Barks in the night
Waking up in the middle of the night to your little one “barking” and struggling to breathe is a frightening thing.
Croup, according to Taber’s Medical Dictionary “is an acute viral disease, usually occurring in children from 6 months to 5 years and marked by a resonant barking cough, (sounding like a seal), and varying degrees of respiratory distress" (Venes and Clarence Wilbur Taber 2013).
Croup isn’t a separate disease unto itself — it’s something that can develop from a common cold or flu. “If there’s enough swelling, irritation and coughing, a child can develop:
Mayo says to seek medical attention if your child:
Despite how scary it sounds, croup isn’t usually serious and it mostly can be treated at home.
Why the barking? The cough forces air through the swollen and irritated passageway and results in a seal-like bark.
My oldest was prone to this and it is indeed an unnerving experience. I didn’t know about homeopathy then, but we were able to treat him at home each time by sitting in the steamy bathroom until it all calmed down.
Conversely, taking the child outside into the cold night air or having them stand in front of an open freezer can also do the trick (Cleveland Clinic 2021).
How can homeopathy help?
The first remedy to consider for croup is Aconitum napellus, or Aconite, for short. (Remember! Aconite rhymes with fright!) It’s a pretty sure bet that both the child and the parent* will be frightened! Use Aconite at the first sign. Repeat, if needed. Aconite is the “go-to” remedy for any illness with rapid onset. * Don’t forget Ignatia for the worried parent!
Other homeopathic options for croup:
Spongia tosta is the next remedy to consider if the Aconite did not take care of it quickly. Spongia is known to have a cough which sounds like a saw going through wood — a very dry cough and warm drinks are probably helpful.
Hepar sulph might be useful in the morning or in the following days when the cough can sound basically the same, but it changes to a wetter cough — loose and possibly rattling. There may be some choking fits that accompany the cough.
Repeat the chosen remedy every 15-20 minutes, if needed. If the child falls asleep, that’s good! If they wake again, repeat the remedy.
(Click for an instructive video of cough sounds and their corresponding homeopathic remedies.)
If your child is prone to croup, consider working with a professional homeopath to help prevent recurrences.
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
Allen College of Homoeopathy, n.d. Listen the Cough Sounds & Diagnose the Remedy (Part 1) [online]. www.youtube.com.
Cleveland Clinic, 2021. How to Care for Your Child’s Croupy Cough [online]. Cleveland Clinic. .
Kessels, L., n.d. Home Remedies for Colds and Croup: Do They Work? [online]. www.stlouischildrens.org.
Mayo Clinic, 2019. Croup - Symptoms and causes [online]. Mayo Clinic.
Venes, D. and Clarence Wilbur Taber, 2013. Taber’s cyclopedic medical dictionary. [22nd ed., ISBN: 9780803629776]. Philadelphia, Pa.: F.A. Davis.
Julia Coyte, CHom
I am passionate about homeopathy and I love sharing this passion. Having a working knowledge of homeopathy shouldn't be kept a secret. If people have the ability to help themselves, their children and their friends when they have minor ailments, life just gets better for everyone. That is the purpose behind Ruminating on Remedies.