, sore throat headache, fever, aversion to wind, yellowish and thin tongue coating, floating and rapid pulse.

The lung is attacked by exogenous pathogenic wind-heat, so the spreading and descending functions are affected, causing cough with a yellowish and thick sputum. Pathogenic heat consumes the body fluid, causing thirst. Wind and heat flow upward to cause a sore throat. Headache, fever, aversion to wind, yellowish and thin tongue coating, floating and rapid pulse are signs indicating wind-heat invasion of the defensive (wei) qi of the body surface.

Lung phlegm damp obstruction syndromes

Cough with excessive and white sticky sputum, expectoration, stuffiness of the chest, asthma, white sticky tongue coating, slippery pulse.

Pathogenic phlegm damp obstructing the lung leads to the impairment of qi circulation causing the above symptoms. White sticky tongue coating and slippery pulse are signs of pathogenic phlegm damp.

A long-standing obstruction of phlegm damp in the lung will change into heat, blocking qi circulation and manifesting as asthmatic cough, stuffiness of the chest, etc. In addition, other symptoms may occur, such as cough with yellowish, sticky and thick sputum, or cough with bloody and pussy sputum. Fever, thirst, yellowish urine, constipation, red tongue proper with yellow sticky coating, and slippery pulse, are signs of heat syndromes.

Related Subjects

Read more on description of the main syndromes of other zang-fu organs: Heart, Liver, Spleen, Kidney, Small Intestine, Large Intestine, Urinary Bladder, Stomach, and Gall Bladder.

Traditional Chinese Medicine pages by Raymond Cheng, PhD DPA FRSA FRSPH

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With over 3000 years of experience, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has remain one of the many fascinating areas in ancient Chinese culture. First known to be documented in the Yellow Emperor's Canon of Medicine, TCM is believed to have been practised in as early as 475 to 221 B.C. The field of working knowledge of TCM stretches from anything related to general healthcare practice to the philosophy of the mind, the logic of life, religion, and even to as far as cosmology and astronumerology. This is why in order to thoroughly understand the concepts behind TCM, one must be comprehensive in learning and embracing the Chinese culture as a whole.

Just as Douglas Hoff put it when he explained about accupuncture, "The systems of TCM uses the concepts of elements and meridians and are completely immersed in the Asian cosmology which takes shape through the religions." The meridian-brain mechanism, the fundamental working concept of acupuncture, in which the pain block from the message that the needle or burning cone of herbs gives to the point of stimulus, was only found centuries later by the West through science and technology.


Raymond Cheng, PhD DPA Thank you for visiting this TCM and acupuncture information website. If you have previously been to this website, you might have noticed that some of the pages on ancient historical ideas and holistic thinkings related to Chinese metaphysics are temporarily taken offline. This is because I will be revamping the whole website and be moving those information into a new \"Ancient Chinese Culture\" section so as to reflect a more current perspective on the interpretation of some of the fundamental concepts as well as to include some of the latest information in the area. But if you have just found this website for the very first time, I welcome you again and wish you could find what you require and, hopefully, you could also be benefitted from reading the articles I published on this website.

Please be patient and do come and check out this website frequently as it's being revamped.

Raymond Cheng, PhD DPA FRSA FRSPH

March 28, 2020.


This website is published, edited and designed by Raymond Cheng, and reflects only and only his personal views and opinions in his individual capacity. The information available at this website is not intended directly or by implication to either diagnose or treat any medical, emotional, or psychological condition or disorder. It is also not intended to create a physician-patient relationship between you and I or between you and Wyith Institute™ and The Office of Dr Raymond K K Cheng. The information here is not a substitute for advice and treatment provided by your physician or by another healthcare professional. It is always recommended that consultation with local healthcare providers be obtained for any of your specific health or medical concerns. Furthermore, any products that can be purchased (yet you can see I don't have much to sell here) through advertisers' banners or through links to other websites are not either explicitly or implicitly given any warranty or endorsement by me, my colleagues, Wyith Institute™ or any of its associated businesses.