Vapour rubs are one of those home remedies that we all know and love. Vicks VapoRub was first invented in 1905 and has been a staple in many homes ever since. But did you know that it is super easy to make your own vapour rub using natural ingredients?
Vapour rubs are designed to release healing and soothing vapours from essential oils into the user’s breathing space. This can help sooth and decongest passageways, aid sleep, help ease a cough, and soothe a headache.
Rubbed into the chest, back and throat, vapour rubs can treat coughs, breathing difficulties and minor aches, helping to ease symptoms of illness.
A natural vapour rub consists of a base of oil and beeswax, and contains eucalyptus essential oil, which has all the decongesting and soothing properties. But since it's DIY, you can really add any ingredients. Other possible ingredients could be: menthol (menthol crystals), camphor, nutmeg, lemon, thyme, cedarwood, basil, peppermint, the list goes on. So have some fun and come up with your own vapour blends.
Please read our blog on Child-Friendly Essential Oils for more information on all the essential oils that are safe for children and babies.
Let’s get making!
For a basic vapour rub base you will need a carrier oil and a wax. Choose a cost effective and neutral-scented carrier oil such as almond, grapeseed, fractionated coconut or apricot kernel. You could also use olive oil. Including a wax brings up the viscosity, and adds hardness and slip. But you don’t want to make your vapour rub base too hard or it will be difficult to get out the jar, so take note of the ratios used below. Feel free to adjust them if you wish however; adding more wax will make the base harder, while adding more oil will make it more liquid. This is something you may need to consider if you live in a very hot or very cold climate.
Basic Vapour Rub Base
75-80% carrier oil
Gently melt the beeswax and oil together until everything is fully melted, then remove from the heat and allow to cool a little before adding in your essential oils.
Since soy wax doesn’t have the same harness as beeswax you will need to use more of it.
Soy Wax/Vegan Version
50% carrier oil
50% soy wax
Gently melt the soy wax and oil together until everything is fully melted, then remove from the heat and allow to cool a little before adding in your essential oils.
Vapour rubs can be super simple or more complex, depending on your needs.
Try this easy rub with just four ingredients:
Easy Vapour Rub
20 drops eucalyptus
10 drops peppermint
Herbal Vapour Rub
31g olive oil
10 drops peppermint essential oil
10 drops eucalyptus essential oil
10 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops basil essential oil
5 drops rosemary essential oil
Pour the olive oil, coconut oil and beeswax into the jar. Place the jar in saucepan filled with water over low heat and allow the oils to melt. Stir to combine. Once combined, allow to cool slightly and add in the essential oils. You can make the rub stronger by adding more of the essential oils if desired. Allow to set and then use as required.
Rub a small amount on the chest, back or throat area before bed, or on feet and the cover with socks for a guaranteed good night!
Note: if you intend to use a vapour rub on children younger than 10 years, leave out the eucalyptus essential oil and substitute in more peppermint, lavender and cypress instead. Or try roman chamomile if for babies.
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