It’s time to make a new batch of my DIY Vapor Rub Lotion. I used to call it DIY Cough and Cold Comfort Lotion, but people didn’t really understand that it was intended to replace over-the-counter vapor rubs. So, I hopefully made things more clear with the name change. 🙂 We’ve had our first casualty of cold and flu season, this year. Our poor daughter has had a 48-hour battle going with the stomach flu. She is past the worst, but feeling weak and still hanging on to some respiratory yuck.
I created this recipe, last winter, during a particularly awful bout of sickness in our home. The virus we were fighting, then, caused congestion, sinus issues, sore throats, headache and deep, hoarse coughs. It began it’s assault with our son and then, moved to our daughter. Within a few days both David and I were showing symptoms. The week progressed and so did that crazy bug. School days were missed and work was missed. This virus was a hanger-onner. Oy! Don’t you hate when that happens? We just needed a break, a little comfort in the middle of it all while our bodies did the work of fighting it off. Comfort and symptom relief were on the top of my “Mom Agenda”, so everyone could suffer less while they were on the mend. And so, DIY Vapor Rub Lotion was born.
I know you’re just like me and when these knock-you-down, hold-you-hostage kind of illnesses get hold of your family, all you want to do is fix it. It’s that “mom instinct” to protect our own that makes us work to bring help and comfort to our loved ones, even if we’re not feeling well, ourselves. While the cure is often just time, rest and nutrition, comfort during the healing process is important. Even if you end up with a prescription for antibiotics to get rid of the problem, the discomfort and symptoms will continue to linger as the healing process happens. Like me, I know you want to keep those comforts as natural and healthful as possible.
Some of our family’s best comforts, like Bigelow Green Tea with Lemon and my DIY Vapor Rub Lotion, not only provide some relief from symptoms, but they have healthy benefits, too. Hot tea is soothing for sore throats, it warms the body and helps us relax. Being able to relax and rest are important elements in allowing the body to heal most efficiently. Green tea is loaded with polyphenols and antioxidants which can protect cells and molecules from damage. L-theanine and caffeine are compounds in green tea that can help reduce the “brain fog” we notice, even more, when we’re sick and can give us a little more energy. L-theanine and caffeine work together to improve brain function, improve mood and in combination with the milder caffeine of green tea, the L-theanine creates more stable energy levels, rather than peaks and crashes. Green tea also contains a few minerals like potassium, calcium, phosphorus and manganese and Vitamins C, K, E, B2 and others. The addition of lemon in my favorite Bigelow Green Tea variety is soothing and pleasant. Bigelow Teas are American made by an American family with a deep commitment to bringing the highest quality products to consumers like you and me; plus, they are always easy to find at my local Walmart. It’s why they are my first choice when my family isn’t feeling well.
The recipe for my DIY Vapor Rub Lotion was born out of a desire to find a more natural solution to relieving all the discomforts, aches and symptoms that go along with dealing with colds and flu. Plus, I know there are many that can help with coughing and congestion. The more I learn about and use essential oils, the more excited I am to find how effectively and naturally they can replace some of the processed and chemical over-the-counter remedies our family previously depended on.
Please note that essential oils are VERY concentrated and powerful. They should ALWAYS be diluted in carrier oils (coconut, olive, almond, rosehip, etc.) You should always use caution when using essential oils on children under two. Even children under ten, should not have certain oils used on them, topically. I have always found this list to be helpful in choosing safe ones for very small children. And, though it is pricey, Robert Tisserands latest edition of Essential Oil Safety, a Guide for Healthcare Professionals is a comprehensive source that I trust. It provides a breakdown of constituents of the most commonly used essential oils, information on their interactions with over-the-counter and prescription drugs and safety guidelines for the ages they can be used. This really opened my eyes to how I use my Germ Fighter essential oil blend, which is the equivalent of what many call Thieves, when preparing recipes for use with young children. Because of its ingredients, it is not recommended for use with children under ten, nor is eucalyptus. For anyone over ten in my own family, I wouldn’t hesitate to use my DIY Vapor Rub Lotion recipe, just as it’s written, below. If you have younger children, the Hippy Homemaker has her Cool Vibes Vapor Rub recipe with oils that are more appropriate for younger children. I hope you’ll check that one out. I’ll be whipping up my own batch to keep on hand for our grandkids! As always, you MUST educate yourself. Don’t just take my word, when it’s so important. Do your own research and make the choices that are best for your own family. For us, safer, natural methods like essential oils are a critical part of our health care.
I chose the oils in this recipe for their immune boosting, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and soothing properties. The carrier oils I chose were coconut oil and red palm oil in the form of red palm shortening, which is a combination of coconut oil and red palm oil. Both these oils have tremendous health benefits and are fabulous for your skin. This lotion can be used as a chest rub, massaged into tired, achy shoulders or rubbed on the bottoms of the feet. I smooth it into my hands as a quick anti-bacterial solution. I’ve even used it on my chapped lips. Because coconut oil melts at temps higher than 72 degrees, how solid your lotion will become, will depend on the temperature of your home. You can keep it in the fridge if you would like it to stay solid at all times, but whether it is in creamy solid form or in it’s melted liquid state, you will use it in exactly the same way. We used it about every two hours, this past week, as a sort of vapor rub on chests and the bottoms of feet, to help with coughs and congestion. On the neck and shoulders it was great for headaches that come with congestion and achy muscles. It left skin smooth and soft and the lavender helped with relaxation and the rest that is so critical to healing. I keep a jar on my kitchen counter and use it on my hands, throughout the day, as an antibacterial lotion. I hope you find that it is as soothing and helpful for your own family as it is for mine.
Bigelow Tea is super easy to find at your local Walmart in the tea and coffee aisle. There are many varieties and flavors that would be fantastic soothers and comforters for your family during cold and flu season. Pick some up, brew a steamy, flavorful mug and try this recipe, to help your family with a more natural way of healing this winter. Follow Bigelow on Facebook and on Twitter for more great tips and recipes. Be healthy!
- 3 Tablespoons Palm Shortening
- 6 Tablespoons Mango Butter (shea or cocoa butters will work, too)
- ⅔ cup coconut oil
- 35 drops Immune-Aid Essential Oil Blend
- 30 drops Germ Fighter Essential Oil Blend
- 20 drops peppermint Essential Oil
- 20 drops lavender Essential Oil
- 15 drops rosemary Essential Oil
- 25 drops eucalyptus oil
- Melt the coconut oil, mango butter and palm shortening, in a medium saucepan, over medium/ low heat.
- Once melted, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes.
- You want the essential oils to be added while everything is still liquid, but lukewarm to the touch, so the heat doesn't destroy any of their potency.
- Stir in the essential oils.
- Pour into 3 clean half-cup canning jars and allow to cool. Screw lids on the jars after the contents are cool.
- This lotion can be used as a chest rub, massaged into tired, achy shoulders, rubbed on the bottoms of the feet or even the backs of the knees to be quickly absorbed. I smooth it into my hands as a quick anti-bacterial solution. I've even used it on my chapped lips. Use it on the neck and shoulders for headaches and achy muscles. For coughs and congestion, use it on the chest, back or bottoms of feet like you would any vapor rub product.