The Whoop Dee Doo about Whooping Cough


The Whoop Dee Doo about Whooping Cough

Written by Gwen Brown from

and used with permission from


Whooping cough was the last thing on my mind as we packed for a late summer vacation at the beach.  But on the second day there, our baby’s cough got considerably worse…we realized that we had an insidious guest.  The pertussis bacteria had traveled with us on vacation.

The really scary thing is, my babe was the last of the four kids to get the “bad cough”. Up to that point, we really had only thought of it as a cold with a bad, lingering cough.  We started researching based on the symptoms we’d observed with our kids, and realized that we had whooping cough.  We had lived with it for a couple of months, unaware.  

At the doctor’s office, my  baby was smiley and didn’t seem sick at all, and (of course!) he didn’t cough once during our visit.  the nurse practitioner began telling me that it didn’t seem to be croup; he seemed perplexed and a bit anxious when I asked him about whooping cough.  He agreed that the symptoms fit, and told me that the Dr’s in the practice had just (as in that weekend) agreed to plan a course of action for diagnosing whooping cough (aka Pertussis) because the medical journals are beginning to call attention to the disease.  He said because of the vaccines, they simply don’t consider it, but the medical journals are bringing attention back to pertussis, as it’s being grossly misdiagnosed and under-reported.  I had questions, but the answers I was getting didn’t make sense to me.  After our visit, I really began researching this disease in earnest.

The information I was getting from my pediatrician, the CDC, and other mainstream sources seemed contradictory to me.  Some sources stated that infants under a year with whooping cough should be hospitalized (really?), but my doctors office didn’t seem that concerned.  What was going on here?

I became slightly obsessed with knowing more about whooping cough, so that I could make an informed choice for treating my kids, as well as for protecting others around us from being exposed to this virulent bug.  And it IS virulent…my oldest two have been vaccinated against it, and they were the first two to come down with whooping cough.

I have heard of a LOT of cases of this in the past year popping up among friends all over the U.S.  I am of the opinion that the current vaccine may be failing, but I don’t think doctors are really aware of this, nor are they equipped with good diagnostic or treatment options at this point. (We’ll discuss more on this in part II)

Whooping cough hasn’t really gotten on the national radar screen.  Yet.

Now, I do enjoy research, but I’m generally not obsessive about picking apart a disease in medical textbooks and sharing it with the world.  Especially diseases like whooping cough…it sounded somewhat antiquated, mostly mild outbreaks, and I thought that there were easily available treatments.

But I discovered that whooping cough is extremely contagious; and it’s contagious before you even know you have it, and by the time you get to the doctor, the damage has already been done.  After spending some serious reading time, I feel that in this case, it’s super-important to “know thy enemy.”  Allow me to introduce you…

In a nutshell, here’s what I think every parent should be aware of in regards to whooping cough:

*People who have been immunized can still get whooping cough.
*Pertussis is most contagious when only minor cold like symptoms are present…and at that stage, it’s *extremely* contagious.

* Most cases go undiagnosed, and are uneventful…a mild persistent cough in adults and older kids (and rarely “whoops”), but the damage that whooping cough can do in young infants (under 6 months), the elderly, and those who have impaired immune systems is extremely serious and can be life threatening.

*Pertussis is often misdiagnosed or misunderstood, and incorrect information about the disease is common, even in doctors offices.

*Whooping Cough is often diagnosed after the damage is done, and is commonly overlooked as a persistent cough.  Other names for it are the “100 day cough” and “nurses cough”.

Whooping Cough: Just the Facts

Whooping cough is the only vaccine-preventable disease on the rise in the US and it is severely under-reported.(2)  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that, at best, one out of three cases are believed to be reported (2); but other estimates place the true number of reported incidences at closer to 1 out of 10 to 1 out of 20 reported cases. (2) Those are pretty shocking stats…or better stated, a shocking lack of stats.

Imagine the impact of this in daycare centers and schools alone.

Whooping cough can actually be caused by one of three bacteria.  B. Pertussis is thought to cause 95% of the cases of whooping cough, with B Parapertussis, a milder strain, causing the other 5% of reported cases. (1)

Now, my friends, if you’re up for it, here are the cliff notes from my obsessive research plus, my own little cute illustrations, for us visual learners.  From medical textbooks, lectures, and government authorities, here’s a peek into the dirty lair of the whooping cough <dun-da-dah-dunnnn>

The Stages of Whooping Cough

Stage One: Infection and incubation
(note: many sources roll this stage in with the second stage)
Day one:  B. pertussis bacteria is inhaled and attaches itself to the mucous membranes…the infection begins.  Whooping Cough is spread by breathing in the bacteria from the discharge of an infected persons cough or sneeze. (3)
Immediately, the bacteria begins to colonize and multiply on the cells lining the respiratory tract and airways.  The protective cell layer that lines the airways are like living velvet…they are covered in tiny hairs or cilia. The cilia move back and fort, expelling mucous, and tiny foreign particles, including invading bacteria.  But B. pertussis is magnetically attracted to these ciliated epithelial cells.  It attaches to them and begins to silently colonize and obliterate the lining of the large airways.(4)

The incubation period lasts on average from 7-10 days, but can range from 4 to 21 days in which the person is highly contagious, but has no symptoms at all.  The pertussis bacteria never actually enters the cells or the bloodstream.  So sytemic or oral treatment is minimally helpful.  Pertussis is very effective at causing major respiratory distress.

Stage Two: The Catarrh (Inflammation & Mucuous) Stage
For approximately the past week, these quickly multiplying bacteria are coating the upper respiratory tract, and doing massive damage to the cells that line the airways.

The infected cells are exploding, pumping out toxins that damage lining of the airways, which in turn increase histamine response and mucous production, and ramps up the immune response of the host. (3)   Symptoms begin to show, but are very mild, and will mimic that of a cold, with a runny nose, mild occasional cough, and low grade fever. (4)  In our cases, only one child had a fever, and the others had very, very minor cold symptoms with an occasional cough or a sniffle. In babies, this may present as sneezes and throat clearings.

As the top layer of ciliated cells die off, the body reacts with acute inflammation and by producing large amounts of thick, sticky mucous. (1)  This stage goes on for one to two weeks. (2)

So, to sum up:
For three weeks or more, these buggers are stripping your airway of cilia, creating gunky thick mucous, you’re majorly contagious…and you may just have a minor sniffle.


I’m a visual person, so I thought I’d share a visual aid of what is happening in the first 2 phases of whooping cough.whooping-cough

Stage Three: The Paroxysmal (Fits) Stage
Next comes the coughing stage, which lasts from two to six weeks.  This is usually when we begin to get a clue that something is very, very wrong.  Most cases are diagnosed in this stage of the illness.

The person will present with violent fits of coughing, interspersed with deep gasps for air that can make a whooping sound.  Though, in our four cases, only one child had the classic ‘whoop’, and only did so one time.

This is where you really begin to see the damage that has been happening to the lining of the airways.  On average, the coughing fits increase in frequency during the first 1 to 2 weeks, remain at the same level for 2 to 3 weeks, decreasing gradually after this. (2)

Coughs may be hard, dry, convulsive coughs, or more croupy and rattley as mucous begins to be expelled. (6) The thick, sticky mucous is difficult to expel, and once a coughing spasm begins, it usually continues until all the air is expelled from the lungs.  It is common for the person to throw up during or just after a coughing fit. (1)
The coughing spasms can also cause a person to turn red or blue in the face (cyanotic), blood vessel ruptures in the whites of the eyes, and in some cases, cracked ribs and hernias. (1)

My little ones would literally cough all the air out of their lungs until they puked.  Every night, sometimes multiple times a night.  For weeks.

The pertussis bacteria puts off a toxin that causes an increased histamine response, which means that the respiratory tract overreacts easily, triggering these major coughing fits.(3)  The coughing spells average about 15 times in a 24 hour period, and occur most commonly at night, which results in fitful sleep (understatement of the year).(1)

Other activities such as eating or laying down can also cause coughing spells to occur.  For my 6 1/2 month old, pretty much all of his normal activity triggered cough spells: rolling over, laying on his tummy, drooling, putting things in his mouth, burping, and nursing.  It was heart wrenching.

The crazy thing is, between coughing fits, the person seems perfectly normal, and feels fine.  Which is part of the reason why this so often goes undiagnosed…the child doesn’t look or feel sick unless they start coughing, and, of course, they never, ever have a coughing fit at the doctors’ office.  In adults, whooping coughing may just seem to be a mild, persistent cough.  The “whoop” is uncommon in adults. (2)

Stage Four: Recovery or convalescent phase
The final stage is the recovery period, which can take up to six months.  Coughing fits begin to happen with less frequently and duration. (3) 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.


Sources cited:

1.  Dr. Neal R.Chamberlain,


Note: this study was funded by the “largest company in
the world devoted entirely to human vaccines.”  Just so you know.

3.  Essentials of Immunology and Serology, By Jacqueline Stanley, 2002

4.  Bacterial Toxins and Virulence Factors In Disease by Joel Moss, 2008


6.  Whooping-cough; its pathology and treatment, By Thomas Michael Dolan, 1882
(obviously, very inaccurate with regards to pathology, but interesting in
regards to immunity and history of the disease)


Whooping Cough II: Dangers, Diagnosis & Conventional Treatments –

Our internship with whooping cough this fall has prompted me to get the word out.  Though I’m not a fan of scare tactic health care, I want everyone to be aware of how contagious, and potentially devastating this disease is to those who may be immune compromised, and especially to very tiny babies.  It’s just not something to take lightly.

But it’s also not something to totally freak out over for most people.

First, let’s talk about the odds of this being really life threatening or serious.  Then, let’s dig into the topics of diagnosisimmunity, and conventional treatment recommendations.

I’ve had some great questions and feedback from my first post that I’d like to answer.  If you haven’t gotten a chance to read that post yet, you can read it here: Whooping Cough, Part I.

How Serious is Whooping Cough?

The main concern with whooping cough is catching a secondary infection.  Namely, bacterial pneumonia, which occurs in less than 10% of children with whooping cough under the age of two. (4)  The vast majority…90% of deaths from pertussis…occur in children younger than 6 months old.  Most of the deaths attributed to pertussis are caused by a secondary infection of bacterial pneumonia.  This is the most common complication and the cause of most pertussis-related deaths across all age groups. (2)

Despite most of the journal articles claims that whooping cough is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality, it’s difficult to dig up actual numbers on mortality rate.  In fact, one article states that whooping cough is associated with “substantial morbidity and mortality”, but later on says “death due to pertussis is rare, occurring in about .2 percent of reported cases.” (2)

While I find these risk factors to be on the small side, it’s still worth taking precautions with anyone that is exposed to very young infants or the elderly and immune compromised.  I was also careful to watch for a fever or signs of pain in the chest/lungs in my little ones.  We did not have any complications or secondary pneumonia.

Another question that I was asked is “How do you know if a cold or sniffle is whooping cough?…

How would I get a confirmed diagnosis?

This is a great question, since the earliest and most contagious stages mimic a common cold.  One of the main reasons I took my son in to the pediatrician was to get diagnostic testing to find out if we were really dealing with whooping

This is what I’ve found about diagnosing whooping cough.  I’m going to pull from the CDC website, since more than likely that is what your doctor is going to refer to for diagnostic and treatment protocols.

The CDC describes the clinical case definition of whooping cough as “a cough illness lasting at least 2 weeks with one of the following:

  • paroxysms of coughing
  • inspiratory “whoop”
  • posttussive vomiting without other apparent cause (as reported by a health professional).”

We had two of out of the three…well, actually, three out of three if you count the one teensy-tiny whoop my boy did one night.

So how do they officially confirm whooping cough?

Pertussis (the bacteria that causes whooping cough) is diagnosed in three ways.

1. The “gold standard” preferred test is a bacterial culture, which requires a special swab and nerves of steel.  If you want to see what they do with said swab, click here.

WARNING: It ain’t pretty.  I can’t imagine my kids having this done.  A restraining device would have to be employed.
2. The second test is called a PCR…[polymerase chain reaction: researchers produce millions of copies of a specific DNA sequence in approximately two hours.]

3. And finally, there is a serum (blood) test, that looks for the antibodies that are created against pertussis, to confirm that you’ve had a positive case.  Each method has benefits and drawbacks…to see a chart that lays it out pretty neatly, click here.

The nurse practitioner that we saw agreed that this appeared to be whooping cough.  My son looked healthy, and didn’t cough at all, but he could hear congestion in the lungs.  He informed me that one of their doctors had called the CDC just that week, to find a source for the specialized swabs that are used in collecting a specimen in suspected pertussis cases, and he was told that there were no swabs available in the state.  That blew my mind.  Really?  In the whole state?  And the state that the CDC is located in no less!

No other diagnostic options were offered by my doctor’s office, which makes me wonder how often cases are even reported.  Of the cases that are reported, only cases that have (or are related to) a positive swab culture or PCR are considered confirmed cases.  The rest are considered “probable” cases, and they won’t make the news.  Or the statistics.  For this, and other reasons, I think the numbers relating to whooping cough are dramatically higher than what are actually reported.


Vaccine immunity among fully vaccinated infants is tested between 80-85% effective, and the effectiveness wanes from there.  Current medical research reveals that the immunity whether through vaccines, or from naturally acquired antibodies, are minimal after about 10 years. (2)
Prior to the Pertussis vaccine, which was developed in the 30’s and was being widely administered by the mid 1940’s, whooping cough was considered a childhood disease, mostly occurring in children between 1 and 5 years of age. (2)  It was thought to usually only occur once (6), and maternal immunity was thought to pass to babies under a year old. (2)
No carrier state exists. (1)  A carrier state means that you can pass the active bacteria to others, but that you have no symptoms of the disease.

How is Whooping Cough Treated?

Now, we’ll explore conventional treatment of pertussis.

At our doctors appointment, we were offered prescriptions for our 6 ½ month old boy for both antibiotics (approved for 6 months and up) and a cough suppressant.  I took the prescription, but came home to do a bit more research…this is what I found.

The CDC recommends treating whooping cough with antibiotics, but says “If treatment for pertussis is started early in the course of illness, during the first 1 to 2 weeks before coughing paroxysms occur, symptoms may be lessened. If the patient is diagnosed late, antibiotics will not alter the course of the illness and, even without antibiotics, the patient should no longer be spreading pertussis.” (5)

In other words, by the time you start coughing, it’s too late for antibiotics to do much good. 

But then, a couple of paragraphs down from this, they go on to say “A reasonable guideline is to treat persons aged >1 year within 3 weeks of cough onset and infants aged <1 year within 6 weeks of cough onset [with antibiotics].” (5)

The CDC confuses me.  I have no idea how those two statements can both be true…they seem contradictory to me.

Beyond antibiotics, no other mainstream medical interventions or therapies, including corticosteroids, cough suppressants or beta-blockers have proven beneficial in treating whooping cough. (2)  And if you saw the illustrations of what the disease does to the lung lining in my first post, you understand why.

My husband and I decided not to fill the prescription unless we felt that his symptoms turned into a concern for pneumonia.  Personally, I wonder if giving antibiotics alters the body’s ability to create antibodies against what it’s fighting, so I prefer to let nature take it’s course as long as he is improving and isn’t sickly or running a fever.

We’d had some good results already in treating and preventing whooping cough with natural remedies, so I began researching ways of helping my little buddy to heal up faster…which leads us to this post:

Questions about Whooping Cough vaccines, and the cause of the Epidemic?  Check out this great blog post over on Holistic Squid. (will open in a new window)

Sources cited:

1.  Dr. Neal R. Chamberlain,

Note: this study was funded by the “largest company in
the world devoted entirely to human vaccines.”  Just so you know.




6.  Whooping-cough;
its pathology and treatment, By Thomas Michael Dolan, 1882
(obviously, very inaccurate with regards to pathology, but interesting in
regards to immunity and history of the disease)



Whooping Cough III: Natural Remedies for Prevention and Treatment – 

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.

In case you missed it, Part I: Our Whooping Cough Story is here, and Part IIDangers, Diagnosis & Conventional Treatment is here.

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.Me-and-the-beach-stud

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.beach poic

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]
Research says:
-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)
Research says:
-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”
Research says:
-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!


Whooping Cough Stew
Author: Gwen
  • 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
Broth Instructions
  1. If you’re starting with bones and water, place them in a large pot.
  2. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for a couple of hours, skimming the top from time to time.
  3. Or you may alternatively place it all in the crock pot overnight on high.
  4. Strain broth through a sieve into a large soup pot, and follow instructions below.
Soup Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. Add pearled barley and oats, and continue to simmer for 45 minutes.
  3. Add in the fresh spinach and a bit of yeast just before serving.
I was a little surprised that the combination I made for my 7 month old baby smelled really good! The immersion blender did a great job of pureeing the food into a mush, and we froze most of it in ice cube trays.
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.

– See more at:

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.P1330859

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.

Sources cited:
(full disclosure: the last two books are linked through my Amazon affiliate account)
4. Essentials of Immunology and Serology, By Jacqueline Stanley, 2002
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?

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