Cold and flu season is upon us once again, and searches for natural decongestants and homemade vapor rubs are on the rise. The beginnings of a cold – the congestion, achy body and head, runny nose – always have me reaching for a green smoothie. But once that cold has taken residence, I just have to ride it out. Bleh. One of the most uncomfortable parts of being sick is chest and sinus congestion.
Natural decongestants vs store bought
Store bought medicines contain unsafe chemicals, and even their 'natural ingredients' can be super processed. Always read labels, even on more natural-looking brands, as these can sneak in ingredients that aren't necessary and are harmful. According to the Mayo Clinic, popular store bought options contain toxic ingredients. Even though it is a topical treatment, these chemicals are absorbed through the skin. This means they can still cause harm even if they aren't ingested. I'll stick to ingredients I know are safe, and a natural chest decongestant recipe that actually works!
Homemade Vapor Rub as a natural decongestant
When a cold/flu hits and congestion sets in, I use all the tools I've got to get rid of it quickly + naturally. Here are some of my fav natural chest decongestants:
- Humidifier: This is a super simple way to add moisture into the air, which helps your ability to breathe. I keep one in each of my kid's rooms, so they can use it whenever they feel stuffy.
- Saline nasal rinse: I was a bit skeptical about pouring salt water into my nose until I tried it... this is a great way to relieve pressure, push out snot, and open up your sinuses.
- Spicy food: Seriously! I LOVE spice, and use it liberally when I start to feel congested.
- Diffusing essential oils: Specific scents can help calm the mind + body, and actually help you breath better. I love the brand Plant Therapy, because their products are USDA Organic, and top quality. This natural decongestant is going onto your body, so using good ingredients is essential.
Homemade vapor rub
I don't buy a vapor chest rub anymore—I make it! It's easy to make, but the real benefit comes from knowing you are using something natural rather than a concoction full of unsafe chemicals and other icky things. Our DIY natural decongestant uses 100% natural extra virgin coconut oil, shea butter, and essential oils. It's safe as well as effective. (Note: don't use on infants without first consulting with a healthcare professional!)
Note: After application of my natural decongestant, be sure to wash your hands with a carrier oil (not just water). I like to use coconut oil, yet olive oil is a great one as well. This helps get any essential oil remnants off of your hands, so that you don't rub them into your eyes inadvertently.
The highest quality essential oils
I love Plant Therapy essential oils because they are 100% pure, natural, and of the highest quality. In fact, Plant Therapy works directly with Robert Tisserand, a world renowned essential oil expert, and adheres to the strictest standards of quality in the essential oil industry.
Plant Therapy oils are selected from the producer after being vetted and the oil(s) tested 3-5 times for purity before being bottled in the Southern Idaho facility. Each bottle contains a tracking number that corresponds with information that is available on the website so consumers can see the testing results for themselves. All of this attention to detail and dedication to quality means that you are getting the very best essential oils on the market to use in this homemade vapor rub.
Natural chest decongestant ingredients
Extra virgin coconut oil serves as a carrier oil, but is also very moisturizing and soothing to the skin. Shea butter is also moisturizing, but gives the mixture a thicker texture so it's not too greasy. Essential oils I'm using: cinnamon, eucalyptus, rosemary, and peppermint. These oils help promote healing and soothe swollen tissues for easier breathing. The cinnamon also has a slight warming effect.
Homemade Chest Rub recipe
To make the Natural Vapor Chest Rub, simply melt the coconut oil and shea butter together, then stir in the essential oils. Transfer to a jar or other resealable container and store in a cool, dry place. It will keep a fairly long time – I think we've used the same batch for five years. Just to be sure, only make one batch at a time. It will last for the whole cold weather season and even through allergy season too!
To use, remove a small amount from the jar with clean hands. Rub in palms and apply gently to the chest area. Cover lightly. We recommend wearing an old t-shirt to prevent the oils from staining bedding or other fabrics and surfaces.
Homemade Vapor RubLeave a Review Print Version
- mixing bowl
- air tight container
- double boiler
- 2 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 tablespoon shea butter optional
- 10 drops eucalyptus oil for ages 3+, use only 3 drops for children
- 10 drops peppermint oil for ages 3+, use only 3 drops for children
- 4 drops rosemary oil for use in ages 10+
- 4 drops cinnamon oil when making to use for children, use cinnamon leaf instead
- In a double boiler, gently melt coconut oil and shea butter. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
- Stir in the essential oils. Pour into a clean container with tight-fitting lid. Allow to solidify and cool completely before using.
- Store in a cool, dry place for up to six months. To use rub a small amount between the palms to soften and apply to the chest as needed.
- Eucalyptus and peppermint oils should only be used in ages 3+ and in very small amounts.
- If making for children, just use Peppermint and Eucalyptus essential oils.
- Other oils that can be beneficial for a children's vapor rub are: lavender, tea tree, spruce, and pine.
More natural remedies
I don't want to use something unless it works, and I LOVE when I find natural remedies that work better than over-the-counter medicines. I've used these recipes for years, and share them with everyone I know. We should all feel empowered to take control of our health, and do it through plants. Check out more rawkstar recipes like the natural decongestant, and share them with your family too!
- Homemade fire cider
- Honey lemon ginger tea
- Homemade elderberry syrup
- Anti inflammatory smoothie cubes
- Ginger switchel recipe
- Golden milk
- Homemade deodorant
- Homemade toothpaste
- DIY lip scrub
Do you have some fav natural remedies you swear by? Let me know in the comments, I'd love to try them too!