Natural Remedies for Croup

Question: My son has croup. I don’t want to load him up on antibiotics and steroids if I can help it, and I know that’s what the doctor will prescribe. Are there any natural remedies for croup?

Answer: I agree with you wholeheartedly about the antibiotics and steroids. The good news is there are natural ways to deal with croup.

Natural croup remedies and allopathic medicine can work very well together if used properly.

First, make sure your child actually has croup. Croup is a strong cough that sounds more like a bark than a cough, and it usually follows a cold.

If your child has that cough and his breathing is noisy and wheezing, you are probably dealing with croup. Natural remedies for croup and allopathic medicine can work very well together if used properly. They are not mutually exclusive.

Now, here is a protocol for dealing with croup naturally.


Clear fluids will help thin mucous and make it easier to expel it. Bone broth is an excellent choice because it helps boost the immune system as well. Bone broth has many benefits for the entire family, but is especially helpful to have on hand when someone gets sick.

You can buy organic bone broth or learn how to make your own. A good probiotic drink is a good idea as well. Avoid dairy if your child has any sensitivities to it. Milk tends to make more mucous in the body.


If you don’t already have a diffuser or a humidifier, get one. Moist air will make it much easier for your child to breathe, especially when he’s sleeping. You can also take your child in the bathroom, close the door, and turn on the shower as hot as it will go and let him breathe the moist air. Do NOT put him in the hot shower.

Set up a diffuser in your child’s room and in other rooms of the house where he stays during the day and diffuse essential oils to help him breathe. Good essential oils for children with croup are frankincense, lavender, tea tree, rosemary, lemon, and thyme. One drop each in the diffuser with distilled water is a good mix.

This recipe for homemade vapor rub is a soothing remedy that can help ease congestion.


When you need natural remedies for croup or any childhood illness, a detox bath is ideal. It not only helps to remove the toxins from his system but it will also relax the muscles in his chest and ease his cough. A good detox blend is to first add a tablespoon of baking soda to the very warm bath. Let it sit for a few minutes to neutralize the chlorine in the water. Next, add:

Let your child sit in the tub for about 20 minutes and the mix will draw the toxins out of his body.


Rubbing your child’s chest and the bottoms of his feet with diluted essential oils can help to ease tight muscles and promote healthy lung function. You can make a blend of the essential oils I mentioned above for your diffuser, 1 drop of each essential oil, mixed with an equal amount of a good carrier oil (I like organic coconut oil because it has its own therapeutic benefits but you can use olive oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, or sesame oil as well).


One of the best things in the world for croup or any other illness is rest. Create a quiet, restful environment in your home day and night while your child is sick. Keep blinds or curtains closed a few times a day to encourage sleep. Turn off screens so your child doesn’t feel overstimulated. Read a guided meditation script (this one focuses on supporting the immune system).


Give him elderberry syrup: If you don’t keep elderberry syrup on hand, especially during cold and flu season, you should. You can use it about 3 times a week to help boost the immune system during cold and flu season and you can use it every day if you’re sick.

You can buy pre-made organic elderberry syrup or kid-friendly gummies. They’re effective and available in many health stores and online. Sambucol Black Elderberry Syrup is an excellent option if you don’t have the time or interest in DIY. The main drawback to pre-made syrup and gummies is cost. They’re quite a bit more expensive compared to making your own.

Green Child has an elderberry syrup recipe, or you can try this one courtesy of Rosemary Gladstar:

Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Combine the dried berries and filtered water in a stainless steel pan and cook over low heat with the lid slightly loose until the water is reduced by half.

Strain, add the ginger and clove, and simmer, uncovered until the liquid reduces to about half its original volume.

Pour the juice into a measuring cup and note the volume. Return it to the pot and add an equal amount of raw local honey and stir until completely combined.

Let cool then pour into a clean bottle with a tight cap. Store in the refrigerator and it will keep for 12 weeks. Take 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time.

I hope this helps. As always, make sure you know exactly what you’re dealing with before you treat with conventional medicine or natural remedies for croup. A sound diagnosis is always the first step.

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One Comment

  1. Make sure you post that children under the age of 1 should never have honey. Especially infants.