Homesteading: Natural Vapor Rub

>> Tuesday, October 21, 2014

You may have noticed that I started writing about essential oils much more frequently in recent months. They’re something that’s always sort of been in my arsenal of home stuff, but the way I use them has broadened much beyond simple defusing. Now, I haven’t gotten into consuming essential oils or learning the specific combinations for medicinal purposes, but I’m slowly educating myself.

Like anything that’s slanted toward the natural -- I’d rather try home remedies and comforts than the store-purchased alternative. It’s also pretty cool when I discover something that actually soothes me. Empowering, I guess. (Note: I gladly take the Z-pack when I get mega-sick. Thank you, modern medicine!)

Though, I’m pretty sure Veggie Pho cures all!

So, along with slowly learning to make my own baking soda deodorant and soft skin lotion cubes, I’ve been venturing deeper into other DIY skincare territory. This time, of a more medicinal nature. I’m a huge fan of vapor rubs for cough and cold. I figured -- like everything else -- this was the kind of thing I could whip up in my own kitchen. And I was right.

There are lots of recipes on the web. Here are just a few.
Of all recipes, I favor the simple beeswax with oil and essential oil combination. I know a popular cure-all blend is Thieves, which was apparently used by these French guys who robbed people during the Plague. At least that sounds mysterious and probably moves oil. Regardless, it’s hailed for fighting germs and helping with chest congestion, etc. The major oils in it are cloves, rosemary, eucalyptus, lemon, cinnamon -- if you’d like to make your own to use in place of the oils in my recipe, go ahead!

I decided to go with two that I already own -- eucalyptus and peppermint -- because they are the stars of my favorite Badger Balm (Breathe Easy). And what’s awesome is that the balm this recipe makes is almost identical in texture and scent, just for a fraction of the price.

Use the smaller essential oil amounts for a baby + kid-strength variety.

What you’ll need . . .
Method . . .
  1. Combine your carrier oil and beeswax in a small, heat-safe bowl. Heat a small pot of hot water on the stovetop and then place your bowl inside to let everything melt together. Mix.
  2. Then take off heat and add your essential oils. Mix.
  3. Pour into a glass container for storage and place in the fridge to harden quickly. You don’t need to store it in there, though. I was just impatient and wanted it to quickly firm up.

I rub this stuff on my chest when I have coughs. I let it linger on my throat when it’s sore. I slather it under my nose when it’s stuffy. I even do that trick of putting it on Ada’s feet when she’s under the weather. At very least, it’s comforting and does provide at least some relief, in my humble opinion and experience.

Have you ever made a balm like this one? 

What’s your favorite combination of ingredients? 

Whenever it comes to homemade stuff, I like to stick to as few ingredients as possible. It keeps the cost down and keeps it simple + easy to remember. I’m also trying to learn more about the use of essential oils during pregnancy. Though I’m not pregnant yet, most of the bottles of oils I have say not to use (or to consult with a physician) if you’re pregnant. Do any of you know more on that topic?

And speaking of homesteading stuff, I also mixed together another 5 gallons of DIY Laundry Detergent today! Now that we’ve moved, it’s working so much better with our new water (it’s a bit harder -- so, go figure!). Instead of the ratio of 1/2 cup borax to 1 cup washing soda, I did 1:1, so I’ll be sure to let you know if it improves or hinders the power.

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