By Katie and Rustina, Contributing Writers
I’m sure many of you grew up with Vicks VapoRub. For many homes, at the slightest cough or congestion, moms would be rubbing Vicks under everyone’s noses and on their chests!
Sadly, the Vicks vapor rub does not live up to the hype. Did you know that it is not a decongestant? It is actually a cough suppressant! The only reason everyone thought it “opened them right up” was because of the strong menthol smell that could still get through!
Not only is it not effective at clearing the congestion, it is made with very questionable, even dangerous ingredients! Straight from Vicks’ website, these are the ingredients: “ The active ingredients in Vicks VapoRub are camphor (a cough suppressant and topical analgesic), eucalyptus oil (a cough suppressant) and menthol (a cough suppressant and topical analgesic). The inactive ingredients in Vicks VapoRub include cedarleaf oil, nutmeg oil, petrolatum, thymol and turpentine oil.”
Consumption of vapor rubs can be fatal because of the toxic ingredients. Sadly, the Vicks vapor rubs are not something you want to put in, or therefore, on your body!
When you or your little ones are already struggling, do you really want to slather on petrolatum and turpentine? Not to mention that the herbal based oils (some of theirs are synthetic to boot) are not the safest ones they could choose. Which is a part of why they had to add the warning not to use on children 2 and under. Even with that warning, there are still cases of people having chemical burns and other bad reactions to it! If you want to read some stories about that, check out these: 78 yo woman with chemical leukoderma, burning, itchy rash, or this announcement that VapoRub can have severe effects on breathing in young children because it may stimulate mucus production and airway inflammation.
Everyone should have access to safe and effective options! That is why we are sharing this recipe and 2 different ways to make it (a Double Boiler Method and this Crockpot Method).
Replacing over the counter remedies with natural ones may seem daunting at first. It’s important to take baby steps. Making your own vapor rub is a great place to start. This is a safe and effective remedy that will break up congestion, clear sinuses, help you relax and get a better night’s sleep.
Herbal Chest Rub: Crockpot Method
- 1 cup Coconut Oil
- 1 cup Olive Oil
- ¼ cup Dried Lavender
- ¼ cup Dried Peppermint
- ¼ cup Dried Rosemary
- ¼ cup Fresh Grated Ginger
- 4 Tbsp Beeswax Pellets or Grated Beeswax
Step 1: Put both oils and the herbs in a crock pot. Turn it on the lowest setting. Let it sit for about 4 hours. It could infuse for 8 hours for a stronger concentration of herbal properties in the oil, but be sure to watch the oil level closely. It is usually not necessary to cover the mixture completely with a lid, but partially or loosely works well.
Step 2: Next, strain the herbal oil through a cheesecloth or old t-shirt. Be sure to squeeze out the excess oil from the herbs so none is wasted.
Step 3: Wipe out the crock pot to remove any plant particles, and place the now infused oil back in the crockpot. Again, on the lowest setting.
Step 4: Add the beeswax one tablespoon at a time. Stir until the wax melts completely.
Step 5: If you are choosing to add essential oils, now would be the time to add those. I chose not to add any EOs.
Step 6: Pour the rub in small glass jars or metal tins then let cool.
How to Use:
Rub under the nose, across your sinus cavities, on your chest, or even on the bottom of your feet!
Here are some great herb options:
Lavender -Antiseptic healing, relaxing, pain relieving, antihistamine (safe for babies of all ages)
Peppermint– Cooling, pain relieving, helps opens nasal passages (safe for babies over the age of two, not recommended for women who are pregnant)
Rosemary– Antiseptic, helps open nasal passageways (safe on children over the age of two, not recommended for women who are pregnant)
Ginger– Breaks up congestion (safe for children over the age of two)
Eucalyptus– Potent antiseptic, antiviral, and decongestant (eucalyptus smithii variety can be used on babies over two months old)
Garlic– Antiviral and antibacterial (safe for babies age 1 and up)
**Don’t want to make your own? Try our Breathe Well Salve (safe for ages 6 months and up)**