Get FREE access to my newsletter, exclusive coupon codes, and links to Mommypotamus recommended products for your health and home!

DIY All-Natural Vapor Rub

Affiliate Disclosure | in Natural Remedies | by | with 181 Comments

I Miss My Nose

Because as great as it is to walk by a full bin of dirty cloth diapers unphased, gulping down a glass of vinegar that I’ve mistaken for water is, um, not-so-fun. Stuffy-nosed kids doing the snot slurp every few minutes? Also not so fun.

We have been fortunate to have experienced very few illnesses in this house over the past few years, so this was my first opportunity to test out a DIY “Better Than The Unnamed Company That Rhymes With Nicks” salve for myself. Folks, I love it! Though I can’t smell much of anything, I can BREATHE. I can sleep through the night and so can my kids (though one of them is choosing not to – I’m not naming any names Micah!)

Why Is This Better Than Store-Bought?

Because store brands contain special petrolatum (aka processed crude oil) and turpentine, a toxic substance that can be fatal to children in amounts as small as 3 teaspoons.¹ The new greaseless formula is even worse – parabens, diazolidinyl urea (a formaldehyde releasing chemical that is toxic upon . . . inhalation!²) and PEG-100 Stearate (wbich is often contaminated with cancer-inducing dioxane).

And third, your homemade version will contain all the proven active ingredients that famous brands use without all the junk I just listed! Below there are two formulas: One for older children and adults and one that can be used on children under two. I recommend rubbing this salve on the chest to help open breathing passageways and also rubbing a thin layer on the soles of your (or your little one’s) feet. Take extra care to place the oils right under the four smallest toes – this will help the healing properties of the oils be absorbed into the bloodstream where they can assist the body with its work. (Because getting sick every once in awhile is a good thing dontcha know!) Note: Do not apply these formulas directly under the nose.

This recipe takes five minutes to whip up once you have the ingredients. Are you ready to get started?

Homemade Vapor Rub

If you plan to apply to your nose/cheekbones/temples use 20 drops rosemary, 20 drops lemon and 20 drops eucalyptus.

For a chest/foot rub here are some popular combinations:

  • 20 drops eucalyptus, 10 drops rosemary, 10 drops lavender, 10 drops tea tree, 10 drops lemon
  • 20 drops each rosemary, lemon and eucalyptus
  • 20 drops each rosemary, peppermint and eucalyptus
  • 20 drops eucalyptus, 20 drops peppermint, 10 drops basil and 10 drops pine needle
  • 15 drops each lavender, rosemary, tea tree and eucalyptus

“Better-Than-Vicks” For Little Ones Under Two

*Please note that only lavender and chamomile are generally considered safe for babies under two months, eucalyptus (the smithii variety) can be introduced at two months and tea tree can be introduced after 6 months. Essential oils are very potent so use sparingly, alternating with this method for very young babies.

Method

  1. Melt beeswax/tallow and shea/cocoa/mango butter in a double boiler.
  2. Once melted turn off the heat and add coconut oil and essential oils.
  3. Pour into a clean glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Makes about 3/4 cup.

Can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 year.

Essential Oils That Soothe Congestion

  • Eucalyptus – Potent antiseptic, antiviral, and decongestant. According to Valerie Ann Worwood of The Complete Book of Essential Oil & Aromatherapy, the eucalyptus smithii variety should be used on children and avoided until baby is at least two months old
  • Tea Tree – An effective antimicrobial, expectorant and antiseptic. Safe for babies over 6 months.
  • Peppermint Helps to open nasal passages. Some say this should be avoided while pregnant. Personally I would use it for a brief period during a cold. More on contraindications here. Do not use on babies or young children.
  • Thyme – Powerful antiseptic that helps boost immune function. Useful for colds, flu’s  and chills. Avoid if you have high blood pressure and do not use more than 10 drops per batch.
  • Basil – Helps open nasal passages. Antiseptic.
  • Rosemary – Antiseptic, helps open nasal passageways.  Safe for babies over 2 years. Some say this should be avoided while pregnant. Personally I would use it for a brief period during a cold. More on contraindications here.
  • Pine- Great for colds and sinusitis. Has decongestant and antimicrobial qualities.
  • Lavender – Antihistamine, antiseptic and antimicrobial. Safe for babies of all ages
  • Clove – No more than 2 drops. I am not an aromatherapist or essential oil expert, but it is my understanding that higher concentrations of this oil should not be used without the supervision of a qualified professional.
  • Marjoram – Antimicrobial. Helps with breathing.
  • Chamomile – Relieves congestion and helps calm cranky patients. Safe for babies of all ages.
  • Lemon – Stimulates immune function, but take care if using in sunlight because it increases sensitivity (safe for children over two years)
  • Sweet Orange – Helps with detoxification (safe for babies)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

181 Responses to DIY All-Natural Vapor Rub

  1. Brittany says:

    I have a humidifier and there is a thimble sized bowl that is heated by the steam as it rises out of the humidifier. is there anyway to modify this recipe so I can continue to use it with my humidifier instead of putting it directly on the sick individual?

    • Brittany says:

      Also, if there was a way to do so while maintaining a liquid form(like the store bought stuff) what do you think the shelf life would be?

    • Heather says:

      I’m not sure, Brittany. Some people say that heating the oils (even via steam) diminishes their therapeutic benefits.

      • Sue says:

        Those people probably have no education in aromatherapy or the safe use of essential oils. The specific essential oils in your recipe work via inhalation – and while a diffuser which creates a mist without using heat would be best – some gentle warmth like a tealight diffuser or the warmth of the body when used topically, is not going to reduce the effectiveness.

  2. Erica K. says:

    And….done! Thanks for the recipe! I’ve had it stored for a long time and finally made it tonight. Looking forward to slathering it on me and the babe! I made some thieves oil (used the recipe on MRH’s blog) and used 60 drops of that, hoping that was ok and not a bad idea. It smells yummy, kind of like Christmas! I also used organic candelilla wax instead of beeswax, because I had it on hand, hopefully it sets ok (candelilla is harder than beeswax so I only used 3 tsp). Thanks again for the recipe!

  3. 5 Recipes For How To Make Your Own Quick DIY Natural Vapor Rub says:

    […] Source: Mommypotamus […]

  4. Natural Flu Remedies | GoGreen Web Directory's Blog | MA Green Living Guide says:

    […] -How about this DIY All-Natural Vapor Rub for those over the age of 2 from MOMMYPOTAMUS? […]

  5. Friday Happy Hour #7 - Oh Lardy! says:

    […] I am talking about colds – a fully customizable vapo-rub!  Just add different oils to address your discomfort! […]

  6. ejmc says:

    What combinations (and how many drops) could you make with just peppermint, lavender, lemon, and eucalyptus?

    • Amanda @ Mommypotamus Support says:

      EJMC, This is what Heather recommends in her post:
      If you plan to apply to your nose/cheekbones/temples use 20 drops rosemary, 20 drops lemon and 20 drops eucalyptus.

      For a chest/foot rub here are some popular combinations:

      20 drops eucalyptus, 10 drops rosemary, 10 drops lavender, 10 drops tea tree, 10 drops lemon
      20 drops each rosemary, lemon and eucalyptus
      20 drops each rosemary, peppermint and eucalyptus
      20 drops eucalyptus, 20 drops peppermint, 10 drops basil and 10 drops pine needle
      15 drops each lavender, rosemary, tea tree and eucalyptus

      Try using peppermint or lavender instead of rosemary!

  7. 25 Uses for All Natural Peppermint Essential Oil for Body Care says:

    […] Homemade Vapor Rub […]

  8. Leah says:

    Bummer…none of the essential oil combinations for adults are considered safe for pregnant/nursing women (eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint…)

  9. 6 All-Natural Remedies To Kick That Cold | Bath and Body | CraftGossip.com says:

    […] DIY All-Natural Vapor Rub by […]

  10. 10 Natural Cold and Flu Remedies says:

    […] DIY All Natural Vapor Rub by Mommypotamus […]

  11. Sara says:

    Where do you buy the smithii version of eucalyptus oil? I can’t find it anywhere!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Amyah says:

    I did a version of it when my kids were young and it was awesome too… I was using (and still use it) Ravensare E.O. also in my little mix. Smell exactly like the Vicks but less the toxic side and it works so great!

  13. Shruti says:

    I have been looking up different recipes for soothing wet cough of my 8 month old but not sure of the right proportions, given there are so many different things on the net. This one looks safe as per whatever little I know of aromatherapy. However I can’t get bees wax here, where I live. so is it possible to use the essential oils only with coconut oil. I do have pure coconut oil and the essential oils mentioned here. And if yes, what proportions should I use.

  14. Kshauers says:

    So mine doesn’t look all white and jelly like it’s yellowish soft, but I’m wondering if it’s because it’s 80 degrees in the house. and I smell coco butter over the EO. Suggestions?

  15. Megan says:

    I don’t know if someone commented on this yet but Peppermint can also cause your breastmilk to dry up. It’s an antigalactogogue. When the baby and I are done I’ll consider it’s use but it’s the last thing I want right now. Spearmint is a save substitution.

  16. Mei says:

    Getting set to make this for my 6-month-old and came across this site:http://www.rockymountainoils.com/educate/essential-oils-for-children/

    Looks like eucalyptus and tea tree are not safe for babies applied topically, and I wanted to warn others.

  17. Laura says:

    Great recipe !
    Was it suppose to be 6 tablespoons of MELTED coconut oil ? I put 6 tbsp of solid coconut oil. I followed instructions and my vapor rub is liquid. Yikes ! How can I fix it ? Should I put more beeswax ? If so, how much more ?

  18. Natalie says:

    I do not find this formula strong enough to help. Is it just me?

  19. Amy says:

    Hi Mommypotamus!

    I love all of the great information on your site. It is one of my main “go-to’s” for all natural recipes. So, THANK YOU!

    I have the book “Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child” and Valerie Worwood said that Eucalyptus Radiata is acceptable for children over 2 months old. Or, should I just find the eucalyptus smithii? What are your thoughts on this? I have been using Eucalyptus Globulus in a vapor rub for my children when they were under a year old. :/ Obviously, not knowing, but they actually never had any problems with it. It is HEAVILY diluted with a carrier oil and bees wax.

    Thanks again,
    Amy

  20. Vicki S says:

    So, I made the vapor rub recipe with eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender, tee tree, and lemon. Only I didn’t realize the only eucalyptus oil I have is Eucalyptus globolus. So, my question is this? Is this mixture not safe to use on my 7 almost 8 year old daughter who is around 70 lbs and over 4 ft tall? She has a cough that has almost went away but I ran out of the really expensive warm chest rub I bought that was homeopathic. Do I just need to buy a different kind of Eucalyptus? Also, in future recipes when using Eucalyptus, do I need to further dilute it for my my daughter in addition to the other oils in the recipe? Like in addition to the 7 tblspns of coconut oil, do I also dilute the eucalyptus oil in a carrier oil before adding it to the recipe or does the coconut oil serve as a carrier oil in the recipe? I am brand new to essential oils, so would love some clarification for my mixed up brain. I don’t want to hurt my child, but I would love to be able to make her a remedy at home. :-)

  21. jordan says:

    I’m so late to this post – who knows if you’ll ever see it! Question – if i’m going to make the better than vicks under two, you don’t recommend using it on newborns? wait until 6mo, or make it w. out the tea tree (which seems to defeat the purpose)?

  22. Heather says:

    Hi Christina! I haven’t researched the safety of those particular oils for small children so I can’t really say, sorry!

  23. Tonya says:

    Wintergreen and Sweet Birch essential oils should be considered a BIG No-No for children. For the same reason it is recommended to refrain from giving a child with fever aspirin, these oils should be avoided as well. Both of the essential oils have over 90% salicylates (methyl and ethyl). Salicylate (acetyl) is the active ingredient in aspirin.
    From the ReyesSyndrom.org website, I found this helpful link: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1009987-overview

  24. Kat says:

    I was wondering too!

  25. Sue says:

    I can’t believe I missed this the first time I visited!! “So far they are the only company to have earned the CPTG status from the government.” This is completely UNTRUE. There is no government – not the USA or any country on the planet – that grants “CPTG status”. This is a totally made up status and completely meaningless…there is no such thing as “therapeutic grade” and “CPTG status” is the company’s own made-up criteria. It’s 100% marketing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

« »