If you’re a parent (or even if you’re not) you’ve no doubt experienced “the sickies” that seem to follow our youngsters around wherever they go. Sometimes it’s not a problem-I’ve seen more than a few tots run around mindless of their runny nose-but sometimes that congestion, especially when accompanied by cough, can interfere with sleep and overall comfort.
When this situation crops up, don’t head straight for the Vicks Vapor Rub. It can be harmful (see note below) and you can easily whip up your own version, sans all the bad stuff. Here’s a recipe that is simple, safe, and that works for people of all ages.
You will need…
-10-15 drops of essential oil for scent (eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary, lavender, any combination, etc.)
-1/2 cup of coconut oil or olive oil
-1-2 tablespoons of beeswax pastilles, candelilla wax or palm shortening (it can be made without it, but it won’t be as thick.)
If you’re using it, melt 1-2 tablespoons of wax in a double boiler. When it has just finished up melting, stir in ½ cup of olive oil or coconut oil along with the essential oils you’ve chosen to use.
Stir all that goodness together until it’s completely blended and then transfer to a container with a tight fitting lid. Let it infuse for 24 hours. After a couple of months dispose of it, since you’ve been sticking your fingers in it, and make a new batch!
Where do we get our ingredients? We get most of our ingredients from (and recommend) Mountain Rose Herbs. We have had great experiences with products of high quality for affordable prices-something that’s vital in a world where things can get costly fast-and we feel good supporting them as they focus on fair trade and sustainable agriculture.
- Using olive oil makes a liquid rub, using the wax yields a “solid” rub
- If you’re making this for a small child, half the recipe.
- Always dilute the essential oils
- You can get beeswax pastilles (chips) at many health food stores, or you can order it online. The same goes for candelilla wax or palm shortening.
- Experiment with different ratios! If you want it thicker, add more wax, and vice versa. Find out what smells work best, and try to discover a great combination.
Vicks can be harmful to youngsters. It has ingredients that act as irritants which the body reacts to by producing even more mucous. That might not be a big deal for adults, but for little ones under the age of 2, that irritation can cause a whole lot of problems. An infant or young child’s airway is much narrower than ours, which means increased mucus and inflammation affects them more severely and makes breathing that much more of a struggle. That struggle can lead to upper-respiratory problems, and some reported cases of them have been quite nasty. (Vicks also contains turpentine oil…I wouldn’t want to be rubbing that on a little chest!)
Why Vicks feels helpful: It is notably the menthol in Vicks Vapor Rub that tricks the brain into thinking the body can breathe easier because of the cold sensation it causes. That cold feeling is processed as indicating more airflow, which is why it makes you feel better, but doesn’t actually help you breathe better.
Note: If you are making this for a child, always dilute by adding a higher ration of olive or coconut oil and a lower ratio of essential oil, and use as little as needed. Never rub directly beneath your/your child’s nose. Use only on chest, and for infants try rubbing on feet.
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By Claire GoodallClaire is a lover of life, the natural world, and wild blueberries. On the weekend you can find her fiddling in the garden, romping with her dogs, and enjoying the great outdoors with her horse. Claire is very open-minded, ask her anything :) Meet Claire→
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