How to Use Garlic to Relieve Chest Congestion in Babies

When my son was just few months old, he suffered from chest congestion and it was really hard to make him sleep in the night. He will be crying throughout the night and he won’t take his feed too. I am sure many of you must have experienced this with your baby, if they have excess accumulation of mucus. If the babies are given cows milk, when they suffer from chest congestion, it will worsen the condition even more. There are good home remedies for chest congestion and particularly this home remedy made with garlic is very effective for treating chest congestion in infants. Garlic has been used world over for centuries to treat cold, phlegm and chest congestion. It has been proven not only to help in treating congestion but also in preventing further occurrences. We don’t use raw garlic for babies. We first roast the garlic directly in the fire without peeling the outer skin. The roasting prevents the spiciness that is usually there in the raw garlic. We use breast milk to grind the garlic, as cows milk will worsen the condition even more. To make this remedy, first take a garlic and roast it directly on the fire using tongs without peeling the outer skin. Make sure that it is roasted completely. If the garlic is not roasted well, the inside fleshy part will be still raw. Once it is cool, peel the outer skin completely. There should not be any outer burnt skin remaining on the garlic. Now pump the breast milk using a breast pump and grind the garlic in a clean mortar and pestle along with the breast milk. Once it is completely ground, thin it down with breast milk and strain it. We always use a feeding cup called “Paladai feeding cup” to feed the medicines to young babies (the one that you see in the picture). To feed the medicine to the infants, make the baby lie down on the lap with the head slightly elevated and then holding their hands down gently, feed them through the corner of the mouth slowly with paladai feeding cup. This treatment is very effective, but make sure to use garlic, depending on the age of the baby. For babies under 6 months, half a small garlic pod will be enough. For babies above 6 months old, 1 small garlic pod can be used.

1. Take a small garlic pod and roast it directly in the flame. If you use tongs, you can roast a single garlic pod, instead of a whole garlic like I did.

2. The garlic pods should be roasted well like this.

3. Remove the outer skin completely of the roasted garlic pod. Take a half the garlic pod and grind it along with little breast milk. I used regular milk for demonstration.

4. It should be ground very finely, else it will have small garlic pieces in it.

5. Thin it down with some more breast milk. Strain it using a fine strainer and pour it into paladai feeding cup and feed the baby.


  • If you don’t have paladai feeding cup at home, you can use a small spoon to feed the medicine to the child.
  • If the garlic is roasted well, it will be soft to the touch.
  • Give this medicine once a day for two to three days.
  • The paladai feeding cup should not be filled to the brim, else it will spill all over the baby.



  1. raj
    March 7, 2014 / 5:49 pm

    Thanks for sharing this good remedy and it is very easy to use.But what can we use as a substitude for breast milk for toddlers ?Thanks.

  2. ramya
    March 8, 2014 / 4:01 am

    For toddlers, the garlic can be ground with boiled water instead of breast milk.

  3. Manju Arumugam
    April 7, 2014 / 2:26 pm

    Thankyou very much for your wonderful posts.They are really very useful.

  4. Anonymous
    December 16, 2014 / 3:28 pm

    When is the best time to give babies this medicine?

  5. Ramya Venkateshwaran
    December 17, 2014 / 1:00 pm

    Hi, Usually any medicines like this is best given in an empty stomach, I use to do it after my son's morning nap when his stomach is empty after his morning feed….

  6. Anonymous
    January 3, 2015 / 12:38 pm

    Hi Ramya. Since the birth of my son I have been very conscious to avoid western medicines and have made an effort to seek out my late gran's traditional home remedies. I stumbled upon your blog whilst searching for something for my son's chest congestion. I am so impressed with it and thankful to you for sharing such valuable info. The blog is wonderful and your pics are gorgeous. Well done Ramya in revealing these ancient remedies and good luck for the future. I'm sure I will be an ardent follower of your blog and will recommend to all my friends, esp here in UK. I tried your mustard foot bath for my son earlier and he's knocked out now, after 2 hrs of whinging and wanting to be cuddled only. He's still very badly congested, alot of phlegm. How many garlic pods should I use for a 4 year old? Thanks! Krithika

  7. Ramya Venkateshwaran
    January 4, 2015 / 2:14 am

    Krithika,I am so glad you like the blog 🙂 We usually use this home remedy for infants, as you need breast milk. Regular cows milk increases the phlegm and grinding it with water makes it hard to swallow. I would suggest trying the holy basil leaves remedy for him, it works wonders in removing the phlegm and I was using it regularly for my son, when he was younger. Within 3 days usually the phlegm reduces and also try eucalyptus steam inhalation either with fresh leaves or with essential oils. Both the remedies can be found in the blog……

  8. vidya
    August 16, 2015 / 7:44 pm

    Vidya, my son is 2 yrs old. And he is suffering from cold since a week. But I ve following this step all these days but couldn't find any good result – cows milk with smashed raw garlic and I allow it to boil. Cool if and then give it to my son. Is it right.

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      August 18, 2015 / 4:28 pm

      Hi Vidya, We always do this remedy using breast milk as cows milk increases the phlegm (that is why we only use this remedy for babies). But since your son is 2 years old, I would suggest using tulsi cough syrup everyday morning in the empty stomach for 3 days. You can find the remedy here:

  9. Elsie Lorpu
    January 10, 2016 / 3:45 pm

    Hi Ramya,Thank you very much for this remedy which I'm about to try. I just can't figure how milk I should add. I have to go pick up the garlic, but have plenty of breast milk. Also, can I use syringe to give it to her? She will be 6 months in 3 days. Thanks again.

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      February 1, 2016 / 4:06 pm

      The mixture should be thin, add enough breast milk to get a thin mixture and make sure to strain the mixture before giving it to her. You can use a syringe but be careful to give it very slowly…

  10. Jo
    June 27, 2016 / 11:30 am

    Can I give to my 1 month 25 days old baby

  11. Jo
    June 27, 2016 / 11:47 am

    Can I give this in the evening

  12. Jo
    June 27, 2016 / 11:48 am

    Please reply me my baby is feeling uncomfortable

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      June 27, 2016 / 3:19 pm

      You can give it in the evening too but make sure her stomach is empty while giving it…

  13. Anonymous
    October 7, 2016 / 10:16 am

    Hi mam can v give garlic weekly once with breast milk for nine months baby

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      October 17, 2016 / 3:12 pm

      We usually give this mixture only as a remedy when the child has chest congestion and I would suggest the same too..

  14. Priscilla Manu
    October 24, 2016 / 1:41 pm

    pls after using this for three days how long will it take for u to see improvement,also i will like to know if u have any traditional medicine to help strengthen a babies neck and help her sit and crawl early , she is 8months now but was born at 35 weeks

  15. Anonymous
    December 14, 2016 / 11:44 pm

    Hi can I give this remedy to my son he is 13 mon the old but from birth had phlegm. He is on cow's milk and his difficulties increases everytime he has a feed. He has also been treated with western medicines for these symptoms including antibiotics (different kinds) and OTC medicines and regular nebulizers with no significant improvement. I have not tried garlic milk before …willing to try but unfortunately I do not have breast milk..please is this the only remedy that can help? I really need something to give my son some long lasting relief.

  16. neena shah
    January 21, 2017 / 6:24 am

    Hello , I give my baby formula milk,So can I give nan pro and garlic please? Thanks!

  17. Sahiba shah
    June 3, 2017 / 9:36 am

    What we have to feed the baby left out mixture or strained mixture

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