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Whooping Cough

Parts of this were taken with permission from Essential Oils Overview and Reference Guide, published by: The Family Tree, 2008


Whooping cough is a respiratory bacterial infection scientifically known as pertussis or Bordetella pertussis. This is a highly contagious disease that is easily passed to others through coughing and tiny droplets containing the bacteria being transferred to others. It is limited in our day because of the prevalence of vaccination. The cases that do occur now are typically among infants where the vaccination has not been completed or adolescents and adults because the immunization tends to weaken over time.

After exposure it takes about a week for the first symptoms, similar to a common cold, to appear. Then in 1 to 2 weeks the characteristic dry cough begins and this lasts up to 6 weeks. The name whooping cough comes from this coughing period, which for many includes uncontrolled coughing with a lack of breath, and then a whooping sound as the person tries to catch their breath after the coughing episode. These coughing episodes may be more acute with younger children than with infants or adults. Coughing spells can include uncomfortable gasping for breath, vomiting and temporary unconsciousness.


[search helps: Bordetella parapertussis]

Oils, blends & products recommended:

Oils & Blends:  Respiratory Blend, CypressEC, Frankincense, GrapefruitC, LavenderEC, Protective Blend, OreganoEC

Essential oils based products:

Also consider: BasilEC, Clary SageEC, Eucalyptus, Lemongrass, Lime, MelaleucaC, RoseC, RosemaryE, ThymeEC

Note: to understand the E and C superscript go to Home and scroll to New Helps.

Suggested protocols:

Adults: 5 drops Protective Blend, 2 drops each Frankincense and Oregano in a capsule, take 2 times per day. Or 2 - 3 drops of Oregano to bottoms of feet 3 times per day.

Children/infants: Layer on the chest Thyme, then Cypress, then Eucalyptus and follow with warm compress. Use a carrier oil appropriately for small children and infants. Repeat every 1 -3 hours. Also alternate 1 -2 drops Protective Blend and Oregano on the bottoms of the feet.

Everyone: Diffuse Respiratory Blend and Lemongrass as often as possible. Use Digestive Blend for nausea and vomiting.


Other great blends for coughs in general:


In 4 oz of virgin coconut oil add:

40 drops Respiratory Blend

7   drops Thyme

15 drops Oregano

40 drops Lime

This may be put in a jar and used as a chest rub, massage between shoulder blades, put on bottoms of feet, etc. This is a big enough batch that you can have several roll-ons and still have some to put in a small jar. For really stubborn respiratory cases with a stubborn cough I have added a few drops of Patchouli and Sandalwood to the blend and put in a capsule.


Brenda's blend for little people

2 drops Sandalwood

2 drops Myrrh

2 drops Protective Blend

2 drops Frankincense

In a capsule or on bottoms of the feet


Ame from Guatemala's blend

For her small children 3 years old and 4 months old:

Grounding Blend and Protective Blend on their feet morning and night.

Respiratory Blend on the chest and back

Frankincense with coconut oil on the throat

Peppermint if there is a fever


Amelia's blend

Layered directly on the chest:

1-2 drops Respiratory Blend

then layer 1-2 drops Rosemary

Experiences and Testimonials of others

Submissions directly to  EverythingEssential.me.  Our thanks to:


Cherilyn - I  know the testimonies are simply what has worked for people but when I read about whooping cough I was a bit concerned as you can't just have it slightly nor just a week. It is a terrible experience to say the least and oils can help but not cure quickly - it has to run its course. Anyway, I'm just concerned about what people are posting when they obviously have no clue about it


April - Well, my 2-year old daughter has whooping cough and I suspect that could be the case for some other people out there too. It often just shows up like a cold or upper respiratory infection in older kids and adults. I have it too now but it's very minor. My little girl is still up a lot at night with this. We have already given antibiotics, something I had never done and only did to protect the population from the spread of the illness. I have been trying everything for her cough and nothing seems to help at all. Does anyone have any good advice or experience with this and could help me? I have tried so many oils on her, I am diffusing, vaporizing at night, Frankincense on her feet 3x a day, Protective Blend, Respiratory Blend, everything! Even trying honey, homemade grape juice, ginger.... I don't know what else to do?

Lynn – Have you tried oregano on the bottom of her feet? I would do it three times a day.

Vikki - My 10 year old daughter had a stubborn cough, probably caused by post nasal drip - I tried every oil I could think of, and every combination, and nothing helped. It finally stopped after she had Reiki. Sorry it's not an oil answer, I'd be much happier if it was, but I was desperate to stop the coughing!

Brenda - A great cough blend is (for a little person) 2 drops sandalwood, 2 drops myrrh, 2 drops Protective Blend and 2 drops frankincense in a capsule. It works like a charm.

Amelia - We have found that layering 1-2 drops Respiratory Blend then 1-2 drops rosemary on top of that takes coughs away. Not sure about whooping cough but it has worked for bronchitis as well as asthma coughs...would not hurt to try this and I'd even layer in the myrrh since it is an expectorant. Of course with your 2 year old you will want to dilute these oils so as not to harm her delicate skin...we just layer these on the chest and neck areas.

April - Thank you I will try that. I don't have myrrh, would sandalwood or frankincense work in its place possibly? I think sandalwood has been helping a little layering with Grounding Blend and Respiratory Blend at night but she is still waking up at least every 2 hours coughing, sometimes more. Thanks again! … She is sleeping a bit better with the sandalwood and Frankincense at night on the chest so thanks for all the suggestions!! I will keep trying, Whopping Cough is hard to get rid of.


Lori - I have read past posts with this concern, but I have not seen any success replies from those with the original concern.  Great advice is always given, but what are the success stories?  I personally may have a 4 year old and 20 month old with it or pneumonia.  I will be doing a chest x-ray on one this week.  Most who have this are under 6 yrs old and I am interested in oils / blends that are safe for small children.

Ame - Hi! I started using (...) because I saw a difference with my son who is 3 years and 7 months old now. At his age he has been 13 times at the hospital with respiratory issues such as bronchitis. Every month he was sick and doctors gave him antibiotics and mists with steroids every month! Since I have started using oils I apply Grounding Blend and Protective Blend on his feet am and pm. I also use Respiratory Blend on his chest and back when he has cough and Frankincense with coconut oil on his throat. Since then, he has only been sick 2 times but no hospital, no antibiotics, no mists, no steroids, not even a doctor consultation! And in case of fever, just Peppermint. Now I'm very excited to start with Thyme. And, "just in case" I use same routine of Grounding Blend and Protective Blend with my little daughter who is just 4 months old.

Tara - My 2 yr old daughter and I both just recovered from whooping cough using only essential oils and natural products.  It is known as the 100-day cough and we are almost completely done coughing after only 6 weeks, compared with the 3-4 months I was told to expect.  I am not a doctor, so remember this is just my experience.  Please know that my daughter has used oils since the day she was born, and all through my pregnancy, so I do not really dilute as much as other people may recommend.  I think you really have to use the oils based on your own children and exposure.  

For my daughter I would layer Thyme, Cypress and Eucalyptus on her chest with FCO and apply a warm compress until it was cool.  We did this every hour she was awake. On the half hour between the compress I would alternate every other time applying Protective Blend or Oregano with FCO to her feet.  I only used the Oregano for the initial 5 days of the cough, then I would use only Protective Blend for 10 days before resuming alternating for another 5 days.  At this time I would also give her 3-4 droppers of colloidal silver. We diffused Lemongrass or Respiratory Blend all day and all night throughout our house.  

I also gave her a probiotic daily.  I used Digestive Blend when her stomach was upset and also at night because her coughing would sometimes be so severe that she would vomit at the end, this seemed to help reduce that.  The only way I varied this for myself as an adult was to take the Oregano in a capsule.  

Brenda - Last year my granddaughter had Reactive Airway Disease (RAD) because of the wildfires here in Texas.  She was only 10 months old and it was hard to watch her suffer.  I wanted to create a chest rub that could be used easily.  Here is the recipe which I have shared many times and have had good results and testimonies from other who have tried it. I hope it is beneficial to you and others as well.


In 4 oz of virgin coconut oil add:

40 drops (...) (xxx) Respiratory Blend

7   drops (...) (xxx) Thyme

15 drops (...) (xxx) Oregano

40 drops (...) (xxx) Lime

This may be put in a jar and used as a chest rub, massage between shoulder blades, put on bottoms of feet, etc. This is a big enough batch that you can have several roll-ons and still have some to put in a small jar. For really stubborn respiratory cases with a stubborn cough I have added a few drops of Patchouli and Sandalwood to the blend and put in a capsule.


Gretchen – I met a woman who suspects her 3 month old son has whooping cough. It’s something that is going around in our area. She is a worried momma who doesn’t have any experience with essential oils. I would love suggestions.

Ramona – My gut response would be lots of eucalyptus.

Pat – I would also suggest eucalyptus and also Protective Blend on the bottom of his feet.


Janice - I saw a story on the news that there are some confirmed cases of whooping cough where I live. This kind of thing always makes me nervous.  I saw that Thyme was recommended for it but was that if a person already had it?  Are there steps I can take to protect us before we could pick it up?

Amelia - A friend says use Protective Blend and Oregano on bottoms of your feet daily as a preventative measure. I'd say along with that diffusing Protective Blend and using the Protective Blend soap can only give you and your family extra protection, that's just my opinion. 

Tara - I would diffuse Lemongrass. It is very effective against airborne bacteria, which is what pertussis is. You can only get it by breathing it in the air because it is not resilient on surfaces.

Emily - Honestly, I think my husband had this last week.  He seriously sounded like pneumonia or something.  He took capsules of 5 drops Protective Blend, 2 drops Oregano and 2 drops Frankincense twice a day for a few days and it all cleared up completely.  I think it was whooping cough.  He sounded awful; seriously, I thought he was going to crack a lung or something.  He also did sinus rinses with a neti pot and applied Respiratory Blend--those didn't work as well as the Protective Blend capsules.

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NOTE: The advice shared in this site has not been evaluated by the FDA. The products and methods recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease, nor is it intended to replace proper medical help. As members offer or look for answers, kindly understand that essential oils work to help to bring the body into balance - thus helping the body's natural defenses to restore homeostasis. Essential oils are not used to "treat" medical problems.