No one likes that stuffy congested feeling that tends to pop up in the wintertime. Peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils are great at opening up the sinuses, and are the star players in this easy vapor rub. Naturally clear your head and breathe better with this simple recipe.
Vicks Vapor Rub- Not So Natural?
Many of us reach for the familiar blue jar of Vicks when a stuffy nose hits. At first glance it looks pretty natural with ingredients like eucalyptus essential oil, cedar leaf and nutmeg. Hidden among the ingredients though are some nasty chemicals, like turpentine, synthetic camphor and petrolatum (source).
Yep, the same turpentine you can buy from the hardware store to help with a house remodel is found in Vicks vapor rub. The petrolatum is derived from petroleum, and is classified as expected to be toxic or harmful and as a high human health priority (source). And while camphor is a naturally occurring substance, this contains synthetic camphor which is made from turpentine that’s distilled to yield pinene. The pinene is then reacted with other chemicals and refined in an undisclosed process to make synthetic camphor (source).
That little blue jar doesn’t look quite so innocent now does it? If you’re looking for something truly safe, simple and natural, then whip up a batch of this homemade easy vapor rub instead. A word of caution here though; very young children should not use peppermint or eucalyptus essential oil, so don’t use this on a child under the age of 3.
Peppermint essential oil
Even though peppermint feels cooling at first, it also stimulates and warms due to its high menthol content. Mint activates cold receptors in the nasal passages that promote clear breathing. It also increases the flow of fluids in the lymphatic system to help the body clear out congestion and heal faster. It moves fluids into the connective tissue, and has a restorative and regenerative effect on the immune system. Learn more about 43 of the best uses for peppermint oil here.
Eucalyptus essential oil
Eucalyptus is great for all things sinus related. It’s used for asthma, bronchitis, and even tuberculosis. It works by increasing the amount of oxygen absorbed by the respiratory system, which then stimulates circulation and increases the oxygen that makes it to your body’s cells. Eucalyptus is also an expectorant to help get excess congestion out of the body. Discover more about the benefits and uses of eucalyptus oil here.
Beeswax and coconut oil
This DIY vapor rub is made with coconut oil and beeswax because they offer a thick, salve consistency. The goal here is for the rub to linger on the chest so you can breathe it in for lasting relief, so you don’t want something thin like a lotion that’s going to sink in too quickly. Coconut oil also has mild anti- microbial properties, so it gives some extra support to the immune system when applied to the chest.
DIY Vapor Rub
- 2 T beeswax, grated or in pellets (available here)
- 1/3 cup and 1 T coconut oil (available here)
- 30 drops eucalyptus essential oil (available here)
- 30 drops peppermint essential oil (available here)
- 12 drops vitamin e oil (optional antioxidant for a longer shelf life) (available here)
- Small saucepan
- Metal spoon (not wooden)
- 4 oz metal tin or glass jar
- In a small saucepan over the lowest heat possible add the coconut oil and beeswax and melt just until combined. Remove from the heat, and allow it to cool for 1 minute.
- Add the essential oils, and vitamin E oil if using, then gently stir to combine. Immediately pour the vapor rub into a 4 ounce metal tin or glass jar and put the lid on.
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