Six Natural Ways to Treat Croupy Cough

Sometime last week around 3 a.m. I woke up to the sound of a seal barking.  It to a few minutes for me to realize that it was my son coughing.  My next thought was, “Oh boy, here we go again with the croup.”  My husband and I are no strangers to croup since my oldest son typically gets it once or twice a year.   The first time he had croup he was about 18 months old and I was just finishing my advanced classes in acupuncture pediatrics.  I had studied croup and heard the audio recordings of it, but it still didn’t register in my sleep deprived and slightly panicked brain that night.   I was scared because my son was having difficulty breathing and he was making these high pitched wheezing sounds called stridor!  Before I completely panicked and took him to the ER, I called our pediatrician who, god bless her, called us back in the middle of the night.  The second she heard him in the background she knew what was going on and recommended some natural remedies for croup.

To learn more about what croup is and hear some audio recordings Click Here.  The good news about croup is the majority of the time parents can treat it at home and it rarely requires medical intervention.

6 Ways to Treat Croup Naturally

Here is What You Can do During a Croup Attack:

  1. Sit with him in the bathroom with a steamy hot shower running  (usually for 10 – 15 minutes)
  2. Aconitum Napellis homeopathic remedy (any potency) to help sudden onset of cough with the anxiety associated with difficulty breathing – give 3 to 4 pellets every 5 t0 10 minutes until the child calms down.
  3. Spongiatosta  homeopathic remedy (any potency) for croupy cough – give 3 -4 pellets a couple times
  4. Keep him quiet and calm with lots of soothing words and slowing breathing
  5. Drink a few sips of warm water
  6. Acupressure on the points below (or in my case I’ll do a little acupuncture right then)

Prevent Croup from Happening Again the Next Day:

  1. Keep your child well hydrated
  2. Continue Spongiatosta remedy 4 pellets 3x/day (every time we’ve done this, the croup episode lasts only one night)
  3. Herbal Remedies for treating any other cold or upper respiratory symptoms
  4. Avoid dairy since it creates mucus
  5. Sip warm teas
  6. Sip warm bone brothPinching Pulling Massage for Cough

Massage Techniques and Acupressure Points to Treat and Prevent Croup

  1. Percardium 6 to open up the chest and help with cough, anxiety and nausea
  2. Lung 9 – for cough
  3. One powerful technique for  treating cough is a tuina massage called a “spinal roll.” The spinal roll is great for treating cough and chest congestion when focused on the upper back. Click here to learn how to do a tuina spinal roll for cough in the free video.   This massage works well on its own and I would recommend you do it two or three times daily.
  4. Line pressing on the ring finger.  Start at the last line of the finger and rub outward towards the tip.  Lift and repeat rapidly about 100 – 300 times.  For more information on the line pressing technique see my post Parents Guide to Pediatric Tuina Massage for basic techniques.

Line Pressing on the Ring Finger Treats Cough

If  your child is having a severe case of croup  with extreme difficulty breathing or the symptoms aren’t resolving after trying natural remedies they may require medical intervention.   Conventional treatments typically include nebulizer with albuterol or other broncho-dilators to help open the airways and ease breathing quickly.

It can be a little scary if you’ve never experienced croup before!  If you’re not sure if it’s croup, call your pediatrician and they’ll help you determine whether it is or not.  Try the natural remedies above and I think you’ll be happy with results and in the process you’ll become a pro at dealing with seals barking in the night.


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  1. Warm water with salt. Salt water has been an effective remedy for sore throat as well as coughing. It eases the throat of its inflammation and cleans it as well.

  2. Tried Aconitum for my daughter. 1 dose every 10 minutes. After 3 doses she calmed down tremendously and the cough started to subside. I also massaged her upper back. She loved it and it relaxed her body so much.

  3. I have to disagree with the recommendation for warm steam for a croupy cough. Moist, cool air is much better – stand outside in the cool night air or in front of the open freezer if it’s warm out.

  4. I must say that I’m really impressed by this post. I love the practical advice and the images are wonderful and very helpful. I can see how much you’ve invested in this. I’m a new fan! Thankyou…:)

  5. James Robinson says:

    Yes. I agree with the cool air. That seems to do the trick for my kid’s cough

  6. Thank you for your tips.
    I’m an acupuncturist in the Sunshine Coast and would love to get invved in your Websight.
    Let me know your thoughts.
    Thank you kindly.

    • Rachel VanDusen says:

      Hi Nadja! I’m glad you’re reaching out. You can always be involved by being a guest blogger. Look at the contact menu at the top of our home page and follow the instructions. You can also find us on facebook!

  7. Kelly Dernoncourt says:

    My poor little guy just got out of the emergency room for this. The doctor recommended the steamy shower and standing outside in cool air as well. They gave my son liquid steroids but I’m having a terrible time getting him to drink them they taste horrible even mixing them in food or drinks doesn’t help. Any suggestions with this;)

    • Rachel VanDusen says:

      I would take the advice of the physician unless it truly concerns you, in which case I would ask you to immediately seek a second opinion with a separate practitioner that has evaluated your child. I truly hope your child feels better, though I can’t give any advice on their condition without physically evaluating them myself. I wish nothing but the best in health and wellness for you both!

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