Last Modified on Jun 18, 2014
What Is Croup?
Typically considered a childhood health concern, croup is the infection of the upper airway that is characterized by obstructed breathing and a distinctive “barking” croup cough. Generally occurring in the fall and winter, croup causes swelling and narrowing of the voice box, windpipe, and the breathing tubes that are connected to the lungs. This swelling and constriction can make breathing difficult for the affected child.
While a croup attack may be scare, it is not typically considered medically serious and can often be treated at home. Often beginning as the “common cold,” croup develops as inflammation and coughing progress. Coughing is typically worse at night and can be provoked by crying, anxiety, and agitation. Additional symptoms include fever, sore throat, hoarse voice, and noisy or labored breathing.
Usually caused by a viral infection, the most common cause of croup is parainfluenza virus. The virus may be contracted by breathing in infected respiratory droplets that have been coughed or sneezed into the airspace. The virus may also exist on toys and other frequently touched surfaces. Infection typically begins in the nasal passage and spreads to the vocal cords and windpipe.
Natural Treatment Options and Remedies for Croup
As scary as the croup cough and labored breathing may sound, less than 5 percent of patients develop airway obstruction serious enough to necessitate hospitalization or serious medical treatment. As such, natural treatment options typically do just the trick to cure croup. Natural treatment options include aconite, honey and cinnamon, hydrogen peroxide, and a mixture of sugar and turpentine. Additionally, changing the diet to remove added sugar and eliminate dairy may also eradicate some of the mucus causing the coughing and inflammation typical of croup. Treating possible allergens with local honey and drinking additional water to remain well hydrated also cure the croup cough and condition.
[YEA] 04/14/2010: B Davey from Copacabana, Australia: "Both my boys have allergies and both had croup regularly as young children with difficulties breathing. Initially I tried the steroids which worked but only by suppressing the immune system. I looked for an alternative. I found the homeopathic remedy Aconite worked a treat on both of them and they would be back to sleep with regular breathing within 1/2 an hour.
[YEA] 06/20/2010: Josey from Las Vegas, Nv: "My 4 year old son began the croup cough last night. He woke up crying. I read somewhere that honey and cinnamon was good for a cough. My husband used it for a cough he had for about 3 months that wouldn't go away and it worked for him. My son doesn't like cinnamon, but he took the honey. We sat up for a little and his cough entirely went away. We put him back to bed. He coughed maybe once or twice the rest of the night. He's been fine all day today and is currently sleeping like a baby! Hope this works for someone else!"
10/06/2009: Linn from Los Angeles, Ca: "i am looking for home and natural remedies for croup. my little brother has had it on and off for years and now the dr is saying he should take steroids. I don't want him to do that because he is only 13."Replies
10/07/2009: Lisa from Thousand Oaks, Ca, USA replies: "That is very caring of you. To not want your younger brother to have to take meds is wonderful. I would suggest you look at the hydrogen peroxide page. Go slowly. Have you used alternatives before? I have a sneaking suspicion that he has an overabundance of mucus and that eliminating that would take care of the croup. Also, what about his diet? Try to eliminate dairy and sugar. I know it's hard for kids at that age to get them to do that but it would make a big difference as well if he isn't already doing it. It took my daughter until she was 23 for me to convince her of this correlation and through her own hard knocks with a continual throat and inflammation of her tonsils and the dr. giving her antibiotics over and over again and her not seeing results, she finally succumbed to asking me in tears what she needed to do. I asked her to listen to what she needed to do in order for her to see a change. It has been 8 mo. since she has been sick now. That's huge for her. Let us know what you do and take care."
10/07/2009: Linn from Los Angeles, Ca replies: "Thank you for your advice and concern, Lisa. I myself have been cured and been experimenting with a myriad of natural remedies over the years.
My brother is much younger than I. While our mother believes in healthy eating (the reason it rubbed off on me!) she doesn't have much experience or inclination with natural cures to the point where she feels she can experiment and goes to a regular doctor. She is however, open to using natural remedies. I talked to her about finding natural ways to help the croup.
I thank you for describing the mucous and sugar/food connections. I'll keep researching and checking the earth clinic page. I really don't know anything about Croup myself! Thanks again."
01/25/2010: Betty from Plant City, Fl replies: "When I was a child, my native american grandmother had lots of 'home remedies' that she used on us. My grandfather was very Irish (with pale skin, red hair, freckles,ect). I don't know if that matters in the way her remedies worked on us, but, we were always cured.
My grandmother would take a teaspoon of sugar and put turpentine on it, several drops to make the sugar harden. use your own discretion as to size of child. give the teaspoon to the child as a lollipop. Turpentine was also used on paper cuts or any cuts to keep the soreness away. Pour straight turpentine on any type cute. It will heal w/o being sore."
05/23/2011: Wendy from ..., Canada replies: "Hi there, I just wanted to comment on the correlation someone mentioned between sugar/diet and croup. In our case, it would strongly disappear. My kids were born at home with midwives, breastfed til they were at least 2, they are homeschooled on 100 acres, they eat 95% organic homemade meals, we juice our own veggie juices, we sprout, we try to buy stuff not in a package, and we are wheat & dairy free. While they might have the odd smidge of honey or agave, they do not eat sugar at all, they've never had pop, chips, candy, cakes, or choclate ever in their lives. They eat lots of raw food, veggies etc. , in fact my 6 yr old loves salads, in fact there it would be hard to find something my children will not eat... we are not vegetarian. Point being: they've had chronic croup for years... They never got a regular cold, it was always croup.
However, with homeopathic treatment from a professional my oldest finally stopped when he was 8, and my daughter is way better, it's not full blown croup now, but still there ;-( we use natural remedies like oil of oregano, garlic, mega c, d, herbal tincutres, zapping, you name it and with those things even in high doses, I cannot stop croup even when I know she is coming down with it.... UNLESS I use homeopathic remedies once she has it. As many sites will tell you homeopathic aconite, then spongia, then hepar sulph work amazing MOST OF THE TIME. It worked every time for my son, but my daughter presents a bit differently so I sometiems have to use other homeopathic remedies that better suit her symptom profile. We've never had to go to the ER and we can usually get past the worst part quickly, but not with just the other remedies. The other remedies like oil of oregano and C, hydrogen peroixide etc are great for colds but I can't seem to get at the croup ;-( Many people over the years have pointed to our indoor environment as the stressor. We do have dog, cat, bunnies etc. And lots of dust and we live near a highway. My childrens hair analysis are VERY high in heavy metals!! Interesting point too is that my first 2 children who suffer from chronic croup were born and breastfed WHILE I had 12 amalgam fillings. My 3rd child was born after I had my amalgams removed at Dr. Huggins clinic in Colorado 4 yrs ago and he has NEVER had croup - he is 2.5 yrs now. He also is hardly ever sick.
Over this last year we have discovered we are pretty sure we have mold in our house! So perhaps that is the common denominator for kids with croup? My friend feeds her child tons of junk, her teeth have fallen out, she has crowns by 4 yrs of age etc and her child hardly ever eats real food- but she lives in a gorgeous 'martha stewart' house. Her daughter has NEVER had croup in her life, goes to school, and rarely gets sick - she is the same age as my daughter. Genetics? who knows but thought I would add our experience for those who think the answer is always diet. Not that imporving the diet won't help, but there may be more at play then just that."
[YEA] 09/24/2010: Rachel from Redfield, Ks: "My son recently woke up with a croup cough, difficulty breathing, and stridor. It hit him suddenly and he showed no signs of a cold beforehand. That night he wouldn't take any medicine so I sat up with him in the recliner with the humidifier. Once I turned the humidifier on, he returned to normal breathing with no cough in about 20 minutes. Now I run the air purifier during the day and the humidifier at night. I keep his room as dust-free as I can. I took down the venetian blinds, vacuum often, change bedding... Etc. Also, my son loves honey, so I let him eat as much unprocessed, local honey as he wants. This helps with the allergens. I think, for my son, it was the allergens that caused the croup cough. If you figure out what is causing the cough and treat that, instead of trying to just treat the cough, you can control it more easily."Replies
09/24/2010: Addylynn from Fb, Ga replies: "My 6 year recently had a nice case of croup kick up one nite back in late July.. No cold symptoms or anything. I treated his cough using Vics on his feet and putting honey on anything he would allow me to. It struck me one day what set it off.. The dehumidifier we had running in the house to help out with the fine humid weather we have here in Georgia. So, we turned it off for a couple days and bang, the croup was gone. I played with the settings for a week or two and have found one acceptable for him and turn the unit off when the humidity is low."
[YEA] 01/03/2011: Nivchek from Rochester, Ny Usa: "Hydration is a huge factor in croup. My 5 year old son woke tonight with a horrible choking croup cough. We took a urine sample and measured the salt and sugar levels. They were very high, which means dehydration. You can't tell this from the color of the urine. We gave him distilled water to drink slowly over the course of 10-20 minutes and he recovered beautifully. Cough disappeared and no more rasping either. Thanks be to God for water and RBTI!"