Whooping Cough Support

Here in Michigan, we have recently been experiencing a rise in cases of Pertussis or Whooping Cough, with a current total of 37 confirmed cases, mostly in school-aged children. When it comes to the spread of an illness such as whooping-cough, tensions can run high for parents. Many times, it turns into the blame game between vaccinated and unvaccinated families. (The cases here are close to 50/50 between vaccinated and unvaccinated (or not up to date on the vaccine), although that number fluctuates as new cases come forth. Many states have seen outbreaks where a majority of the children were vaccinated.) In my research of whooping-cough, it’s evident that most of the fear surrounding this illness comes from the fact that modern medicine is limited in its means to treat it and therefore relies almost solely on a vaccine and antibiotics. When those fail, fear ensues.

While whooping-cough can be alarming in babies, it doesn’t have to be a scary event when you know how to care for yourself and your family. Whether you are vaccinated or not vaccinated against this ailment, there are effective ways to lessen whooping-cough symptoms and to shorten the length of the illness should you or your family come down with it.

Below is a list of the most effective Homeopathic remedies and other valuable therapies to use should a case of whooping-cough affect you or someone you know. When choosing a Homeopathic remedy, choose the one that most closely matches as many of the symptoms as possible. If you are uncertain which remedy to use, contact a Certified Homeopathic Practitioner.

Drocera: This is the first remedy to consider in cases of whooping-cough. The coughing fits can be lengthy and severe, making it difficult to catch ones breath. The cough is generally worse after midnight and worse upon lying down. The cough may cause vomiting and can be painful. There may be a tickling or dryness in the throat, which can cause fits of coughing. The cough is generally not productive and the coughing fits can get worse in trying to reach the phlegm. This cough may cause nose bleeds.

Antimonium Tartaricum: This remedy is indicated when breathing and coughing is accompanied by loud rattling in the chest due to the mucus. While coughing it will sound as if there is an overwhelming amount of mucus but none will be produced from the cough. In addition, if this remedy is indicated, there will mostly likely be a great weakness and sleepiness present. It may seem as if the person needing this remedy is too weak to cough up the mucus.

Bryonia: This cough will be dry, hard and very painful. There may be a feeling that you must hold your chest in order to cough hard enough to get the phlegm to move up. The cough becomes worse during any movement and can be worse from eating and upon entering a warm room. The person who needs this remedy may continually want to be left alone and to lie perfectly still.

Causticum: This cough will get deeper and deeper as it persists to try to reach the mucus. The cough will be worse from cold drinks but will be better with bending over/forward. The cough may be hard and racking, with a raw feeling in the chest.

Coccus Cacti: This remedy is indicated when the cough produces a thick, clear, ropy mucus. Many times, because of this mucus, the cough with end in vomiting. The mucus may come out of the nose, as well as the chest. Drinking a cold glass of water or breathing in cold air may temporarily relieve the cough and the tickling that may be present in the throat. This cough is generally worse in a warm room.

Cuprum Metallicum: The cough that would indicate this remedy is very similar to the cough of Drocera except in this remedy you will see cramping of muscles, clenched fists and/or convulsions associated with the cough. There may be sudden coughing attacks that lead to near-suffocation. There may be blueness in the face, fingers or toes. The cough is generally worse in the middle of the night (around 3am) and if emotions run high (such as the child getting upset).

Ipecacuanha: This remedy is used mainly for children in situations of cough and is indicated when there is persistent nausea present that is not relieved by vomiting that follows the cough. This remedy should also be considered if the child becomes very stiff and rigid with the cough. The cough may rattle and can be worse when entering a warm room.

Spongia: The cough that will benefit from this remedy will be dry, tickling, constricting and painful (both in the chest and in the throat). The cough may be worse from talking and swallowing and can be characterized as a cough that sounds like a seal barking. It is generally worse before midnight and with cold drinks and may be temporarily alleviated by eating.

In addition to Homeopathy, there are other things you can do to lessen the symptoms and shorten the length of the illness.

Vitamin C: One of the most important things you can do is up your daily intake of vitamin C. Dosage depends on size/age. If you are unsure, contact your medical provider. Always consult your provider before administering vitamins to infants or young children.

Thyme Essential Oil: Put a few drops into a warm bath, diffuser or humidifier. The Thyme can help kill bacteria and the warm steam, in combination, can help loosen mucus and give relief from the cough. Other effective oils include: Eucalyptus, Rosemary, R.C., Marjoram and Pine.

Chest or Back Massage: You can mix a couple of drops of one of the oils listed above to a little olive oil for a chest or back massage.

Herbal and/or Ginger Tea: Unless your cough is one that is worse when you drink something warm, a nice warm glass of tea can be a relief. Choose your favorite and add fresh ginger for an immune boost and for help to excrete toxins (ginger can help you to “sweat it out”). Sweeten with honey if desired. Mullein is also a nice addition to your herbal tea. It is a natural expectorant and in many times, can be found right in your back yard.

Thieves Oil: This is an oil blend available at Young Living and it’s one of our favorites. When sick (with any cold, virus or bacterial infection) rub Thieves oils directly on the bottoms of both feet about an hour before bed. Put on a pair of very warm socks (double up if necessary, you want your feet to sweat while you sleep). Your body will absorb the oils and then when your feet begin to sweat during the night you will excrete some of the toxins that have built up during the illness. This has always worked wonders for our family in lessening the symptoms and shortening the length of almost every illness.

Light, Easy Meals: Soups and broths are the best. If your cough is worse from drinking or eating warm foods/liquids try a variety of juices. It is important to stay away from dairy as it can increase the amount of mucus.

Rest, Rest, Rest: While sleep will be interrupted with coughing, it is important to rest as much as possible when you can. Prop yourself or your child up with a few pillows if lying down aggravates the cough.

While whooping-cough can put anyone in an undesirable situation, there are things you can do to help you and your family during this bout of illness.

Mullein

Mullein

**We do not diagnose or treat disease. The information provided herein is for educational purposes only.  If you require a diagnosis or if your situation is emergent and life-threatening, please consult a licensed medical doctor.

Echinacea Tincture

It’s fall here in Northern Michigan.  The flowers in our garden are fading, the squash is ready to harvest and the Echinacea is ready to be dug up and preserved.

As many of you know, Echinacea is an immune supporter.  It can assist your body in warding off colds and flus and can help in recovery if you do come down with an illness.

We have Echinacea all over our little stretch of the woods and this is the time of year we harvest the roots for tincture.

It is best to harvest the plants when the flowers begin to die off and the stems begin to brown.  The nutrients of the plant begin to receded back down into the roots, making them more potent.

echinacea

To harvest, you only need a few sections of the plant.  A little goes a long way.  Echinacea spreads wonderfully, so using a few plants for their roots shouldn’t deplete your supply, as long as you leave some plants in the ground.  Our garden started out with only 2 plants and now we have close to 50.  Each fall I will gently dig up 3 or 4 for their roots.

  • After you dig up the plants, you can cut off the stem.  You will only use the roots.
  • Gently wash the roots.  I run them under warm water and use a toothbrush to remove the dirt.  Be sure to take the time to remove all of the dirt from the roots.
  • Once all of the dirt is removed and the roots are clean, use a sharp knife to cut the root into small pieces.
  • Fill an amber glass dropper bottle (I use a 4 oz. bottle) 1/4 to 1/2 full with the root.
  • Pour 100 proof vodka into the dropper bottle until full.
  • Let the tincture sit for at least one month in a cool, dry place before using.  Shake the bottle daily during this time.
  • If you choose, you can strain the root out using a funnel and cheesecloth, putting the liquid into a new, clean dropper bottle.
  • To use, put a few drops directly under your tongue daily during cold and flu season.  You can use up to 3 times a day when sick.  You can also add a couple of drops to a cup of hot tea or juice.

If you are opposed to the alcohol content within the tincture you can also dry the roots instead of steeping them in alcohol.  Use a standard or solar dehydrator to dry them.  (We got our dehydrator from www.dryit.com and we love it.  You can also build your own.)  Store the roots, once dried, in an air tight container, such as a mason jar.  To use, steep a few small pieces of the root into some hot tea.  I usually crush them a little too.  I do this for our kids when they have a cold and usually add a little fresh ginger and honey.

Most of what we grow in our garden is either edible or medicinal and out of all of the plants we grow, Echinacea is one of our favorites.

Lavender Oil

Every year we try new things with the lavender we harvest.  We use it for baking, decoration, sachets, soaps, medicine and more.  

Recently we took a stab at making lavender oil, which can be used as a bug repellant, to aid in restful sleep and for perfume.  It’s also wonderful in removing the itch from mosquito bites and taming dandruff.

How to make lavender Oil:

1.  Harvest the lavender.

2.  Remove the flowers and put into a jar with a tight-fitting lid.

3.  Add Organic Olive Oil or Grapeseed Oil to the jar.

4.  Let the oil and lavender sit for one month in a cool, dark place.  Shake the jar daily.

5.  After one month, using a funnel and cheesecloth, strain the oil from the flowers into a new, clean jar.  Many people will discard the olive oil but we did not.  It smells too nice and is great for adding to shampoo/conditioner or using directly on your scalp for healthy hair.  You can also use the olive oil as a bug repellant by dabbing some on your neck and behind your ears.

6.  Once the olive oil is drained, express the lavender oil from the flowers using two spoons.  Put some flowers onto one spoon.  Use the other spoon to press down and expel the oil.  Store the oil in amber glass bottles/jars.  Enjoy.

lavender

Healing Comes in All Forms

There are times when people tell me they are surprised if I take an Ibuprofen for a headache or that I have, on occasion, popped an antihistamine.  More recently I had a severe allergic reaction to something and had to be on prednisone for a few days to get over the worst of it.  I didn’t like it, but I accepted it. 

Yes, as much as possible, I believe in natural healing, natural medicine and health through means other than the allopathic path and use of harsh medicine.  However, I also realize that every form of healing has its place.  If one of my girls breaks an arm, a homeopathic remedy alone is not going to put it back into place, relieve the pain and allow it to heal.  Initially we may need allopathic care.  Or a severe allergic reaction, like the one I had a couple of weeks ago, could not be helped with herbs alone.  The predinose got me through the worst of it, and possibly saved my life.  Now, I can use the natural medicine I prefer to heal (from both the allergic reaction and the predinsone) and to prevent a future occurrence.  Every modality has its place.

Healing can also come from places other than the remedies or medicine we take.  It can come from meditation, stress relief, excercise, spending time with people we love and from simple actions we take.  This past weekend, I harvested and dried oregano, one of my favorite tasks.  For me, this process is meditative and relaxing; carefully cutting the stems, gently removing the leaves, smelling the sweet, yet spicy aroma of the plant fill my kitchen.  To me, this is healing, just as much as the homeopathic remedy I took this morning.  My mind cleared and I was completely swept up into the simple act of drying this herb.  Everything else fell away.  Everything we do has the potential to be a healing task if we allow it to be; typing on the computer, drying herbs, driving to work, all of it.  If we choose, in every moment, to let go into the task before us it can be a healing moment.  Let go into the doing.  Let go into just being.  Let go into the moment and make your whole day a time for healing.  If there is a task you just can’t let go into, one that continues to cause stress instead of healing,  perhaps it’s time to examine that task and change course.  Maybe the healing is to come by showing you it’s time to do something new? 

Mullein

Did you know that you can tell what colds and illnesses may be abundant in the coming winter just by looking at the “weeds” and plants that are growing in your yard or area in the summertime?  Last year my yard was full of Mullein and our winter ended up being filled with coughs and respitory illnesses.  Many people I know had coughs that lasted for months at a time.  It just so happens that Mullein is one of the leading herbal remedies for coughs.  A tea made from dried leaves and flowers does a wonderful job of relaxing the cough and healing the lungs.

As I look out into my yard this summer I see only a few tall, healthy and beautiful Mullein plants.  Perhaps the respitory infections won’t be as bad this winter, but we will still be drying some leaves and flowers just in case.

Mullein

Mullein