Doctors, no doubt, will tell you there is no treatment, no cure, nothing to be done but diagnose, take anti-biotics and wait it out.
That is simply not true.
Yes, that’s right - despite popular “scientific” opinion you can actually GET rid of whooping cough, there ARE ways to treat it that don’t involve just using anti-biotics. Anti-biotics such as penicillin are just a generic treatment for ANY infection and not specific to whooping cough. Using only anti-biotics and say, cough syrup (which is what most doctors suggest) doesn't actually lessen the symptoms which is what causes death among sufferers. The symptoms of the INFECTION of pertussis is the COUGH. Whooping cough is the common name. Pertussis is the infection name. Coughing is a symptom of the infection. Coughing is what kills. Coughing MUST be treated in order to aid a full recovery and there ARE ways to do so.
As I had said in my previous post, I got whooping cough quite badly in 2009 when the outbreak was just starting to show up in the general populous. Due to one infected person still coming to work, coughing with us all in a small air conditioned room, a few of us got it. My case was severe as the previous year I had suffered pleurisy (infection of the fluid surrounding the lung tissue) as well as having a history of bronchial infections dating back to my early childhood years. I had asthma as a child which was cured by daily nebuliser sessions but also got croup every year. So, basically, I was crook as a dog & no doctor could or would do anything about it.
This, yet again, was another proof that natural therapies, when administered by a knowledgeable and genuine practitioner (of which there are MANY) do in fact work.
So, I have compiled a list of every possible natural therapy, homeopathic remedies included to help treat whooping cough should an outbreak occur near you or within your family: (might be a wise idea to print this off & save it somewhere near your medicine cabinet for quick reference).
Word to the wise: if you’re concerned about a whooping cough outbreak in your area despite your kids being vaccinated (because the documented success rate of immunity via a pertussis vaccine is ONLY 60 - 80% at best) then you can use homeopathic remedies to assist in maintain immunity until the outbreak passes. Continuous and supervised use of the relevant homeopathic remedies by a trained practitioner will ensure EVERYONE in your family is safe, with or without vaccines.
Natural, Home & Herbal Remedies for Whooping Cough
- Thyme in a tea infusion or tincture (recipe below)
- Licorice root
- Mashmallow root
- Cats claw
- Garlic (& lots of it - see my cold & flu recipes here for ways to use garlic: http://bit.ly/kG8pzT)
- Olive leaf extract (you can buy from health food store - is a natural antibiotic, similar to garlic)
- Vitamin C megadoses (for an adult this is 5000mg daily)
Vitamin C should be taken in mega-doses (so adults, 5000mg daily, children 1000mg - 3000mg daily dependent on age) to assist the body in fighting the infection. I took doses of 5000mg for the entire incubation period (so the 10 days leading up to & after when it became full blown) and continued until another fortnight after symptoms stopped that to ensure I cleared it out good and proper. Vitamin C won’t harm you or your children in anyway so you can take it for as long as you like - your body will just pee out the excess or unneeded amounts.
The other herbs listed above can be added to an infusion with hot water, one teaspoon each in 200mls of boiling water, left to cool and infuse for 5 mins then taken orally every 3 - 4 hours daily. They are all helpful in the treatment of whooping cough by having expectorant, demulcent and antibiotic qualities (more on that later). Good health food stores will stock most of them or alternatively you can get them from one of my preferred guys here
- Breathease oil mix
Essential oil of Thyme can be used as a chest rub also, when added with a carrier oil. Don’t use it straight on the skin - it needs diluting to prevent an adverse reaction via the skin (redness etc).
- Homeopathic Pertussin 30C once daily for 7 days can be given for protection of family & friends during an outbreak
- Drosera 30C for a consistent spasmodic cough
**NB: Unless you know what you’re doing with homeopathic remedies, DON’T DO unless supervised by a practitioner. Most natropaths have knowledge of homeopathy as well. To find one in your area go to www.naturaltherapypages.com.au.
A Bit About The Dreaded Whoop
The challenge with whooping cough, from BITTER experience, is that it is a 3 fold infection.
1. Muccous or phlegm production increases as the symptoms worsen
2. The cough is caused by hook shaped bacterium that insert themselves into the tracia causing constant irritation which results in severe coughing
3. The “whoop” is what gives this infection its common name; the sharp intake of breath after a serious coughing bout because the lungs are spasming as a result of the infection.
Therefore, it needs to be treated accordingly, for the 3 areas in which it causes the worst symptoms. So, as you can see, simply treating the “infection” with JUST anti-biotics is NOT enough! It never has been, never will be because the infection causes several different and acute symptoms which can’t be healed with only anti-biotics. Its just common sense really!
Expectorants are the best way to treat whooping cough, NOT SUPPRESSANTS! Expectorants are defined as “a medicine that promotes the secretion of sputum (phlegm or mucous) by the air passages, used especially to treat coughs” (i.e. it makes you bring up phlegm which in turn helps the body get rid of the bacterium causing the infection. As the mucous comes up the respiratory tract, it catches bacterium on its way which is coughed up & out. Hence, coughing up of phlegm is a GOOD thing in the treatment of whooping cough because you need to get the bacterium out of the respiratory tract and out of the body).
This is a really important thing to remember with infections like whooping cough; do not suppress the expelling of mucous - one needs to bring it up, cough it out & get rid of it as much as possible. Helping the body in this natural process will mean a faster recovery and a shortened incubation period. Believe me - that is good news when you have whooping cough!
Ok so NO SUPPRESANTS no matter what anyone says! Let the body do its thing & help it in the process.
Next thing is to handle the spasming of the lungs which is what causes the continuing cough, weakens lungs and can lead to further more nasty complications.
The herbs listed in the cough section above are specifically anti-spasmodic and demulcent herbs. Anti-spasmodic herbs are exactly that; they help to relax, in this case the respiratory tract & prevent spasming which causes the continuous coughing once the first cough starts.
Demulcent herbs have a soothing action on inflammation, especially of mucous membranes. So they are herbs that soothe & relax the membranes in the respiratory tract which become inflamed due to incessant coughing. Got it?
Basically, they relax the chest cavity etc to help relieve the constant coughing. That is the problem with the whooping cough infection - constant coughing weakens the lungs & can lead to further BIGGER problems like pneumonia. So relaxing, soothing, calming herbs as well as ones that assist the body to expel the bacteria will all serve in relieving the symptoms of the “dreaded whoop” & aid recovery faster.
Now, for me to outline what you need to do with each herb to help your sick baby with whooping cough would be like writing a book. So, take this list, get thee to a HEALTH FOOD STORE that sells dried herbs and homeopathics and tell them you want what is on the list.
To get you started, and a little bit pre-pared for any coughing nasty that enters your house (whooping cough or otherwise) here are a few quick things to do when you first see signs...
Thyme Tea or Infusion:
Thyme has been highly revered by the Ancient Greeks for its strength giving properties. It is an expectorant (aids mucous coughing up), a sedative (aids sleep and rest) and an anti-spasmodic (relaxing spasming muscles like the lungs). It is also an anti-septic and germicide. So its a perfect aid for whooping cough treatment!
For a child who is presenting symptoms of a cough, be in whooping cough or otherwise, give them thyme tea to drink. Add some echinacea herb if you have it (or tincture) and some honey to soothe the tickling throat. Make a strong tea (so a teaspoon or two of thyme to 100mls of water) and have them drink half (50mls) every 4 hours until coughing symptoms start to subside. Total amount of thyme infusion should not exceed 200mls per day. Do not go overboard because thyme is a sedative!
Tinctures are made on alcohol. They are an solution of the herb and alcohol, left to infuse for several days in a cool, dark place then decanted with the herbs strained.
The basic rule of thumb with most tinctures is getting the ratio right; 1:5 by weight NOT volume. So that means 1 part dried herb (1 ounce, 1 gram, 1 kilo) to 5 parts menstruum or infusing agent (be it alcohol, vinegar or water).
So with this tincture, take 1 part in WEIGHT of thyme (so use 1 ounce or 30grams) of dried organic thyme in a glass jar. Add to that 5 parts in WEIGHT (so 5 ounces or 150 grams) of your chosen menstruum or infusion agent (alcohol like Vodka or brandy). Close the jar, make sure its an airtight one & leave to infuse for 4 - 6 weeks. Once ready to decant, strain the solids from the liquid via a peice of muslin cloth and pour into a dark coloured jar (blue or brown if possible) as this helps prolong shelf life. One with a dropper is best however you can just use a medicine dropper for administering dosages.
So, with this recipe, as it takes 6 weeks, best to GET ONTO IT NOW! And have it ready for if you ever need it. It will keep for up to 2 years without a worry so do it now & you know you’re ready for any unexpected cough epidemics at your house.
Tinctures can be done for most of the herbs mentioned above. You should be able to get most if not all via a good Health Food store.
Usage for tinctures is roughly as follows (always best under a supervised practitioner unless you REALLY know your stuff!)
Adults: 1 dose of tincture is 15 - 20 drops
Children: 1 dose is 5, 10 or 15 drops dependent on age. Very young children & babies should be no more than 5 drops per dose.
Dosages of thyme tincture for example, given it is a sedative, are 40 drops three times daily (for an adult). This equates to 2 doses, three times daily. So for children it would also be 2 doses, three times daily but doses of 5, 10 or 15 drops dependent on age. Remember if you’re using tea or infusions of thyme with water to add these to the total dosages for the day. Else you’ll have a very groggy child on your hands which isn’t what you want.
Because thyme is so good for all types of respiratory infections & at dealing with chest contagions, a chest rub of infused thyme oil with some lavender for restful sleep is a great way to additionally help the body beat the dreaded whoop.
Infuse 1 part thyme (so again, 1 ounce by weight or 30 grams) to 5 parts of a carrier oil (such as almond or pure sunflower oil) and slowly heat in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. DO NOT BOIL the oil! Strain the solids from the oil via a muslin cloth and add 5 drops of lavender essential oil. Apply to the chest as necessary, 2 - 3 times daily.
This is a mild infusion so may be used without any danger of overdoing the thyme dosages.
Alternatively, purchase the Essential Oil of Thyme and add 10 drops to 20mls of carrier oil (again, almond or sunflower is good... something not to fragrant on its own is best) and rub on the chest. You can also add 5 drops of lavender essential oil which is soothing, calming & helps promote restful sleep.
So there’s some of the recipes & the basics for tinctures / infusions so you can go ahead and make your own.
If making your own is too much work and you’ve been reading this blog for a while now, hopefully you’ve gone and got yourself a good Natropath, one who has knowledge of homeopathic remedies preferably. If that’s the case - good; go to them immediately at the first sign of the whoop & do everything they tell you. Refer back to this to confirm what you’ve been given is helpful (this list is not exhaustive - just a good place to start).
So, now you know that whooping cough CAN be treated with more than just anti-biotics. It is possible to control and eliminate the symptoms, it can be shortened and the severity lessened. It just takes common sense and some knowledge of the right herbs in the right way.
You’re all prepared now! Nothing to worry about for this winter, outbreak or not!
Love and hugs,
The Eco Mum xo