Croup is a childhood disease characterized by laborious and suffocative breathing and a harsh, brassy, crowing cough. Usually occurs at night, during the course of an upper respiratory infection. [HHH p.59]


When the child takes a breath there is a whistling sound and often it sounds like he is strangling. [HHH p.59]


Croup may be caused by the overeating of mucus-forming foods, or in fact by the overeating of any food, with fermentation in the stomach causing phlegm. [SNH p.59]

Herbal Aids:

Croup: See formula using pennyroyal and lobelia. [SNH p.284] Administration of formula: Croup is inflammation of the larynx and windpipe accompanied by spasmodic cough and great difficulty in breathing a loose membrane forms in the windpipe or trachea which can choke the patient, and the attacks are often sudden, with a harsh cough, rapid pulse, impeded breathing, and the face may be flushed with fever; it is caused from wet feet, damp clothes, sudden changes in temperature, etc., where the vitality of the system is greatly lowered and results in inflammatory congestion and obstruction; and the healing effect should be to raise the body heat, relax the spasms, and stimulate the blood through the parts as rapidly as possible. A hot mustard and cayenne foot bath (in a vessel deep enough to get the water up part of the legs), and hot flannel fomentation of cayenne (1 teaspoonful in 2 quarts of water) will be very beneficial. [SNH p.284]

Mullein: Drink the strong decoction of leaves and flowers, or combine with comfrey root and garlic juice. [SNH p.316]

Croup (fomentation): See formula using mullein, lobelia and cayenne. Foment as warm as is convenient over the lungs, or over the affected part. [SNH p.318]

Asthma Syrup (bronchitis, croup, whooping cough, etc.): See formula using slippery elm, boneset, licorice, flaxseed or linseed and blackstrap molasses. [SNH p.337]
General Instructions: Give the child a few drops of tincture of lobelia in catnip and peppermint tea, then a warm bath or hot foot bath, followed by a catnip tea enema. [HHH p.59]

More General Instructions: Follow the bath with a thorough rubdown with olive oil, and apply anti-spasmodic tincture to the chest and back as a liniment. Keep the air moist--a good steam room (vaporizer) is a great help for quick relief. Keep the bowels open with mild laxative herbs (as explained earlier) and give a tea of catnip, cubeb berries, senna and black cohosh with a few drops of tincture of lobelia to help relieve the spasms. Give by the teaspoon or tablespoon according to age every half hour until relief is obtained. The child should be kept on a fruit and fruit juice diet for a few days. An oatmeal and slippery elm gruel is also nourishing and helpful. [HHH p.59]

Oats and Slippery Elm: An oat and slippery elm gruel is sometimes useful in cases of croup, where overeating or eating of the wrong kinds of foods sometimes brings on the spasms. [UW-Oats]

Onion: We have used a raw onion poultice on a child for a serious case of croup. Rub the chest first with Vaseline ointment so that the onion will not burn the skin. Finely chop, shred or mince the onions and warm them gently. Place them on a clean cotton cloth and bind this onto the chest. Be sure to keep the chest area warm, either with plenty of covers or with a hot water bottle. This will stop the croup and relieve the inflammation. [UW-Onion]

Onion Syrup: Dr. Christopher's onion syrup, described in the introduction, is an excellent syrup for coughs and colds, bronchitis, croup, whooping cough, etc. He recommended adding licorice root powder, horehound and cherry bark to the syrup, and said to add 25% glycerine to the syrup if you plan to keep it. Keep it in a cool place or it will sour. [UW-Onion] Formula for Onion Syrup: Here is the way you make the syrup. Dice up big dried onions, whatever amount you want, and put them into a stainless steel, unchipped enamel, or Pyrex pan. Don't use aluminum. When you have about the amount you want, pour liquid honey over them until they are covered. Add nothing else. The honey extracts the Onion power, which is the greatest antihistamine known. This goes into the honey solution and provides a wonderfully effective cough syrup. [UW-Onion]

Stillingia: For croup, 1 drop of the oil on the tongue three or four times daily has been found successful for severe attacks (Gri:664). This oil is also a good external rub, being very stimulating, but is generally considered too acrid for internal use. [UW-Stillingia]


1. Anti-Spasmodic Formula: Dr. Christopher's Anti-Spasmodic Tincture:  I'm very interested in learning more about herbs and one day studying it so I would feel more confident using them as I do, medicinally. I've used lobelia tincture for my son's teething problems and on insect bites and rubbing on body for fever, etc. I've used antispasmodic tincture for his croup and coughing. It works great!! I wish the medical profession would accept this miracle remedy for croup and get off their high horse! [NL 3-3]

2. Early Childhood Memory of Dr. Christopher (Raymond): One of his favorite memories of old Highland Drive, and the deep snows of that "then country place" was the story his mother told him of one cold winter night when young Raymond was choked up with the croup. A knock came at the door. His father answered it to find, standing in the cold, a bearded man in shirt sleeves (no coat) who announced a young child was ill but was not to die; he had an important mission here. "Now do this and this to cut the phlegm", he said. They turned to do his bidding, then turned back again to thank him and invite him in, but he had gone--no footprints were found in the deep snow. [NL 4-4]

See Also:

Anti-Spasmodic Formula: Dr. Christopher's Anti-Spasmodic Tincture
Throat & Lung Syrup: Dr. Christopher's Cough Syrup

"Natural Healing with Herbs for a Healthier You"