This is the Whooping Cough post that I’m the most excited to share!!! I mean, I’m not giddy about having such a long and nasty bug this year, but it’s such a great feeling to treat your family at home with herbs and foods that you feel good about giving them, and watch them get better! So I want to share what has worked for our family.
I’m going to post random vacation pictures. The only way that these will relate at all is that this is the time that we discovered that this handsome little beach stud had whooping cough.
Prevention of Whooping Cough
If you read the article I wrote on September 3rd about using Garlic as a natural remedy, you’ll see that I mentioned that I was trying to come down with a cough. Well, I didn’t know it at the time, but the babe and I were in the first phase of whooping cough. I felt as if I had a thick layer of mucous high up in my chest/throat area.
I decided to go ahead and treat myself with garlic, as I find that treating at the *VERY* first sign of an illness really gives your immune system the home court advantage.
Placing a whole, fresh clove of garlic in my cheek, biting down on it with my molars, and holding it for a few minutes knocked it out. I did this twice…once that night while writing the blog post, and once the next day.
The garlic biting was really not as bad as I anticipated it being…it’s no where near the intensity as chewing a clove, as it sits so far back in the mouth and there is no chewing and tongue coating intensity. It’s doable even for an herbal wimp like me.
So, I accidentally knocked out a case of Whooping Cough using the powerful antibiotic properties of garlic…but the baby still got it. If I had known what we were dealing with at the time, I would have used a garlic poultice on my little guy, and eaten more garlic myself to rally his immune system to knock it out.
Whooping Cough Treatment in the Coughing Phase (Paroxysmal Phase)
When we went to the doctor in my baby’s second week of coughing, the coughing fits were really, really bad.
But when he wasn’t having a coughing fit, he was a happy, healthy looking baby with no symptoms of illness besides a bit of congestion rattle when he breathed. No fever, runny nose, etc. And OF COURSE he didn’t cough once at the doctors office.
My husband and I decided not to medically prevent our baby’s coughs by using cough suppressants. However, my heart just broke every time he had a coughing fit…I hated it, and I wanted to help support his body in healing. I wanted to do something about it, and I felt strongly that herbs and nutrition would be the best way to help him heal quickly.
Since my babe was at the age where he was very interested in watching us eat, I decided to look into herbs or foods that would help support and repair what the whooping cough toxins had compromised. If he had been a bit younger, I would have simply applied the foods and herbs to my diet, and he would have benefited from it through nursing.
This is actually where a majority of my whooping cough research began.
I wanted to know exactly what areas of the body had been damaged, and find foods that contained nutrients that supported healing in those areas.
So I did a little (OK…several hours worth of) research.
First I looked at medical journals that outlined the progression and actions of the disease. Then, I took those terms, and searched for foods and herbs that directly addressed those issues in the body. This is what I came up with for him:
My Recipe for Whooping Cough Remedy Stew
The Problem is:“Pertussis progressively destroys the ciliated epithelial cells” (4)
Research says:… beta-carotene acts to strengthen the epithelial cells of the mucous membranes (1)
Some herbs and foods that are high in beta carotene are alfalfa, and cooked carrots. Cooking and pureeing carrots actually increases the availability of the beta carotene
…so pureed carrots went on the menu.
I also read that a small amount of fat in the meal ensures that the body absorbs more of the beta carotene.(3)
…so I added a bit of good organic butter to the mix.
The Problem is: Pertussis “inhibits coupling of receptors to inter-cellular signaling pathways, leading to the secretion of fluids and electrolytes from the cells.” (4) [My translation: it shuts down the electrical system of the cells and cause them to leak fluids or burst]
-A substance called Beta-1,3-D-glucan (found in oats, barley and yeasts) are potent macrophage activators. Macrophages ignite intercellular communication by releasing chemical messengers called cytokines (interferon and interleukin). These cytokines are powerful proteins responsible for catalyzing and regulating several immune responses within the body.
Great! I just happened to have pearled barley and oats…tossing those in with buttered pureed carrots.
The Problem is:“Studies with animals have shown that both humoral [within the body fluids] and inter-cellular immunity is required to eliminate an infection with B. pertussis.” (4)
-Garlic may stimulate both humoral and cellular immunity, cause T-cell proliferation, and restore suppressed antibody responses (5)
…adding in some garlic.
The Problem is:“Pertussis paralyzes the cilia, coating it with a sticky toxin. This, in turn, makes the lungs even more susceptible to secondary infections. B. pertussis potentiates [increases or enhances] the effects of histamine, resulting in increased mucus production. The respiratory tract becomes overly sensitive to environmental irritants”
-Garlic eases bronchial secretions (6) and has rejuvenating effect on all cells. Garlic is effective against toxic bacteria, viruses, and fungi.(7)
…and some more garlic.
I also added in some dried basil and oregano, which I had on a list in my herbal notes as natural anti-histamines. Other natural anti-histamines include chamomile, fennel and tarragon. The first two would be nice in a tea blend.
So, the natural remedy was disguised as baby food, using these specific ingredients. It would also have made a delicious stew, if I had not pureed it. Here is a printable recipe if you’d like to try it!
- 2 T good quality butter
- ⅔ c. chopped carrots
- 6 cups of good, homemade chicken or beef stock (or 6 cups of water, and beef or chicken bones)
- 1½ cups cooked chicken meat (optional: I leave this out for little ones)
- 4-6 cloves of garlic, chopped fine or minced
- 1 t. salt
- ¼ t. dried basil
- ¼ t. dried oregano (or sub ½ t. Greek Seasoning Mix for dried herbs)
- ½ c. pearled barley
- ½ c. oats (any form from steel cut to quick cooking)
- 1½ cups of fresh, organic spinach greens
- ½ t. yeast
- If you're starting with bones and water, place them in a large pot.
- Bring to a boil, and then simmer for a couple of hours, skimming the top from time to time.
- Or you may alternatively place it all in the crock pot overnight on high.
- Strain broth through a sieve into a large soup pot, and follow instructions below.
- If you have chicken or beef broth/stock ready to go, add it to a large pot or crock pot, along with melt butter, cooked chicken, chopped carrots, garlic, basil and oregano. Heat to boiling, and then reduce heat to a simmer.
- Add pearled barley and oats, and continue to simmer for 45 minutes.
- Add in the fresh spinach and a bit of yeast just before serving.
I didn't include any protein in the baby food version, because my son was still nursing for most of his nutrition. If this was being served as the main course for an older baby or child, I would add the meat or even do an "egg drop" method to enhance the protein content.
We are not "religious" food snobs by any means, but for a family who is recuperating from an illness, I find it is really worth it for me to get the best quality meats and eggs that I can find. I get grass-fed beef bones from a local company, as well as pasture raised eggs. There really is a nutritional difference.
My little guy was very excited to start eating, and really, really likes his food. But the best part is that his coughing got progressively better. I noticed a difference within 48 hours, and by the end of the week, he was remarkably better.
Which is amazing, because he had the worst cough of all, having such small airways.
Whooping Cough Treatment During the Recovery Phase
The next phase of Pertussis is called the “Recovery Phase” and is the longest of the three phases. In fact, it can last for up to 6 months. If you remember from my first post on whooping cough, I wrote:
“Coughing fits begin to happen with less frequently and duration. The lungs recover slowly, and the person is more susceptible to secondary infections because the protective cilia layer is gone. Infections that do develop afterwards are going to stimulate similar coughing fits.”
My 8 year old and 3 year old were in this phase as we prepared to leave for our family vacation…prior to me really *understanding* that we actually had whooping cough.
Just before we left for vacation in September, my 8 year old and 3 year old had been coughing for 4 and 3 weeks, respectively. It was still interfering with everyone’s sleep, and the coughs were still intense.
They had both been taking this homemade honey/lemon ‘cough syrup’ all along, with no real changes, but they liked it, so I let them have as much as they wanted. And at that point, I was still thinking that I was dealing primarily with “germs”, and not understanding that it was mainly toxic aftermath/damage I should be addressing.
As we were getting ready to go out of town, I happened to run across a blog post about the benefits of turmeric as an anti-inflammatory. So I added turmeric and a dash of pepper to their honey. My 3 y.o. had the worst cough of the two. I gave her one dose of the turmeric boosted “cough syrup” the night before we left for vacation.
On day 2 of our vacation, we realized that she was barely coughing anymore!
The bad news was that I had left the turmeric honey at home. Thankfully, it’s a common kitchen herb, so after a quick run to the local super market, I dosed both of them with the turmeric honey. After weeks of coughing, we were amazed that this simple natural remedy diminished their coughs to almost non-existent.
Turmeric is a yellow spice (a ground root) that is used in Indian food. It has a warm, spicy smell and taste, and it is a very good anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine. Using a bit of black pepper thrown in helps the body absorb more into the blood stream (and by more, I mean 2,000 percent more, according to one study!) Turmeric powder is VERY yellow, though, and can stain, but a soak (or two) in Oxy-Clean got the stains out for us.
I wrote about turmeric in depth here, and it’s now one of my favorite herbs that I keep on hand in bulk. It’s VERY versatile in its actions and we prefer it for headaches, stopping blood flow, and especially for coughing.
Since I don’t give honey to my little guy yet, I gave the him some turmeric mixed in plain organic yogurt or maple syrup. Because he was still in the paroxysmal (fits) stage, we were dealing with fresh damage to his lung tissue, he responded more-so to the foods and herbs that I posted about earlier. The turmeric didn’t shut down the coughing as quickly as it had for my other two kiddos, but it was still helpful for him as an anti-histamine.
I’m really grateful that we had another opportunity to use natural remedies to help us get well. Even after seeing it work over and over, it’s still amazing and rewarding to see how the body responds to good whole foods, and medicinal herbs.
I want to hear if this works for you! Pass it on, and send me your comments. I love hearing from you!
This was shared on the Gwens-Nest facebook page, and I wanted to share it here as well:
“Hi there!! I just wanted to pass along the vitamin C info someone recommended to me – it seems to be helping alot!
We are doing high doses of Vitamin C – if I ease off on the dose the cough gets worse so it really does seem to be helping! He has one major coughing fit per day (unfortunately at about 5am!!) and then the odd cough or two throughout the day and that’s it.” Lauren C.
“Hi Gwen, my whole family has been suffering from whooping cough. My daughter and I have had it quite severe and are still suffering the effects. I started to google home remedies as the doctors can not give you anything for it. I found your cough syrup which my husband made me up a big batch on Saturday. I must say, it has helped me so much. On Friday night, I was going to take my daughter and I to hospital. I haven’t felt that way again since taking your cough syrup. We are still coughing, but it isn’t as bad and doesnt seem to last as long. I have been taking the syrup for nearly 48 hours, so I am hoping I will continue to improve. I have been giving it to the kids too, and they dont mind it. Thank you for sharing your recipe and it has at least given me some hope that we will all get over this dreaded bug.” Paula
Thank you so much to all those who have taken time to share their tips, stories and experiences with Pertussis.
I had no idea that there would be outbreaks of Whooping Cough when I wrote this series. My heart goes out to the parents and little ones who are in the midst of this scary illness, and it is my hope that you find resources and research to help your family cope with and heal from Whooping Cough.
And we can rejoice together that immunity from having Whooping Cough is generally life-time immunity!
Here is another great article to check out: Natural Ttreatment for Whooping Cough by Holistic Squid.
(full disclosure: the last two books are linked through my Amazon affiliate account)
4. Essentials of Immunology and Serology, By Jacqueline Stanley, 2002 http://tiny.cc/n89sh
6. Nutritional Herbology : A Reference Guide to Herbs
7. The How to Herb Book: Let’s Remedy the Situation
P.S. Info…not meant to treat, diagnose…blah blah…I’m just a housefrau, so don’t listen to anything I say. Mmm-K?