Fraser's Croup Spasmodic No. 4


Viral croup; Laryngotracheobronchitis - acute; Spasmodic croup

Croup is breathing difficulty accompanied by a "barking" cough. Croup, which is swelling around the vocal cords, is common in infants and children and can have a variety of causes.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Viral croup is the most common. Other possible causes include bacteria, allergies, and inhaled irritants. Acid reflux from the stomach can trigger croup.

Croup is usually (75% of the time) caused by parainfluenza viruses, but RSV, measles, adenovirus, and influenza can all cause croup.

Before the era of immunizations and antibiotics, croup was a dreaded and deadly disease, usually caused by the diphtheria bacteria. Today, most cases of croup are mild. Nevertheless, it can still be dangerous.

Croup tends to appear in children between 3 months and 5 years old, but it can happen at any age. Some children are prone to croup and may get it several times.

In the northern hemisphere, it is most common between October and March, but can occur at any time of the year.

In severe cases of croup, there may also be a bacterial superinfection of the upper airway. This condition is called bacterial tracheitis and requires hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics. If the epiglottis becomes infected, the entire windpipe can swell shut, a potentially fatal condition called epiglottitis.


Croup features a cough that sounds like a seal barking. Most children have what appears to be a mild cold for several days before the barking cough becomes evident. As the cough gets more frequent, the child may have labored breathing or stridor (a harsh, crowing noise made during inspiration).

Croup is typically much worse at night. It often lasts 5 or 6 nights, but the first night or two are usually the most severe. Rarely, croup can last for weeks. Croup that lasts longer than a week or recurs frequently should be discussed with your doctor to determine the cause.

From: US National Library of Medicine-Croup

"Cannabis indica is one of the best additions to cough mixtures that we possess, as it quiets the tickling in the throat, and yet does not constipate or depress the system as does morphine." - A Textbook of Practical Therapeutics (1922, p. 181) By Hobart Hare.

The side label of the bottle reads:

"Dissolve one tablet in twelve teaspoonfuls hot water and give one teaspoonful every fifteen minutes until spasmodic croup is relieved. A trial of one-quarter teaspoonful is advised for infants and young children".

The antispasmodic effects of cannabis were well known and documented in various materia medica: "Effects and Uses.-The medicinal properties of extract of cannabis are narcotic and antispasmodic, and in India both the herb and resin are extensively used as intoxicating exhilarants, under the name of haschisch". (p. 70).

Modern science corroborates the potent antibacterial properties of cannabis, including the ability to fight the dreaded methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). See Antibacterial cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: a structure-activity study for one such study.

For more on opium, see Opium

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