Natural Home Remedies for Croup

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Recently a friend of mine's little six month old came down with croup. I don't have personal experience with croup, but thought I would share with you her natural remedies for treating her son at home. (Bear in mind, neither of us are medical professionals, just one momma talking about her experience, and another sharing it with you.)

What is Croup?

I was not familiar with croup until my friend's baby came down with it. She described her son as having a cough like a "barking seal". According to

Croup is a condition that causes an inflammation of the upper airways — the voice box (larynx) and windpipe (trachea). It often leads to a barking cough or hoarseness, especially when a child cries. Most cases of croup are caused by viruses... Viral croup is most common — and symptoms are most severe — in children 6 months to 3 years old... Most cases of viral croup are mild and can be treated at home. Rarely, croup can be severe and even life threatening. The term spasmodic croup refers to a type of croup that develops quickly and may happen in a child with a mild cold. The barking cough usually begins at night and is not accompanied by fever.... Treatment of symptoms is the same for either form of croup. (Source)

The origin of the names seems to pretty accurately describe the symptoms of the disease. Croup is an Early English Modern verb meaning "to cry hoarsely".  How can you tell if your child has croup? It starts with cold-like symptoms (runny nose, fever, etc) but as the upper airway becomes inflamed, the child has a high-pitched or squeaking noise and a loud cough like a barking seal. Symptoms are worse at night than during the day. 

Natural Home Remedies for Croup

The following ideas are from my friend whose 6 month old recently had croup: 

"If your child gets croup, here are some things to do. 

  • Put the child in the bathroom and run the shower or get in the shower with the baby. Moisture helps a lot with croup. 
  • Also, a humidifier by the bed and going out into the cold night air for a bit. These things really work. I even put my baby in front of the humidifier for a while. 

It was really bad the second night and he was having trouble breathing and barking alot, so those were the tactics we used to get him through the night. During the day, it gets much better, so I had a chance to figure out a plan for the night - the methods I mentioned above plus onion poultice. The next day, I looked up the old:

  • Onion poultice techniqueBefore we went to bed that night,  I cut up half an onion and sauteed it in a little bit of olive oil - until before it begins to brown. I put it in a muslin bag (you could use any cloth) so that it was covered with a couple layers of cloth - about 4 to 6 square inches. I waited for it to get warm (not hot) to the touch. Then I put it on his chest/neck area and put a towel over it and a hot water bottle over that. I waited about 30 minutes. 

I wasn't sure if it did anything, so I took it off. Within 5 minutes he took one of those big deep baby breaths. So then I knew it had helped. 

During that night, he still had the croupy (barking seal) fits a couple more times. I used another onion poultice (I had chopped up some onions to have them ready to cook for late night). Again, after the poultice was taken off, he took a deep breath without coughing. That was the last time I used the poultice (just used it twice). That night was better. Then, the next night, he slept all the way through the night. 

He now (6 days later) has a mild cough (which may be partially due to all the saliva collecting from pre-teething) and sleeps through the night. 

  • Oh, and most importantly, breast-feeding. He breast fed like a fiend the whole time. 

I actually started getting a sore throat and sick at the same time and decided I should try a little bit of my own milk. It was unbelievable how my sore throat was coated and I felt much better for a little while. I partook a few hours later and, again, so healing. My sickness never actually got full blown. I think that probably helped him the most. Anyway, thought this might help someone, since croup is going around."

So glad they are doing better! Hopefully none of you have to deal with croup. But if you do, maybe her experience can help a little.

Have you dealt with croup? What would you advice for home remedies?

Be healthy. Be well.


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  1. Croup is so scary. The onion poultice sounds like it worked great. Interesting about the effect of breastmilk on a sore throat.
    Thanks for sharing on Natural Living Monday!

    1. It sounds super scary! Thanks for stopping in. Hope you have had a great week.

  2. My firstborn had croup twice - once at age 7! Scary both times, and the only thing that helped each time was getting her into the cold night air. They actually gave her steroids at the hospital; that's a huge no-no for this mama. BTW, I found that breastmilk was the absolute best thing for diaper rash, too. Just squirt on and let dry before putting on a clean diaper.

    1. How awful for momma and baby! So glad it's over. It is amazing how we can "bend" our ideas when our baby is sick. I have been there done that. And it won't be the last time!

      FYI I just tried your diaper rash idea. Awesome! Thanks for sharing such a great tip.

      Hope you are good!


  3. The powers of breast milk and onions! I have never done an onion poultice but I think we will try it next time. Thanks for sharing! We also make our own chest rub. Poor things. Babies are just so sad when they are sick :(

    Thanks for sharing on Natural Living Monday! I am excited to see what you have to share this week.

    1. Hey, Amanda! Thanks for stopping in. "The powers of breast milk and onions!" Ha ha. Love it. So true. :)

      Do you have a link for the chest rub you make? Super intrigued...


  4. I used to get the croup and my mom would fry up some onions and when they were ready she would put a big gob of mentholatom on a towel and pour the onions on top, I wore this all night and by morning the onions would be black and I could breath and wouldn't need another treatment until I come down with it again.


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