Natural Remedy for Croup {Plus an Easy Chest Rub Recipe}

Written by Jenna, Contributing Writer

I have been blessed with four, very healthy sons. Aside from the occasional, short-lived low-grade temp or common headache, my boys are rarely sick. Seriously… (knock-on-wood) we don’t get the flu, strep or even the common cold. But there is one thing that all four of my children have gotten a time or two, usually at the change of seasons… CROUP.

For my kids, they can be completely fine and out of nowhere, the horrid barking sound comes in the wee hours of the night. It truly is a terrible thing to experience to see your child straining for a breath. Being a nurse still never prepares me for dealing with a croupy child.

In years past I did the “mainstream” treatments recommended by many. Take the child into a bathroom with hot shower running to breath in the moist air. If that doesn’t work, take the child outside. If those don’t work, a trip to the emergency room is usually needed. We’ve done that a time or two!

But thankfully as I’ve grown in my knowledge of all-natural health and wellness, I now have discovered “the best” remedy for croup. All you need is eucalyptus oil (found at most health food stores) and a warm mist humidifier. The price of the oil is usually around $10, but keep in mind this little bottle will last you months.

Eucalyptus oil is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and decongestant in nature which makes it a good ingredient for many medicines for treating respiratory problems. There is just something about this Australian-born oil that is magical for the respiratory tracts of little ones.

Fill the humidifier with the recommended amount of water and add around 10 drops of eucalyptus oil to the main reservoir. Turn on. It is really important to make sure the door is shut so the room will fill with the warm, cleansing scent of the eucalyptus to open the child’s inflamed trachea and larynx. What I also recommend is making a chest rub (see below) with the eucalyptus oil as well. These two together make a power-packed weapon against croup.

I always rock (and pray for) my child to monitor their breathing until their respiratory tract is less constricted and breathing is not as laborious. For my peace of mind, I usually camp out on the floor to keep an “ear” out for any more problems.

I prefer a warm mist humidifier over the cool mist. Professionals recommend a cool mist humidifier because of the chance that a child could burn themselves. My children usually had croup when they were still in cribs so this was not an issue to run it through the night when croup is worse. What you can also do is buy a cool mist humidifier and fill it with hot water. If you keep the door closed the warm air seems to keep the warm moist air circulating nicely.

Croup can be a serious problem for some children. Keep in mind, if your child isn’t breathing well a trip to the ER may be the best answer. I am a registered nurse, but not a doctor. This treatment has worked great for me, but each child is different and what has worked for some, may not work for others. Use your God-given “mothering instincts” and get your child the proper care he/she needs if you feel their condition is beyond a home. 

What do you do to treat croup?

Jenna is a happy wife to Brian and a full-time mom to 4 boys. She is a follower of Christ, a researcher and an aspiring blogger, foodie and lover of all things healthy.

Join her at Wholesome Bits and connect with her on Facebook.

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  1. Jeanne Johnson Holmes (your old cheermate) says:

    What a timely post! My 3-yr old currently has croup and I’m sitting here with an unused bottle Eucalyptus oil sitting in the bathroom. Thanks for the reminder. I allowed myself to get distracted by the mainstream treatments, which haven’t worked at all for my son. Thanks for sharing your life and your experiences.

  2. I just came across this post is this safe to use for a one year old? Thanks!!

  3. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I’ve really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.

    After all I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write
    again very soon!

  4. You may try using rosalina instead of place of eucalyptus. Eucalyptus is not advisable for use with small children. I learned this in my schooling on way to become a clinical aromatherapist.


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