I can handle in stride just about every symptom that a cold or flu can throw at me except chest and nasal congestion. When that creepy crud settles in my chest, and I feel like I’m hacking up a lung every five minutes, or my sinuses are so full of junk that it’s oozing out of my eyes, my attitude starts to resemble my appearance, which with my goopy eyes, red nose, and raspy wheezing, looks and sounds a lot like an ogre, and not the cool Shrek kind of ogre either, but more like the scary sci-fi kind.
Anyway, for years, I turned to over-the-counter vapor rub for relief. It seems harmless enough and allows my family to breathe a little easier while fighting a cold or flu. But what if you could make something better? Something that’s tailored to me and my family? Something that isn’t based in a petroleum product? Hmmmm, now that sounds appealing!
After reading at least twenty different recipes for vapor rub, I did a little digging into the ingredients. I wasn’t too concerned about olive oil, beeswax, and coconut oil. They’ve all been proven quite user friendly. It was the essential oils that gave me some concern.
I love using essential oils, but I wanted to create a formula that was effective but didn’t smell like sweaty socks or worse: Ben-Gay. Ben-Gay makes me think of old people. I wish it made me think of hard working athletes, but it just makes me think of old people. Just because I am an old-ish person does not mean I want to smell like one!
After a bit of research and tweaking I came up with a great recipe that’s mild enough to apply directly under your nose and will help heal that Rudolph-like glow left behind from incessant tissue use. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite strong enough to attack chest congestion or sore muscles. So, I simply re-melted part of the batch and made it stronger. I still have one jar of the mild version, but now I also have two jars of the more intense version.
For the most part, the oils I chose have properties that help clear congestion, relief symptoms, and aid in recovery. Please note that these oils should never be applied directly to the skin and should always be combined with a carrier oil like the coconut oil, olive oil, and beeswax in the recipe. Also, camphor is a very strong oil! It should never be more than 10% of the mixture.
Natural Vapor Rub (mild version)
1 cup coconut oil
¾ cup grated beeswax or beeswax pastilles
½ cup olive oil
35 drops eucalyptus essential oil
35 drops peppermint essential oil
15 drops lavender essential oil
15 drops rosemary essential oil
10 drops camphor essential oil
Combine coconut oil and beeswax in a double boiler. Heat until melted, stirring constantly. You can combine these items in a bowl instead, and melt them in the microwave.
Stir in olive oil and mix well. Add essential oils and mix well. Pour into 4-ounce jars or other suitable containers with lids. Makes 3 4-ounce jars. Mixture will become solid as it cools. Let cool completely. Place lids on jars and store.
Intense Variation: To make a more intense version, double the eucalyptus and peppermint, and add 5 more drops of camphor.
Note: If you are working in a cold kitchen like I was, your mixture will begin to solidify as soon as it hits the cold jars. In fact, it may start getting solid while you’re mixing, and you may need to heat it a bit to get it off of the sides of your bowl.
I get my oils from a local Richard’s Whole Foods store, Great American Natural Products, also a local shop, and occasionally Amazon. The beeswax also came from Great American Natural Products.
Thanks for stopping by! If you try this recipe, please let me know how it worked for you. By the way, it also makes a great foot rub!
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,