photo courtesy of tiverylucky at

photo courtesy of tiverylucky at

Croup is a common respiratory challenge most evident in children involving inflammation and mucous resulting in a heart stopping barking cough. This infection of the upper airway is scary for the child and the parent. Croup is most often brought on by a virus and can go away on its own in three to seven days if the case is very mild. More advanced cases don’t just result in inflammation of the vocal cords, windpipe and bronchial tubes, they can include an infection in the epiglottis that can swell the windpipe closed. 

Rushing the child to the emergency room earns you a fresh prescription of oral steroids with side effects like a weakened immune system, vision problems, rapid weight gain, pancreatitis and dangerously high blood pressure as well as other symptoms. 

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Croup is dear to my heart as my son had chronic croup from three years of age to five years of age. He was on steroids frequently to the point that he was prescribed steroids three times in one month, several months in a row. Croup was a common occurrence. It continued to get worse until one night he began to turn blue and bubbled from his mouth. He was rushed to the emergency room more than once, each time with a television worthy swarm of medical personnel running and calling out orders. 

For years oral steroids lived in our refrigerator. Breathing machines did nothing for him, even though his treatment was administered every two hours, 24 hours a day. Steroids in the breathing machine helped some, but didn’t resolve the problem. The only thing that removed his inflammation was oral steroids. Doctors were baffled because the steroid should have still been in his system, preventing another round of croup, however, he still got croup days after he finished his oral steroid. 

We carried oral steroids with us in a cooler when we traveled. We kept a tiny cooler in a bag to have our steroids with us at all times. Sleep overs were out of the question, campouts in sleeping bags, or even just blankets, always set him off in a tight barking frenzy. 

When he was five we spent over a year rebuilding his immune system through nutrient dense foods and detoxification. The croup subsided. He went from having croup three times a month to twice in one year. 

When he was 9, out of nowhere, it happened again. We hadn’t visited the doctor in a long time. He wouldn’t prescribe steroids without seeing my son again, however, we were in an odd situation. My husband had started a new job three states away, we were in the process of moving, we had no insurance (later I found we were covered) and most importantly I didn’t have a car to drive the 30 minutes to the office. 

I was desperate and hit my knees.

Within minutes I received a phone call from a friend who told me something that made my blood run cold. It was simple. I had what it took! It was in every kitchen in the world. 

photo courtesy of

photo courtesy of

“Use onion juice, it’s what the Bahamians do since they don’t have access to steroids,” she said. 

I grabbed an onion, peeled it and squeezed it so hard I felt like a bodybuilder. He took the one teaspoon shot of onion juice and the barking stopped instantly.

Since trying the onion juice it has resolved our croup and croup in households of our friends’ at least 38 times. It has worked every time. 

All onions are not created equally. Sometimes an onion is dry. Sometimes it’s very juicy. There is no way to say how much of the onion we used, sometimes it was a whole onion while other times it was a quarter of an onion. Sometimes it was organic and sometimes it wasn’t. The onion was always used fresh. It was peeled, squeezed and given. Sometimes I squeezed it with my hands while other times I ran it through the blender and them pushed it through a fine mesh strainer. Regardless, one teaspoon in a tiny medicine dispenser and the croup was gone. It did not work with an onion out of the refrigerator that had been peeled already, only a fresh onion. It did not work with onion juice squeezed hours before or kept in the refrigerator for the next dose. It didn’t matter what kind of onion we used. 

Once I picked up a chest bug at the same time my son did and we both took the shot of fresh squeezed onion juice. He took his normal teaspoon with a Kombucha or juice chaser and I took a tablespoon, thinking I’m an adult and should take more. This was roughly the biggest mistake of that year. I could feel the burn going down my throat and filling my chest. It was serious and lasted a few hours, getting ever so subtly less and less with each passing minute. There wasn’t enough Kombucha in the gallon to chase the misery. The one tablespoon didn’t work any better than the one teaspoon – it just hurt more. 

We will never again go to steroids for croup, it’s worked too well for too many years. 

Please note this post is not medical advice or counsel in any way. If you have a medical condition you should seek medical advice from a medical doctor not read a blog post on the internet – medical doctors call that foolish. 

*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, CGP, D.PSc. who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. She works as a Certified GAPS Practitioner who sees clients in her office, Skype and phone. She has been published in Wise Traditions, spoken at two Weston A. Price Conferences, Certified GAPS Practitioner Trainings, has been on many radio shows, television shows and writes for Nourishing Plot. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia, through food, she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. She is a Chapter Leader for The Weston A. Price Foundation. [email protected]

“GAPS™ and Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ are the trademark and copyright of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. The right of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Patent and Designs Act 1988.



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