Saturday, December 3, 2011

Homemade VapoRub

Homemade VapoRub
VapoRub, it’s an old stand-by used by millions of people to help ease congestion and coughs. However, even VapoRub is full of yucky ingredients; mainly petrolatum and turpentine oil. Turpentine oil? Really?


Both of these ingredients are not good for the body. Petrolatum, which is actually banned in EU cosmetics, is linked with organ toxicity. Turpentine oil is an immune system toxin, organ toxin, and is an irritant. It's toxic to children in as little as 3 teaspoons! Why anybody would put turpentine oil in a product is beyond me. There are tons of safe alternatives.

The good news is that VapoRub is incredibly easy to make! You do need to invest in a few essential oils but they are good to have on hand any way and only cost $3-5 for a bottle that will last quite a while so long as you don’t add them to any and everything like I do.

Homemade VapoRub

1/4 cup Coconut Oil - melted
5 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
10 drops Rosemary Essential Oil
10 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Directions: 
Place oil into a small container and add in essential oils. Mix well.

Then just rub on chest, under nose (carefully) and even feet. Rubbing on the feet and then covering with socks is said to be one of the safest and most effective areas to use a vaporub. 

This has quickly become a favorite product in our family when we are dealing with a cold. As I said, this is such an easy recipe to make and it can be used by anyone. So ditch the store bought, chemical laden stuff and start making your own!


Not sure where to get all these products? Here's what I use: Rosemary Essential Oil, Tea Tree Essential Oil, Eucalyptus Essential OilCoconut Oil. Note: these links are affiliate links. I receive a commission from affiliate links however there is no extra cost for you; you are simply supporting a blogger.

28 comments:

  1. Are the oils pictured the brand you use? Thank you!

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  2. Yes, those are currently the brands of essential oils that I use. :)

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  3. Does the rosemary essential oil do anything in particular?

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  4. I put it on my kid's feet at night with socks and it works wonders! Really cuts down on the night-time coughing. Definitely give it a try. :)

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  5. Rebecca - Rosemary helps ease breathing. It's actually a lot like eucalyptus in that sense.

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  6. I made my own with eucalyptus oil and Live Clean Baby's unpetroleum jelly. It was a little goopy but it worked!

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  7. Thanks for joining the hop! I wish I had seen this post last week when the whole family had some chest congestion. Will definitely remember in the future though! Thanks :)

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  8. That does sound very easy to make! I will have to get some oils so I have them on hand when the yucky stuff comes through our house. I have been putting VapoRub on my kids feet at night with socks for the past few years when they are coughing and congested. It works wonders. I was suprised how well it worked :)

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  9. It is great on the feet. I make own congestion salve and that's how I use it for myself and my girls.

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  10. Just wanted to point out that tea tree oil is not safe to use on babies or pregnant/nursing women, or on people with eczema (I forget which studies I've read recently that discuss this, but it's mentioned on several websites & articles). I want to try this with the eucalyptus oil that PP mentioned!

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  11. Thank you J.C. I have read the studies that now show that over use of TTO is not a good thing. I have heard it can cause skin irritation or allergies however, that is a common concern with anything. I have not heard of any issues with eczema, my son has eczema and we have no problem with using TTO. Of course, using TTO like any other product is not a one size fits all scenario. TTO is not safe to use on babies if undiluted but in the homemade vaporub it is diluted. As for the pregnant/nursing women, it is recommended to not use TTO although the only reason is that it hasn't been studied. I would not encourage an everyday use of TTO, however for a random cold here and there I personally see no problem (especially if the alternative was some chemical filled medicine) However, that is just my opinion and of course, everyone should do their own research and come to their own conclusion.

    I have made this vaporub with just rosemary oil and I find that it works just fine without the TTO. So it is possible to skip it entirely.

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  12. I just tried this and it is still liquid. How long does it take to harden?

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    1. Did you melt your coconut oil first? I normally leave my coconut oil at room temperature for this recipe. I find that it can take 4-8 hrs for melted coconut oil to solidify.

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  13. Put the mixture in the fridge and it should solidify. Coconut oil has a melting point of 78 degrees so the room temperature may be too warm for your coconut oil to solidify.

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  14. How long does this keep and would you recommend room temp or the fridge?

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    1. As long as you keep it in a cool dark place (as oppose to a warm sunlit room) then it should last 6-12 months. Coconut oil lasts for 2 years and so even if the essential oils loose their strength, you could just add more essential oils to your batch.

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  15. Just have to say that this works great! I've been using it on my 3-y-o when he's congested from allergies at nighttime. I can only put it on his feet b/c he won't let me get it on his chest or neck (too ticklish!). And he won't wear socks at night, either, so he is barefoot after I put it on him. But it has not failed us and almost immediately his coughing will stop! My hubby is always the skeptical one (becoming less of a skeptic as he keeps seeing how well stuff like this works, though!), and he agrees that it *really* makes a big difference. Thanks for posting this because I hate the thought of using actual Vaporub, so this is perfect (and not as messy, either!).

    Question - is the TTO necessary? I wonder b/c I'm using it on a young child who will touch his feet sometimes - or more often, will stand up in his bed after we leave him to go to sleep...and sometimes he'll stand on his pillow. Not sure if both EOs are needed and play important roles or if rosemary is really the star. Could you give a little more info on that? (We don't use this a LOT, so I'm not concerned about overuse, but I'm still wondering if I need the TTO. Partly b/c of his age and how he behaves. Also b/c I know some say you should be careful about TTO when pregnant, which we hope to be soon. The little guy and I both have year-round environmental allergies, so while we don't use this a ton, it will definitely be something I want to be able to reach for anytime without concern.) Thanks again!

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    1. Daisy - I would say that TTO is not necessary. Rosemary seems to do a good job by itself. In fact, that was how I originally made it. Eucalyptus would also be a good choice.

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  16. I have Camphor oil, would that be OK to use? In what mixture would you think it would work?

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    1. I have no idea if camphor oil would work. I would suppose you could add the essential oils to any carrier oil but coconut oil works well because it's a solid oil.

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    2. Camphor oil should work just fine. I grew up with both camphor crystals and oil for such and it works well.

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  17. I read someplace that for kids you should not use them camphor oil.

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  18. Thanks for such a simple affordable and effective treatment for such a common ill. I just thought I would add that in Chinese Medicine the Kidney meridian begins on the sole of the foot and has an internal connection to the throat and therefore has a great effect on not only coughs but painful throats as well which is why rubbing the feet and keeping them warm has such a wonderful effect.

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  19. Husband is congested bad. It is 1:30am. We live in the country. Closest store is 25 miles up the road. Need something but what? Found your write up, have all ingredients but used Peppermint & Eucalyptus oil instead. He said it smells better, likes the peppermint. Vapor rub no more! Will be making a much bigger supply to have on hand. Excellent post. Thank you, so very much !!!! Wait ... what is that do I hear ... but him resting more comfy now. He placed it under his nose. Will remember the feet/socks when it hits me. And it will. :(

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    1. Glad it helped! Yes you can use quite a range of essential oils. Eucalyptus or Rosemary seem to be the essential ones (one or the other) for really relieving congestion but there's a lot of creative space for the essential oils in the recipe. Hope everyone gets better soon!

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  20. Does the coconut oil have to be a specific brand or will any coconut oil be ok? What is its role here, just a carrier?

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    1. Erika - Any brand of coconut oil will do (I still recommend only using expeller pressed or cold pressed coconut oil). You could even use other oils such as olive oil in a pinch but coconut oil is nice because of it's (usually) solid form.

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  21. I am very enjoyed for this blog. I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.essential oils, baby

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