Natural Parenting Natural Remedies

DIY Vapor Rub for Colds (and Sore Muscles)

This recipe for homemade vapor rub will relieve chest congestion and coughing without the toxic petroleum products, parabens and other nasty additives.

With cold and flu season upon us, many people reach for the trusty Vapor Rub to soothe their coughing and congestion. But have you looked at the ingredients in the average off-the-shelf mentholated salve?

After helpful essential oils like camphor and menthol, name brand chest rubs also contain things like petrolatum, turpentine oil, methylparaben…

Yikes!

Anything you put on your skin gets absorbed into your bloodstream, so it is smart to choose the least toxic skin products you can. Or better yet, make your skin care products from non-toxic or edible ingredients you can feel really good about, particularly when you use them on your children.

This recipe not only loosens chest congestion and eases cough, but it also works great on sore muscles, and can help relieve tension headaches and migraines! It also makes a great gift.

Related:

Here’s a special trick for getting maximum effectiveness from any vapor salve—especially for that nagging post-nasal drip cough: Apply your Homemade Vapor Rub thickly to the soles of your feet, then put on socks over the salve, and lie down.

Really. It works exceptionally well. I don’t know why.

Homemade Herbal Vapor Rub

This recipe for homemade vapor rub will relieve chest congestion and coughing without toxic petroleum products, parabens and other nasty additives.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Melt the half cup of the cream base you have chosen (or the oil/beeswax base) by placing it in a bowl inside a larger bowl full of hot water. (If you have a very small double boiler, that would work too.) Do not heat the cream directly.
  2. You want your base to be as liquid and easy to mix as it can get. Remove from heat once it reaches a melted-chocolate consistency.
  3. Once your base cream is soft, add the oils one at a time, mixing each drop thoroughly into the cream. If you need to return the cream to the heat to keep it easy to mix, that's OK. Different bases melt and set at different temperatures.
  4. Once you have thoroughly mixed the oils into the base, let cool a bit, just enough to test on your skin.
  5. Smell and test the batch on the inside of your wrist. Everyone has different skin sensitivities. If the salve is too strong for your skin (or your baby's skin), melt the salve again and blend in 1-2 more ounces of base cream to dilute. If the salve doesn't smell strong enough, add 1 more drop of each essential oil until you reach the strength you desire.
  6. Pour finished salve into a metal tin, small canning jar or a recycled glass container.
  7. Apply to the feet, neck, chest and upper back for relief of chest and sinus congestion, or apply to sore muscles or headachy temples, as needed.
  8. Lasts indefinitely.

Notes

You will need the following tools to make this recipe:

  • Pot and small ceramic bowl, or small double boiler
  • 4 ounce canning jar, recycled jar or metal tin (where to find tins online)
This recipe for homemade vapor rub will relieve chest congestion and coughing without the toxic petroleum products, parabens and other nasty additives. It'll soothe sore muscles, too!

About the author

Dawn Gifford

Dawn is the creator of Small Footprint Family, and the author of the critically acclaimed Sustainability Starts at Home - How to Save Money While Saving the Planet. After a 20-year career in green building and environmental sustainability, chronic illness forced her to shift her expertise and passion from the public sphere to home and hearth. Get the whole story behind SFF here.

14 Comments

Click here to comment. (Please note our comment policy. Comments close after 30 days.)

50 Ways to Love Your Mother - Simple Steps for a Greener, Healthier Planet

IT'S EASY BEING GREEN!

Get your FREE ebook with 50 simple, “entry-level” ways to go easy on the planet, and your wallet, too.

Thank you! Please check your email now and be sure to CONFIRM your subscription to receive your ebook.

Share4K
Pin4K
Tweet6
Stumble1
Yum