Objective To systematically assess the effectiveness of traditional Chinese medicines (TCM) in treating upper airway cough syndrome (UACS) or postnasal drip syndrome (PNDS). Methods Such databases as MEDLINE (1950 to 2011), PubMed (1996 to 2011), VIP (1989 to 2011), WanFang Data (1998 to 2011), CNKI (1979 to 2011) and CBM (1978 to 2011) were searched for collecting the randomized controlled trials (RCT) or quasi-RCTs about TCM treating UACS/PNDS. The trials were screened according to the inclusive and exclusive criteria, and then after the quality assessment and data extraction were conducted, the statistical analysis was conducted by using RevMan 5.0 software. Results A total of 10 RCTs and quasi-RCTs in Chinese were identified. The results of analysis showed that: a) The integrated Chinese and western medicine was superior to western medicine alone, either for adults and children with UACS, or for adults with PNDS. However the effectiveness had to be further assessed due to lack of high-quality literatures; b) TCM alone was probably more effective than western medicine alone for adults with PNDS, but not for adults and children with UACS. No obvious adverse reaction related to TCM was reported. Conclusion The recent research outcomes show that the integrated Chinese and western medicine is superior to western medicine alone, either for adults and children with UACS, or for adults with PNDS, but no definite evidence is found to support the superiority of TCM in treating UACS/PNDS. More high-quality RCTs with large scale need to be conducted in future to verify this conclusion due to the overall low methodological quality and significantly different intervention of the included trials.