The following is a traditional plant-based medicine for whooping cough:
Boil blossoms in water and strain. Add honey; bottle. Dosage: 1 teaspoon twice daily.
At the turn of the century, Granny Women attended to roughly fifty percent of the births in Southern Appalachia.  During the late 19th century and early 20th century, childbirth was dangerous, and Granny Women played an integral role in the survival or women in rural areas.  Even when a doctor was called to attend a birth, the baby was often born before the doctor could make the trip to a rural home; thus, mothers often had a Granny Woman in attendance in case the doctor was delayed. In instances where the doctor attended the birth, Granny Women often still assisted, as there were no trained nurses available at the time. Granny Women were not formally trained in midwifery, though those that were literate often carried a “midwife’s book” to reference during complicated births.  Granny women used a variety of techniques during the delivery, including superstitious rituals, pharmaceuticals, and herbal remedies. Often, Granny Women used rituals designed to give mothers psychological relief, such as having a woman hold her husband’s hat to symbolically bring him into the delivery room. Some other uses of ritual were placing an axe under the bed to symbolically “cut” the pain, or opening all the windows in the house to symbolically open the birth canal.
Granny Women often used herbal remedies, such as blackberry tea to prevent hemorrhaging, raspberry tea to relax the uterine muscles, or slippery elm bark to speed delivery.  In addition to these plant medicines, Granny Women often relied on pharmaceuticals such as laudanum, morphine, and quinine, which were readily available at local drugstores. When a mother’s pain became unbearable, Granny Women were not opposed to offering a morphine tablet.
Granny Women, unpaid and having nothing to gain from speedy labors, were far less likely than doctors to use forceps, and generally allowed nature to take its course.  Unlike doctors, Granny Women did not see their work as being complete once a mother had delivered a child, and often stayed to care for the newborn and the recovering mother. Thus, Granny Women provided a quality of care that physicians could not.
Some historians believe that paid physicians, seeing Granny Women as competition, launched a deliberate campaign to force them out of practice. Sandra Barney states, “If doctors were to be seen as the only legitimate childbirth attendants, they had to encourage mothers, and by extension their families, to reject midwifery and embrace modern, scientific medicine.”  Physicians accomplished this goal by enlisting “volunteers from their social and economic class to assist them in reshaping expectations about health and healing.”  While some Granny Women may have continued to practice healing in secret, by the early 1900s, few were visible in their communities.
2. Allured, Janet.
3. Masters, Harriet. “A Study of Appalachian Granny Woman Related to Childbirth Prevention Methods.” Master Thesis. East Tennessee State University, 2005.
4. Allured, Janet.
5. Allured, Janet.
6. Allured, Janet.
8. Barney, Sandra Lee. Authorized to Heal: Gender, Class, and the Transformation of Medicine in Appalachia,1880-1930.Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000.
9. Barney, Sandra Lee.