Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Homemade VapoRub!

From the laundry basket of the Homegrown Mama

I just got yet another winter weather advisory on my phone this afternoon.  Yesterday, the forecast was for today to be partly sunny and 46 degrees.  The weather this winter has been all over the place and yet my children have remained remarkably healthy.  I'm ready, though.  Weather this warm tends to breed all sorts of illness and everyday I hear about another one of my friends' children and respiratory infections, croup, and even pneumonia.  This is the time of year that high dollar coupons for Vicks VapoRub are in the newspaper on a weekly basis.  

The ingredients in Vicks are as follows: Camphor 4.8%, Eucalyptus oil 1.2%, Menthol 2.6%, Cedarleaf oil, nutmeg oil, special petrolatum, thymol and turpentine oil.  A lot of people in the mothering communities feel that this is a safe product and is relatively natural.  I cannot get past the presence of petrolatum, or petroleum jelly.  

Do you know what petroleum jelly is?  It is simply a semi-solid mixture of hydrocarbons.  It does not oxidize with exposure to the air, and is not readily acted on by chemical reagents. It is insoluble in water. It is soluble in chloroform, benzene, carbon disulphide and oil of turpentine.  Petroleum jelly is a byproduct of oil drilling.  Oil drilling, you know, the kind of oil that winds up in gasoline.  Nope.  I'm not going to put a cousin of gasoline on my baby's skin.  

Considering how absorptive our skin is and even more so our children's tender skin, it's imperative that we are careful what we put on our bodies.  I made my own vapor rub cream using organic coconut oil and eucalyptus essential oil.  Coconut oil is a solid at room temperature, so I measured out 2 Tablespoons and warmed it until it was a liquid in the microwave (about a minute and a half).  Then, I added in 20 drops of the eucalyptus oil and mixed with a spoon.  Once the mixture has returned to a solid, it smears on the skin just like any other cream.  When Liam had a nasty sounding cold prior to Christmas, I put on his chest before bed and the next morning, all was well!

Not that I want to keep using this on a regular basis, but it's just nice to know that there is an alternative to the standard care for chest colds.  When your kids are sick, what do you do?


Anonymous said...

I LOVE the idea since my household is allergic to Vicks. My only questions are storage/shelf life. Does it go in the fridge or just a shelf? Can it mold?

Laura said...

I am storing mine in the fridge since it's currently not getting any use. But since both the coconut oil and the eucalyptus oils are shelf stable, I would think they will be ok out... if you were using it a lot. I have looked up shelf life and not really found anything specific, so I wonder if you'd notice the oil turning rancid?

Michelle said...

We ditched Vicks a long time ago and use an organic rub from Badger Balm now. I haven't made my own rub yet but in a pinch I always keep items on hand that can be used to ease coughs and cold symptoms naturally. I'll be sure to keep your recipe in mind. Thanks. ;)

Erica said...

Great recipe, if you have raw, unrefined coconut oil you might want to avoid the microwave and heat it very slowly on the stove and not loose any of the precious "rawness" of the product anything over 115* will start denaturing it, and it only needs to be about 75-80* to melt. It is fine on the shelf and should last a long time. Coconut oil does not go rancid at room temperature. We leave our 5gallon bucket out all year long.

Catherine said...

Virgin Coconut oil during the heat of the summer turns liquid. That is a great time to make this mixture. Yes, refrigerating it would be a better idea. And always use therapeutic-grade essential oils to make sure the oils have not been overheated and burned as well.

Sue said...

Love this recipe - when I make it, I will also tuck in some Young Living RC oil as well - lots of different eucalyptuses and other aromatics that we use with colds around here in it. :)

CO does NOT go rancid, ever. Because we live in the low desert (where it gets STUPID-hot on a regular basis), I keep my CO-blends in the fridge, else they'd be liquid almost year-round. One of the beautiful things about CO (besides its overt healthful properties) is that it is shelf-stable virtually forever. :)

Jennie said...

Thank you for this tip! Yes, coconut oil much better than an oil byproduct. BUT - coconut oil has so many beneficial healing ingredients that are killed in the microwave. Better to heat over very low heat on the stove. Or better yet - just heat a pan slightly and then put the oil in it to melt. I don't use the microwave any more.

Laura said...

Thanks for the heating tips, ladies! I will keep them in mind as I use coconut oil for pretty much everything anymore!

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