How to Treat Whooping Cough Naturally

This post contains affiliate links


Whether or not you choose to vaccinate, you may find yourself in need of natural remedies for whooping cough for you or your child.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory system infection caused by the Bordetella pertussis bacteria.  The disease involves 3 stages.

Stage 1 – lasts for 1 to 2 weeks and is characterized by low grade fever, runny nose, sneezing, and mild coughing.

Stage 2 – usually lasts from 1 to 6 weeks, and bears the tell-tale severe coughing episodes.  A “whooping” sound follows coughing, as the patient tries to intake air. Young children and infants sometimes need to be hospitalized during this stage to assist with breathing.

Stage 3 – is the “recovery stage” as coughing episodes gradually disappear over 2 to 3 weeks.

The vaccine for Whooping Cough is routinely given within the DTP shot, and cannot be administered separately. My experience is that whooping cough IS occurring, though rarely, and kids that are infected with whooping cough usually have some or all of their pertussis immunizations.  Parents should do their research before deciding about this and all other vaccines for their children.

How to Treat Whooping Cough Naturally

Whether you choose to have your child vaccinated or not, whooping cough infection is a possibility. Antibiotics are prescribed to prevent the spread of whooping cough and lessen its duration, but they have little if any effect on symptoms.

Since western medicine has very little to offer in the way of palliative treatment for whooping cough, it is very important for parents to be familiar with, have access to, and feel comfortable using alternative treatments. It’s especially important to know how to treat whooping cough naturally if you choose not to vaccinate.

There are several natural remedies that can effectively calm whooping cough symptoms:

Homeopathic Remedies

If you don’t have access to a practictioner, you can safely administer  these two very effective homeopathic remedies on your own:

  • Drosera is most effective if your child’s symptoms worsen in the middle of the night, or if fits are triggered by exertion.  Dosera is also recommended if gagging, retching or vomiting follow coughing fits.
  • Cuprum is a good remedy if coughing fits are rapid, last a long time and are very distressful for your child.  If coughing episodes result in gasping for air or difficulty breathing and end in exhaustion, Cuprum should be administered.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

In Chinese Medicine, whooping cough is called “bai ri ke” – literally, the “100 day  cough.”  Practitioners recognize the three stages of whooping cough for  treatment purposes.

  • Chinese Herbs – Very effective herbal remedies may be used at each whooping cough stage to expel pathogenic factors, restore balance, and promote healing.  Chinese herbal formulas for pertussis can be custom-made for the individual child’s constitution, symptoms, and stage of illness, so parents should seek out professional care with an experienced practitioner. My favorite formula is called Lung Qi Junior by Blue Poppy – available from TCM practitioners only, and able to calm the fiercest coughs.
  • Acupuncture – In 2003, the World Health Organization recognized the potential therapeutic effects of acupuncture on whooping cough symptoms.

Other Remedies

  • Nutritional Supplements: Vitamin C in a high oral dose, therapeutic doses of vitamin D, unprocessed cod liver oil and probiotics can help strengthen the immune system.  Children should drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, and avoid dairy products which can exacerbate symptoms.
  • Essential oils that may be helpful in easing the symptoms of Whooping Cough include tea tree oil, camphor, eucalyptus, lavender, chamomile and peppermint.  Massage onto your child’s chest and back in a carrier oil to soothe the cough.

What’s your best advice on how to treat whooping cough naturally?

Tell us in the Comments below!

Like What You've Read?
Subscribe to Holistic Squid by email and never miss a post!

Disclaimer and Affiliate Endorsement Information

Related posts that may interest you


  1. says

    Great suggestions for pertussis treatments! I’m going to add this link to my blog.

    Our family dealt with a whooping cough outbreak in 2010, and we treated it very successfully at home. I did lots of research, and discovered some nutrient rich foods that really supported healing in the lungs, and an herb that is AMAZING for coughing fits.

    I wrote out our experience, and what worked so well for us here:

    All in all, it was not a “fun” experience, but I learned a LOT, and I’m so glad my kids now have lifetime immunity. :)

    • says

      Hi Gwen! Just FYI, a one-time case of whooping cough doesn’t give you lifetime immunity. You’ll have an immunity after you get the disease, which will gradually decrease over time. Save your notes and pass them on to your kids. :)

    • Kari says

      Hi Gwen,
      Thanks so much for the incredibly in depth post. The power of plants is really amazing! Luckily we’ve never had whooping cough but if we ever do I will definitely be using these remedies!

  2. says

    Thanks for posting this!!! Question-we’ve been dealing with respiratory infections/issues all winter long. I’m 35 weeks pregnant and still coughing since November and my son ( 2 ) has had chest x-rays (which were negative for pneumonia). He’s been sick since November as well. I actually took him out of preschool because he was getting so sick. He was better for a month after I took him out, but is sick again with a cold and terrible cough!!! We have each been on two rounds of antibiotics (yuck!!) and I was on one round of steroids (double yuck). We do everything we can to stay healthy, take herbs, eat healthy foods, etc. Do those homeopathics that you listed work for all types of coughs, or is it specific to whooping cough. Just curious! Thanks for all your information. You have a wonderful website.

    • says

      Hi Jade – While I can’t give you medical advice on the internet, I personally believe that homeopathic remedies are safe for any age child. If he were my child, I would dissolve the pellet in water and give him a spoonful at a time.

  3. Natalie says

    My nearly 3 year old daughter was diagnosed with pertussis yesterday. It took 4 visits to the doctor to discover this. I am hoping she is in stage 2 of pertussis because she has been coughing for 4 weeks! We are doing colloidal silver, honey, turmeric, and tons of probiotics. I am going to call the health food store tomorrow about the drosera. The rest of the family and I are on antibiotics should we, too, be infected. This is a horrible experience and we are praying to see the light at the end of the tunnel!!

  4. Heather says

    I could have used this when I had pertussismy last month of pregnancy. My dr kept telling me it was a virus and I knew it wasnt. There’s nothing like it. I finally went into the er and they tested me and treated it with antibiotics. At that point it was so far “antibiotics dont do much.” When it came back positive it shocked my physician. It really is a long drawn out illness (July to October) and every little cold or illness reflares the cough. I remember coughing so hard I would throw up so much that I had bloodcing uo from my throat and not breathing for so long after coughing because you know you wont be better and literally all your air is gone. Id cough so hard Id get contractions and then I was so tired I couldnt leave my bathroom floor. I kept thinking how am I supposed to deliver a baby ehen I cant breathe and have no energy?! Plus Im her biggest threat while contagious. Plus being a public health “unusual” statistic is not fun. It all worked out.. I kept her as long as I could before going into labor.. but I NEVER wish pertussis on anyone.

  5. Kristin says

    Thank you so much for this post. I have an vaccine free 9 month old and we have friend whose kids were diagnosed recently with whooping cough. I have been trying to compile resources and a treatment plan just in case our family should experience this in the future. I will add your post to my list of those resources!

    • nichole says

      Hi Kristin- Would you mind sharing some of the other resources and treatments you’ve come up with? I have decided not to vaccinate my 2 month old, and just found out yesterday that a family member (not living with us) was diagnosed with pertussis. My older daughters are 3 and 6 and also unvaxed. I’m nursing my youngest and have faith that I have built up their immune systems, but I am still extremely anxious about that baby because of the higher chance of serious complications :(

  6. Vicky says

    I wonder if anyone has ever had any experience with this, I realize it’s from a book of fiction, but sometimes these things really do work. What I am referring to is in the book of Anne of Green Gables, Anne helps to save a young child by making her drink Ipecac Syrup. Now I realize that this makes them vomit, supposedly to help remove excess mucus and I am wondering if this was ever a real way of treating whooping cough?

  7. Chris says

    This is not a natural cure, but if you get desperate, I just wanted to let people know that I cured my son’s whooping cough (pertussis) with a nasal steroid (Nasonex). But I believe any nasal steroid would work. Nasal steroids are meant for the sinuses, but you need to try to get the steroid to the back nasal / bronchial area where the bacteria are lodged. I just had my son slowly breathe back through his nose ONLY as I was spraying it in so the medicine would travel past his sinuses and into the bronchial passage. He was 4 years old, and I gave him 2 sprays in each nostril 2 times a day; once in the morning and once in the evening. In the evening I had him lie flat on his back to try to get it to drip to the back of the bronchial area. The whooping cough was gone after 4 doses. I prayed and I believe God directed me to the Nasal steroid. My son only had the cough for about 4 days. Nasal steroids are pretty safe and I would have given it to my child even if he were an infant to save him from that whoop!!! I would probably have a baby lie flat after spraying it in to get it back as far as possible. I told my Doctor how it cured my son, but he just scoffed. I Guess because it’s not in the medical books, it really does not work!?! Well, this really worked for me; I hope it will help others.

  8. shannon says

    My kids were not vaccinated for Whooping Cough and the three of them caught it. The youngest was 4 months old at the time. My middle child has Down Syndrome and is prone to lung infections. We treated the cough very successfully with mega doses of Vit. C. (Sodium Ascorbate – powdered form). Just research Whooping cough and Vit. C. Dr. Suzanne Humphries has a lot of information on it. All three of the kids came through with no major issues. Baby was fine, as well as my little one with DS. Can’t say enough for the Vit. C therapy. We also didn’t take any antibiotics.

    • E.C. says

      Hi Shannon! I have a question for you….did you give your 4 month old the Vitamin C through the night as well? Or just heavily during the day? My kids have come down with it, and I have a 4 month old who just started her second week of being sick. I have been giving her mega doses of Vit C from the very beginning (son was diagnosed early on so I started things preventatively), and spacing about 5,000mg throughout the day. She has been sleeping fine at night, so I haven’t been giving it to her in the night, but I am not sure if that will cause the levels to deplete by the morning, causing symptoms to worsen. Also, did you notice that the C helped your infant during the worst stage? Did it decrease the severity and frequency of the coughing fits? I am anxious about this, praying the Vitamin C helps! So far, I’ve noticed with my older boys who are in their third week, they are sleeping through the night, and their coughing fits are barely anything, and last a few seconds. I don’t know if that is because the worst is yet to come, or because the C is working so great. 😛 And how did you know when you reached saturation with your infant? My daughter already has frequent runny bowel movements because she is solely breastfed. So I don’t know at what amount she is considered saturated.

  9. Kat says

    Hi Thank you for this! We successfully treated my 7 year old son with high doses of Vit-C and it worked! We initially did the antibiotics which immediately made his cough symptoms much worse, so then I found this site, and started to give him 500mg of Vit C mixed in diluted juice every 2 hrs (maxing out at about 2500 mg per day.) We kept him 100% dairy free (even butter) and sugar-free to reduce mucus and today he is back to school with almost no cough 5 days after the start of the Vit-C dosing! I am so impressed with how effective the high dose of Vit C really was. I also gave him a homeopathic children’s cough syrup that had drosera in it before bed. Last night he slept without a single cough. Be consistent with your Vit-C and whooping cough can be successfully beat!!

  10. Barb says

    When my 17yr old daughter said her cough was making it hard to breathe, we went to a walk-in clinic. The doctor gave her a nasal spray and cough expectorant. He did not diagnose it as anything in particular. Not getting any better, we went to another clinic and the doctor thought was whooping cough but did not take a swab. Antibiotics were prescribed so my daughter took the 10-day course of them. Then after researching online we discovered the antibiotics only make the patient non-contagious.

    So after about 2 weeks of this I contact my homeopath (don’t know why I didn’t think of this in the first place!) and she has given a liquid remedy. After taking this for 5 days my daughter says her cough and whoop are much worse. I know homeopathics sometimes make you feel worse before better, but does anyone think we may have begun the remedy too late? My daughter was actually feeling better prior to the homeopathics.

    Unfortunately she finished her antibiotics on a Friday morning and started the homeopathics on Friday night so we don’t really know what’s causing her to feel worse. I though that by now she would start feeling better. Does anyone have any thoughts about all this?

    By the way, my daughter had the first 2 vaccines as a baby but then I stopped vaccinating her due to personal choice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>