DIY: Vapor Rub |

DIY: Vapor Rub

admin January 31, 2011

Written by Kate TietjeMany years ago, when my kids came down with minor colds, I decided to mix some things up and see if it helped.  It did.  My daughter, who had coughed quite a bit the night before, slept soundly.  It worked so well that I knew I had to make it public.  So, I wrote this DIY recipe and made a purchasable variation available at Earthley Wellness — Breathe Well Salve.

Vapor Rub

This recipe is completely natural and safe for ages 6 months and up.


  • 5 tbsp. extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. evening primrose oil (could use sweet almond, olive, etc., if you want)
  • 2 tbsp. beeswax
  • 12 drops of tea tree essential oil
  • 12 drops of balm mint essential oil
  • 12 drops of Rosalina essential oil
  • 12 drops of lemon essential oil


Step 1: In a small pan over low heat, melt coconut and evening primrose oil.

Step 2: Add the beeswax, chopped up or in granules (mine was in a large chunk, so I chopped), and stir until melted.

Step 3: Add the essential oils and stir to combine.

Step 4: Pour into a 4-oz.  glass jar and allow to cool.

This mix will not be completely solid even when cool, so be careful when opening the jar.

Before bed, put this mixture on the feet and socks over it.  When put on the feet, it’s absorbed quickly into the body and goes through the whole system.  That’s why it works.  You could follow this up with a spoonful of raw honey and the same essential oils in a humidifier (which I did).  Worked great, and we all got sleep!

Don’t forget the 12 tips for stopping a cold in its tracks, and use elderberry as a flu remedy!  Got a sinus infection?  Try Earthley’s Sinus Saver, an herbal sinus rinse and natural remedies for headaches!

Have you ever tried a homemade vapor rub before?

This is the writings of:

  1. I wish I had read this two weeks ago. My daughter just got over a cold and I wanted to use vapo-rub but refused to but the stuff from the store. This is going straight in my recipe folder.


  2. Oh, I just love this! What a great alternative to the petroleum based vapor rubs on the market. Thank you for sharing this creative idea at Monday Mania! 🙂


  3. Just made this last night and used on my son who has a cold. He slept great and I had no worries of chemicals. Thanks for posting….LOVE your blog!


  4. Can this recipe be applied to the chest?


  5. This was so helpful! Thank you! Printing this for future reference.


  6. How long is the recipe effective for once made? Should it be refrigerated or can it be kept in the cabinet?


  7. would eucalyptus oil work? I don’t have rosemary, but use eucalyptus frequently.


  8. Thank you SO much for sharing this recipe! I made some up for my sick 10 month old yesterday. I put it on his feet before laying him down for the night and he slept through the night (from 8:30-4:30, nursed, then slept again until 7:30!) for the first time EVER! Now I think I will have to put this on his feet every night, sick or not 😉


  9. I have a cold at the moment but I’m pregnant and read not to use rosemary oil during pregnancy. I have two babies under two though and was interested in using this with them. I don’t have the evening primrose oil or beeswax and was wondering if you thought it would still be effective without them.


  10. Hi, my daughter has a cold right now and I was considering putting crushed garlic on her feet overnight with some coconut oil as a barrier. I am worried it may burn her feet. Do you know if that would work and if I could combine it w/coconut tea tree oil or would it be too much? Thanks.


  11. Just wondering a good place to purchase the ingredients, except the oils- I have those… I’m new to this natural stuff 😉


  12. You could use doTERRA’s Breathe essential oil blend and cut out all the work of making this rub. 🙂


  13. Have you done any research on the safety of tea tree oil, especially when pregnant? When I was looking around about different tooth pastes (one being Earthpaste), I kept reading how tea tree oil should not be used while pregnant. The reason being that it can be estrogen mimicking. Since I know you’re expecting and this is the second time tea tree oil has come up lately, I figured I’d ask. I stopped using Earthpaste bc I was nervous about it. What are your thoughts?


  14. Can’t wait to make this! Could avocado oil be used instead if evening primrose oil? Thanks!


  15. Hi Kate!

    Just wanted to say, I tried this recipe tonight. Went in rubbed some on my 6 year old daughters feet, who’d been coughing the whole time I was making it and hasn’t coughed since. Same with my husband. People this stuff WORKS! The Vicks brand caused my daughter to break out in a slight rash which is why I went looking for an alternative. Thanks for sharing an honest, real and working recipe! 😀


Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

Meet My Family
Love our content? Sign up for our weekly newsletter and get our FREE Nourished Living Cookbook!