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How We Managed Whooping Cough

by Susan on August 30, 2014

Ok.  I’ll admit it.  I was petrified when I realized what Mary Anne had.  I knew, somehow, I just KNEW that it wasn’t just a cold.  It was something more.

It started with a low grade fever and a tickly, annoying cough.  Then a bit of diarrhea that lasted for 3 or 4 days.  Nothing severe but enough to make me wonder what was going on.  I had memorized the symptoms of just about any and all childhood diseases since we made our decision not to vaccinate.


The symptoms “went away” for a few days and she seemed better. Then, as suddenly as they “went away”, back came the cough, and this time it was different.  And I knew, I just knew what this was.


I called our Health Practitioner and asked her if Pertussis was going around.  She said she hadn’t heard of any cases but it was certainly possible.  She thought I had better bring Mary Anne in for a test the next day.


The test came back positive.  All of us were given antibiotics since Pertussis is a bacterial infection.  Steve, Hannah, and I never developed symptoms but Abigail did.  She had begun the “tickly cough” the day I called our Health Practitioner.


Thus began the battle with Whooping Cough.


Did you also just get a diagnosis of Whooping Cough or are you simply wanting to be prepared?  Here’s the protocol we followed to manage the symptoms.  The methods and remedies below will not cure the disease – there is no known cure – but you can lessen the severity of the symptoms.  The course of the illness is about 12 weeks.  Be prepared for week after week of interrupted sleep.  Be prepared to watch your child cough & gag until you’re sure they’re not going to breathe!  (“Please GOD!  Let the child BREATHE!!!”)  Yes, really.  But, YOU CAN GET THROUGH THIS!!! 

Now, let me say I AM NOT A DOCTOR or anything other than a Mom that has nursed her daughters through this disease!  If you suspect Whooping Cough, get the child tested.   You won’t know for certain what you’re dealing with until you get a test result.  The following is NOT INTENDED TO BE MEDICAL ADVICE!!!  This is simply how WE dealt with this disease.  Do your own research and get first hand advice from a health practitioner!

1.  First of all, no milk products at all.  Milk produces phlegm which is NOT what you want – more phlegm!  Plenty of herbal tea (as outlined below), greens-powder drinks, water, etc.

2.  No “solid food”.  Only easily digested food like soups, freshly made.  They need as much nutrition as possible right now.  I made tons of vegetable soup, pureed it in a blender.  Broccoli, asparagus, carrots, kale, anything, just lightly cook it and puree it.  The girls didn’t even know what they were eating!  :)  That way, if they do throw up, at least it won’t be a disastrous mess and it’s less likely that they will aspirate and choke.  Scary thought I know.  Just soups, etc. for a while.

3.  Red Clover flower tea – Make this fresh several times every single day and give it  by the tablespoonful all day long.  If the child is older than 1 he/she can have raw honey in the tea.  I was in our yard every single day picking flowers & making tea.  The tea can be made from fresh or dried flowers.  Dried flowers and an herbal Cough Remedy tea are available at The Bulk Herb Store – click on the pink box at the bottom left hand side of this page.  Here is a post on the medicinal and nutritional benefits of Red Clover Flowers – click here.

4.  I also made a “cough syrup” – raw honey, juice & pulp of one organic lemon, a little ginger (either raw & grated or a tiny bit of powdered ginger) – mix it together and give it to them on a spoon – Abby & Mary liked it, thought it was a treat.

The lemon & ginger helps break up the phlegm.  Raw honey is antibacterial & antiviral (whooping cough is bacterial, a cold is viral).

5.  Warm Lemon Chest Compresses – Slice up a lemon or two, barely heat the slices in water on the stove – don’t boil or it will kill the beneficial oil of the lemons – take a washcloth and soak it in the lemon water, gently ring it out, apply the cloth to their chests. Keep dipping the cloth in the water.   Make sure it stays warm.  Its soothing and it helps break up the junk in their chests.  Do this 3 or 4x a day.


6.  Chest Decongestant Creams – I also applied a chest decongestant cream to their chests and feet & put warm socks on.  I made a big deal out of it, like it was a foot massage – they loved it.  The cream is made by BeeYouTiFul and is available here.  Why to the feet?  Sounds odd I know.  My Naturopathic Doctor friend, Ann, suggested it.  I’ve read (somewhere in one of my many herbals) that it is helpful to apply it to the feet.


I also had one of those Vicks steam things going all the time.  I now have a Young Living Oils diffuser but the Vicks one worked pretty well – it was all I had then!
Other herbs that are useful for Whooping Cough and colds/flus with coughing – Mullein, Colt’s Foot, and Wild Cherry.  Thyme baths are also helpful.  The steam vapor, along with the thyme, helps to calm the throat and lungs.

One thing to remember – it does get better.  It took about 12 weeks all told and only 2 or 3 weeks were fairly stressful.  They learned how to ride their bikes and jump rope while they had it!  They would stop riding their bikes, cough, spit, and keep riding.  It did NOT slow them down.  They have been more ill with the Flu than Whooping Cough, although it did last a long time.   I didn’t give them any Tylenol or any fever reducer because I wanted the fever to do its cleansing work.  (Why children need fevers – click here).  I honestly believe they are healthier today having gone through it.  When they do get a cold it only lasts 2 days max.



Please remember – I AM NOT A DOCTOR.  I am only sharing with you what worked for us.  I did not try Mullein, Colt’s Foot, or Wild Cherry – all are listed in many of my herbals as good remedies for Whooping Cough.  I have never used them for coughs as Red Clover worked wonderfully for us.  I only used what I had on hand right then and that was many reddish purple flowers blooming all over the yard…



Please do your own research, gather your own supplies, etc.  Maybe Red Clover doesn’t grow in your yard but in early spring you’ve got colt’s foot everywhere.  By all means, use what you have!


If you would rather purchase dried herbs, please visit The Bulk Herb Store by clicking on the pink box in the bottom left corner of this page.  They have a large selection of herbs, supplies, and information.  My favorite herbal site!  :)


Questions?  Go ahead and leave a comment below or on my FB page –  I’d love to hear from you!


Homemade Facial Masks and Scrubs!

by Susan on August 25, 2014

Facial masks and scrubs are used to remove dead skin cells from the skin’s surface.  Unlike many commercial masks and scrubs that can be bought at the store or online, homemade products contain no nasty chemicals or otherwise harsh ingredients.  The recipes included below contain items that you probably already have in your cupboard, or they can be easily found at a health food store.


Something to remember!  Just because the recipe is for a SCRUB it doesn’t mean you need to SCRUB YOUR POOR SKIN!  Your face is not your bathtub or sink!!  Very gentle, circular rubbing motion is all you need.  Let the product do the work.  :)


Some of the recipes can double as a mask too.  My only suggestion is that you prepare one “application” at a time as they don’t “keep” if mixed.  The dry ingredients can be sifted together and stored in a ziploc bag or a clean dry glass jar, just don’t add the wet ingredients until you plan on using the product.

Bentonite Clay

Basic Clay Mask and/or Scrub

1 Tbs Bentonite Clay (available at The Bulk Herb Store – pink box at the bottom of this page)

purified water (either distilled or boiled, then cooled to room temp)


Combine clay and 1 teaspoon of water to make a spreadable paste, allowing it to thicken for about a minute.  Massage onto face, rinse if only using as a scrub; allow to dry, then rinse if a mask is desired.  Use daily or weekly as desired.  Follow with a good moisturizer (like this cold cream recipe).


Oatmeal Mask or Scrub

1 TBS freshly ground oat flour (grind up 1/2 cup rolled oats in your blender or food processor – you’ll get oat flour!)

purified water


Prepare and use as the Clay Mask/Scrub above.


Cornmeal and Honey Mask or Scrub

1 1/2 tsp. cornmeal

1 tsp warmed honey

1/2 tsp purified water

Combine and use as the above recipes.


Oats and Honey Mask or Scrub

1 – 2 TBS oat flour

1 – 2 tsp warmed honey

1/2 tsp purified water

This one is my favorite!!  Leaves your skin incredibly soft & smooth.  :)  Use as the above recipes.


Oily Skin Scrub

1/2 cup oat flour

1/2 cup almond meal

1 TBS sea salt

1 tsp peppermint AND 1 tsp rosemary leaves (dried)

witch hazel


Thoroughly blend all dry ingredients in a small bowl.  Add enough witch hazel (1 tsp or 2 at a time) to make a paste.  Massage scrub onto face & throat area, rinse.


Did you know you can prepare a spa-quality microdermabrasion treatment right at home?  Here’s what you need:

1 TBS baking soda

1 1/2 tsp purified water

1 or 2 drops essential oil – lavender, rose are good choices.


Combine into a thin paste.  Lightly massage onto face using tiny circular motions for several minutes – rinse.  Voila!  Smooth, velvety skin!


Raw Yogurt and Strawberry Mask

1/2 cup raw yogurt

1 TBS mashed fresh strawberries

Combine well in a small bowl, apply to face as masks above.  Leaves skin so soft!  Smells good too!  :)


Raw Egg Yolk Acne Mask

This one really works!  I had adult onset acne, not a terrible case, but a pimply face nonetheless.  The high amounts of vitamin A in egg yolks is perfect to combat acne.  All you need is a raw egg yolk or two.  It’s a bit messy, yes, but spread it onto your face and let it dry for 15 minutes or so.  Do this 2x a week and watch your face transform!  (Or at least it worked for me – I can’t make any promises, but what have you got to lose except pimples??)


(Some of these recipes were adapted from “Organic Body Care and Recipes” by Stephanie Tourles, Storey Publishing, 2007.  Some were recipes that I came up with myself and have used for many years!)


Do you have a recipe to share or a question?  Go ahead and leave a comment below or on my FB page at



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