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6 Natural Homemade Vapor Rub Recipes With Essential Oils

An alternative to that famous vapor chest rub is to make a natural homemade vapor rub using essential oils. In particular, eucalyptus, peppermint, and rosemary essential oils are great to clear out mucous and open up breathing when you have a cold or flu.

Note: The two most common types of eucalyptus are Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus radiata. Eucalyptus globulus is best suited for adults. Eucalyptus radiata is milder and usually a better choice for children, especially young children.

Homemade Vapor Rub Recipes

Caution: Some of these homemade vapor rub recipes contain strong essential oils that can irritate the skin of some people. Test each rub on a small area before using on a larger area. If you identify an oil that irritates your skin, leave it out of the chest rub.

1. Vapor Chest Rub

You can store this balm at room temperature.

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 ounce shaved beeswax
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint essential oil
  • 1 teaspoon eucalyptus essential oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme essential oil (preferably the chemotype linalol)
  1. Over very low heat, melt the beeswax in the olive oil.
  2. Remove the mixture from the heat and then cool slightly.
  3. Stir in essential oils, making sure you keep your face away from the oils.
  4. Pour the mixture into a dark glass container.
  5. Let the mixture harden.

Apply as needed to chest, back, and throat.

Source: Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art

2. Quick Vapor Rub Recipe

This balm will be the consistency of coconut oil.

  • 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 5 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 5 drops cinnamon or clove essential oil (optional; potential skin irritant; not for young children)
  • 1/4 cup softened coconut oil

Stir the essential oils into the coconut oil and apply as needed.

Adapted from Wellness Mama.

3. Herbal Vapor Rub

Makes just over 4 ounces.

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons beeswax
  • 25 to 30 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 20 to 25 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 10 to 15 drops lavender essential oil
  1. Place the olive oil and beeswax in a small saucepan on low heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until melted.
  2. Turn off the heat and stir in the essential oils, one drop at a time.
  3. Pour the mixture into a small, clean glass or metal container that has a lid. Let set.

Use as needed. Store in a cool, dry place for up to a year.

Source: Mrs Happy Homemaker

4. Homemade Vapor Rub

Makes about one cup.

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup grated beeswax
  • 20 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 20 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 8-ounce glass storage container with lid
  1. Place olive oil, coconut oil, and beeswax in a heat-proof glass container.
  2. Place a saucepan containing two inches of water over medium-low heat.
  3. Place the container in the saucepan and let the oils melt.
  4. Stir to combine.
  5. Remove melted mixture from heat. Let cool slightly.
  6. Stir in the essential oils.
  7. Pour mixture into glass storage container and let set.

Source: Dr. Axe

5. Strong DIY Natural Vapor Rub

Makes 4 ounces.
This recipe is for adults. For children, reduce essential oils by half.

  • 1/4 cup organic coconut oil, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unrefined shea butter, at room temperature
  • 30 drops camphor essential oil
  • 15 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 15 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 4-ounce glass container with lid
  1. Use a mixer to whip coconut oil and shea butter together until combined, about 45 seconds.
  2. Use spatula to bring whipped mixture to middle of bowl.
  3. Add the essential oils to the mixture and slowly stir to blend.
  4. Pour mixture into clean container. Cover with lid.

To use: Rub a small amount on the chest as needed to relieve congestion and reduce coughing.

Source: Ready Nutrition

6. Another Strong Homemade Vapor Rub

  • 25 drops cajeput essential oil
  • 20 drops eucalyptus radiata essential oil
  • 10 drops balsam fir
  • 10 drops peppermint
  • 10 drops sage
  • 5 drops clove
  • 5 drops tea tree
  • 5 drops thyme (linalol chemotype)
  • 1/2 cup jojoba oil

Drop all essential oils into a dark storage bottle. Add the jojoba oil. Screw on top and then shake vigorously. Store in cool, dark place for 24 hours before using.

To use: Shake well. Apply a few drops to desired areas. Inhale what's left on your hands by cupping them over your nose.

Source: Hands-On Healing Remedies

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