15 Natural Remedies for Croup You Should Try

mom giving child cough syrup

If you have ever been awakened during the night to the sound of your child’s loud, barking cough, then you have no doubt felt your heart race and a great deal of anxiety. That deep-chested cough is one of the symptoms of croup. Though it can certainly cause a great deal of discomfort, you can make use of a wide variety of natural remedies for croup in order to ease your child’s symptoms and your anxiety.

Obviously, the coughing and congestion associated with croup, if it lingers, can be an indicator of something more serious, so please do not look to these remedies as all-inclusive cures. Ongoing symptoms require the advice and treatment of a healthcare professional.

Home Remedies for Croup

You can through together these home remedies using items you probably already have in your home. Some of them require no supplies at all and are super simple.

You may need to try a few of them to figure out what works best for you child. However, make sure that you are not overstimulating your child because this can worsen the condition.

The best thing to do is try each remedy one at a time. You can note if it seems to work or not for your child, so if he or she has this condition in the future, you can use the same remedy.

Do be aware that everyone is different. What works for one of your children may not for the others. Also, what works for this round of croup may not be as effective the next time they have it. So, always be prepared to try a few methods to find the best one.

1. Rest

One of the most important factors in recovering from croup or any other illness is getting plenty of rest. Your child’s immune system is equipped with the very best weapons to fight illness, but they are a great deal more effective when your child’s body is at rest.

What to do:

  • Keep the environment around your child calm and restful with plenty of quiet, restful activities to keep them occupied when awake.
  • When asleep, make sure that your child is in a slightly elevated position and not lying flat so that he or she can breathe easier and coughing will be less likely.

2. Keep your child upright

A simple home remedy which can help prevent fits of coughing and aggravating your child’s condition is to try to keep your child upright as much as possible. With infants, holding them in and upright position, rather than a reclined one can help them breath more easily and help relieve congestion. With older children, keeping them upright in a chair or with their head and chest elevated will do wonders.

What to do:

  • Hold your child upright on your lap or put them in their favorite chair or seat.
  • Older children can sit in a chair or lie on the couch, but with a foam wedge behind them to keep them upright.

honey syrup

3. Honey

Among the best natural remedies available for croup is honey. Besides having immunity boosting properties and antioxidants, its natural antibiotic compounds help to fight off bacterial and viral infections while also coating a dry, sore throat from coughing.

What to do:

  • Dissolve 1 tsp of raw honey in 1 cup of warm water.
  • You can add a ¼ tsp of lemon juice if you like.
  • Give this recipe 2 to 3 times daily.

NOTE: Do not give honey to a child under the age of 1 year as it could contain the bacteria which causes infant botulism.

4. Turmeric

Croup symptoms can also be alleviated through the use of turmeric. With anti-inflammatory properties, the curcumin in turmeric can help to reduce inflammation and open up airways making it easier to breathe. This natural remedy can also help soothe a scratchy throat as well.

What to do:

  • Stir 1 tsp of powdered turmeric and a pinch of black pepper into a warm cup of milk.
  • Continue stirring while drinking to make sure that all of the turmeric is consumed.
  • If your child is older than 1 year, you can add in 1 tsp of honey.
  • Give this remedy 2 to 3 times daily.

5. Ginger

A cousin to turmeric, ginger is another good home remedy for treating croup. Ginger has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties to help give your child’s immune system a boost and help clear his or her airways. Ginger also acts as a cough-suppressant and reduces congestion.

What to do:

  • Fill a saucepan with 6 cups of water and bring it to a boil.
  • Add in ½ cup of fresh peeled and thinly sliced ginger root along with 2 cinnamon sticks.
  • Simmer on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Strain the mixture and allow it to cool a bit.
  • If your child is over the age of 1 year you can add some honey to sweeten.
  • If under one year you can sweeten it with natural juice.
  • Give this to your child 3 to 4 times per day.

6. Steam

Steam is another natural remedy which can be effective at relieving the symptoms associated with croup. Steam helps to thin mucus and makes it easier to expel as well as soothing a dry, scratchy throat.

What to do:

  • Run a hot shower with the door or curtain closed allowing steam to build up.
  • Sit inside the steam filled bathroom or shower with your child.
  • Allow your child to inhale steam for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Repeat a couple times per day.

NOTE: Do not leave your child unattended in a steam filled bathroom with hot water running.

7. Humidity

Similar to the effects of steam, keeping the humidity level up in your home is another effective natural remedy to alleviate croup. Moist air helps relieve congestion and the intensity of coughing fits as well as helps prevent dry scratching throat.

What to do:

  • Place a humidifier in the room where your child sleeps during the night.
  • Move to other areas of your home where the child is present throughout the day as well.

8. Prevent Dehydration

Nearly every doctor and pediatrician orders rest and plenty of fluids as a part of their remedies for croup. Besides helping your child’s body to flush out viruses and bacteria, keeping him or her properly hydrated also helps to thin excess mucus and promotes easier breathing.

What to do:

  • For infants, water breast milk or formula provides the necessary fluids.
  • Older children can consume tea, naturally extracted juice, lemonade, broths or soups to obtain fluids.
  • If children don’t drink a lot at one time, give them smaller amounts more often throughout the day.

9. Sponge bath

Often associated with croup is a fever. You can help bring the fever down and help your child relax more by giving them a sponge bath with cool, but not cold water as a natural remedy for fever.

What to do:

  • Soak a washcloth or sponge in room temperature water.
  • After wringing out the excess water, apply the cloth or sponge to your child’s armpits, feet, hands and groin areas.
  • You can also place a cool damp cloth on your child’s forehead, changing it every few minutes to help reduce fever.
  • Older children can take a tepid shower or bath to help lower fever.

10. Calm atmosphere

A calm atmosphere is essential for helping prevent coughing fits when your child has croup. If your child becomes worked up by physical activity, anxiety or stress, coughing fits will increase in length and intensity. One of the best natural remedies to prevent these fits is to keep your child calm and quiet.

What to do:

  • Provide your child with books, puzzles, blocks, and other activities to promote calm and quiet.
  • Maintain a quiet atmosphere in your home and try to keep stress and anxiety to a minimum.
  • Avoid taking your child out of the home to run errands along with you.

11. Chest massage

One of the best feeling natural remedies which can help relieve the symptoms of croup is a chest massage. A massage can help ease muscles which have become strained and tight because of coughing and can help your child breathe easier and relax.

What to do:

  • You can mix 10 to 15 drops of eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil in ½ cup of olive or coconut oil.
  • Gently rub your child’s chest with this oil mixture before bedtime.
  • You can also make a homemade vapor rub to keep on hand just for this sort of thing.
  • Rub the massage oil or homemade vapor rub on your child’s feet and put socks on their feet before bedtime as well.

NOTE: It is best not to use eucalyptus or peppermint oil on babies and infants due to the risk of skin irritation.

thyme plant

12. Thyme oil

A safe essential oil for children of all ages is thyme oil, which is also an effective natural remedy for the treatment of croup. Thyme oil helps to drain away congestion and reduce inflammation while it opens up airways for easier breathing. In addition, thyme oil is often used to help treat insomnia without medication.

What to do:

  • Utilize thyme oil in place of eucalyptus or peppermint oil in the remedies listed above.
  • Use as a massage oil or add it to a humidifier to help induce relaxation and better rest.

13. Bone broth

Among the best fluids for croup is bone broth. Not only does it help to hydrate your child, but the abundance of vitamins and minerals in bone broth are super immune boosting and will help speed your child’s recovery.

What to do:

  • Make a basic bone broth which can be warmed and served throughout the day.
  • Give this broth to your child 2 to 3 times daily.

14. Mullein tea

Among the well known natural remedies for treating upper respiratory conditions, such as croup, is mullein tea. The leaves of the mullein herb have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which help to thin mucus, relieve congestion and open up airways for easier breathing.

What to do:

  • Add 1 cup of boiling water to 1 to 2 tsp of dried mullein leave or flowers.
  • Cover the tea and allow it to steep for 10 to 15 minutes before straining and serving.
  • Serve this tea 3 to 4 times daily.

15. Breathing cold air

Though it might seem counterproductive at first glance, breathing cold air is actually among the best natural remedies for relieving the symptoms of croup. In fact, a few minute of cold air can bring coughing fits to a halt.

What to do:

  • During the day, if your child is having a severe coughing fit, take him or her to the refrigerator, open up the freezer portion and hold his or her face in front of the cool air for several minutes to help calm the cough.

When able, bundle your child (and yourself) to stay warm and go outside in the cold air for 10 to 20 minutes.


That hacking, painful cough which your child gets when he or she has the croup does not have to cause you worry and anxiety for long. Make use of one or more of our 15 natural remedies for croup next time you hear that loud, barking cough and bring quick relief to both you and your child.

Also be sure to add additional natural remedies that work to relieve croup, success stories, or questions in the section below.

Images: depositphotos.com.