Recently, a few of my kids woke up coughing. They told me their chests felt weird and that it felt strange when they inhaled. Sounded just like chest congestion.
Did I run to the store and buy a popular vapor rub? No. Commercial vapor rubs are typically petroleum based and add camphor which has been synthetically derived from the oil of turpentine and menthol, which is typically synthetically made.
I decided to make my own vapor rub containing natural essential oils that contain complex compounds that not only knock out symptoms, but can also help the body heal itself.
Why whipped? Because whipping the oils together requires no extra heating, which means less dishes (and less clean up). The result is a light, silky body butter that rubs in quickly. Just what you need for chest congestion.
Essential Oils for Coughs and Chest Congestion
- Peppermint essential oil is antibacterial, analgesic (it soothes pain) and anti-inflammatory. It’s also cooling and refreshing thanks to its menthol content.
- Eucalyptus essential oil is antimicrobial and a great expectorant, making it a good oil to use for respiratory issues.
- Lavender essential oil is very soothing and can help promote peaceful sleep (something that’s a bit difficult with chest congestion).
- Lemon essential oil isn’t just for gunk that’s stuck on surfaces. It’s also a great oil for slowing wheezing, colds, cough, and other upper respiratory problems.
- Tea tree essential oil is antimicrobial, making it a good addition to this rub if the chest congestion is the caused by some sort of pathogen.
Pretty impressive right? Individually, these essential oils are awesome, but together, they make a powerful combination to help clear up chest congestion.
Whipped Vapor Rub Recipe
Ingredients & Supplies
- ¼ cup room temperature coconut oil (find organic coconut oil here)
- ¼ cup room temperature shea butter (find unrefined shea butter here)
- 25 drops eucalyptus essential oil (find 100% pure eucalyptus EO here)
- 20 drops peppermint essential oil (find 100% pure peppermint EO here)
- 15 drops lavender essential oil (find 100% pure lavender EO here)
- 10 drops lemon essential oil (find 100% pure lemon EO here)
- 5 drops tea tree essential oil (find 100% pure tea tree EO here)
- stand mixer with whipping attachment or hand mixer and bowl
- clean glass jar with lid
Using your mixer, whip the coconut oil and shea butter for about 30 seconds. Use your spatula to bring it all back into the middle of the bowl. Add your essential oils.
Whip it again for another minute, then use the spatula to bring it back into the middle of the bowl one more time. Whip for another minute, then scoop it into a jar with a secure lid. Be sure to label what you’ve made!
Store in a cool, dark place. My whipped butters typically last for a few months – longer if you scoop it out with a clean utensil/hands.
This rub doesn’t pack the same punch as a commercial vapor rubs. Instead, it seeps in slowly, with a very mild tingling feeling.
Just apply a small amount to the chest during a cold or when you have a cough. You can also apply the rub on your upper and middle back as well. Apply every couple of hours.
If you rub it into your hands, you can also cup your hands over your nose and inhale deeply a few times.
Because the oils are diluted in the carrier oils, I feel confident using this on my childrens’ chests and backs, the youngest of which is 3.
If you’re using it on small babies, though, only apply a very small amount to the bottoms of their feet and put socks on them. Even though it won’t have the same effect as rubbing it on their chests, the essential oils will still be absorbed into their feet and provide therapeutic benefits. (Please be sure to only use 100% pure essential oils!)
Even though essential oils are natural, they must still be used with caution. Why? Because they are so concentrated and powerful. That’s also why it’s so important to use 100% pure therapeutic grade oils. Check out our Essential Oil FAQ for more tips on buying essential oils.
If you are pregnant or nursing, check with your holistic healthcare provider before using essential oils. Only use a very small amount on the bottoms of the feet on infants under 6 months of age.