Coughing is an obvious sign of poor health and the leading reason for patient visits to doctors. Over one billion dollars are spent annually on over-the-counter (OTC) cough remedies for cough issues, yet the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) has recently reported that OTC cough expectorants and suppressants don’t address the underlying causes of the cough, and often don’t help at all. Antibiotics are also of limited value, since 95% of all coughs are viral in nature. Antibiotics may be helpful for reducing phlegm, but they can weaken the immune system. Traditional Chinese healing practices takes a different approach to cough, relying on classical formulas, some dating back to the 15th century, that remain popular today and continue to be used by millions of people throughout Asia. Significantly, a growing body of scientific research has shed light on properties of traditional herbal ingredients historically used to support lung health. Andrographis (Chuan Xin LIan, Andrographis Paniculata) Andrographis has been shown to be a safe traditional botanical for supporting upper respiratory tract health, per analysis of seven double-blind controlled trials. (1) Andrographis has been shown to inhibit RANTES secretion in inflamed bronchial cells. (2) RANTES is a chemoattractant for eosinophils, monocytes and lymphocytes that is stored in, and released by, platelets and activated T-cells. In related research:
Andrographolide, an active ingredient in Andrographis, has been shown to be responsible for the herb’s inflammatory modulating actions, including the reduction of cytokine and peritoneal deposition of neutrophils, and modulation of lung inflammation in vivo. (3) Extracts of Andrographis exhibit potent inflammatory modulating and antioxidant actions in mouse models. (4)
Scutellaria (Huang Qin, Radix Scutellaria Baicalenses) Scutellaria root has a long history of use in China to support a healthy immune system. (5,6) In related research:
Baicalein, a major flavonoid in Scutellaria, supports cardiovascular health. (7) Research shows that Scutellaria root modulates inflammatory activity to inhibit nitric oxide (NO), cytokine, chemokine and growth factor production in macrophages. (8) Scutellaria has been shown to inhibit histamine and leukotriene release. (9)
Gardenia Jasminoides (Zhi Zi, Gardenia Jasminoides) Genipen, an active ingredient in Gardenia, regulates inflammatory activity in mice study. (10) Geniposide from Gardenia enhances glutathione content in rat livers. Glutathione is an important immune system amino acid that helps determine modulation of immune response, including cytokine production. (11) Morus Alba (Sang Bai Pi, Radicis Cortex Morus Alba) Morus alba extracts have been shown to regulate mast cell degranulation and histamine release. (12) In a related study, a polysaccharide from Morus root has been shown to have immune-modulating activity. (13) Belamcanda (She Gan, Rhizoma Belamcandae Chinensis) An active ingredient from Belamcanda, irigenin, has inflammatory modulating properties in macrophage immune cells. (14) Asparagus (Tian Men Dong, Asparagus Cochinchinensis) Extracts from Asparagus root have been shown to modulate inflammatory actions. (15) Trichosanthes (Gua Lou Ren, Semen Trichosanthes) Trichosanthes seed extracts contain inflammatory regulating ingredients, including triterpenes. (16) Fritillaria (Chuan Bei Mu, Bulbus Fritillaria Chirrhosa) Fritillaria bulb is considered an anti-tussive herb, with imperialine identified as the major bioactive component. (17) Platycodon (Jie Geng, Radix Platycodon Grandiflorum) Platycodon root has been widely used in China for upper respiratory inflammatory issues. Active ingredients platycodon D and D3 increase mucin release in rat and hamster tracheal cells and provide useful expectorant effects. (18) In related research:
Platycodon extracts exhibit inflammatory modulating effects on human-cultured airway epithelial cells. (19) Platycodon regulates inflammation via diverse pathways including modulation of IL-8 secretion by microglial cells. (20)
Stemona (Bai Bu Radix Stemona) Stemonines from Stemona root display anti-tussive activity in a guinea pig cough model. (21) In related research, stilbenoids, including resveratrol from Stemona root, inhibit leukotriene formation. (22) Licorice (Gan Cao, Radix Glycyrrhiza Uralensis) Glycyrrhizin from Glycyrrhiza root helps to modulate airway constriction, lung inflammation and infiltration of eosinophils in bronchial areas. (23) In related research:
Glycyrrhiza root promotes CD4 and CD8 immune cell function. (24) A related study identifies the main anti-tussive active ingredients in glycyrrhiza root in various phases of the cough response. (25)
BronchoPhase is appropriate for all ages, including children above the age of 6. For infants less than 6 years of age Chinese herbs should be given only by an experienced practitioner.
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