Homemade Herbal Vapor Rub

Natural DIY herbal vapor rub can help alleviate congestion and discomfort from colds and sinus infection and make breathing easier. Here’s how to make your own.

Homemade Herbal Vapor Rub

Nothing makes a parent feel more helpless than those wakeful nights with a sick baby… especially since there are so few options for treating infants with coughs or colds.

One indispensable baby remedy is a chest or vapor rub. Unfortunately, commercial brands are made with petrolatum, also known as petroleum jelly, a semisolid mixture of hydrocarbons obtained from petroleum. These salves often contain synthetic fragrances, with any number of toxic ingredients known to cause allergies, dermatitis, or reproductive issues.

So, how can you help give your little one natural relief?

You can make your own vapor rub using organic almond oil and all-natural essential oils.

Essential Oil Herbal Vapor Rub Safety

When making home remedies, it is extremely important to know which essential oils are safe for infants. Many oils can burn a baby’s sensitive skin or are toxic to their tiny bodies. If you plan to use this vapor rub for a child less than 6 years old, be cautious of ingredients and use a child-safe line of essential oils. These are more diluted than their counterparts for adults.

The child-safe oils in this recipe are also effective for fighting infection and releasing mucus. Be sure to read labels before using any plant-based medicine on a child. For instance, Eucalyptus Radiata should not be confused with Eucalyptus Globulous, which hasn’t been proven safe on small children.

And not all essential oils are grown, harvested, and processed ethically. We recommend buying essential oils from a reputable brand that controls its products from seed to seal.

Homemade Herbal Vapor Rub Recipe



Grate the beeswax with the wide-hole side of a cheese grater. Place the grated beeswax into a double boiler and let it melt (or you can simply put the wax into a measuring cup and the cup into boiling water to melt it).

Add the almond oil and stir. Let the mixture cool slightly before stirring in the essential oils or they will evaporate.

Pour it into small tins, glass storage cubes, or mini hex jars.

Homemade Herbal Vapor Rub

Note: The more beeswax, the thicker the salve.

You can test the consistency by placing a teaspoon of the still liquid mixture in the freezer for a minute. Take it out and see how it feels. If it’s too hard, add more oil; if too soft, add more beeswax.

Once the salve is cooled and solidified, you can rub it on your child’s chest, back and throat.

If stored in a cool, dark place it should last for months… or even years.

Pre-made Safe Vapor Rub

Since we first published this recipe, some reputable brands have created natural versions you can buy in stores or order online. This pre-made natural vapor rub in case you don’t have time or interest in DIY. You can also find a formula made just for babies and small children.

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One Comment

  1. Mel from Canada says:

    Thank you so much for the great information. I’m going out to find some eucalyptus radiata tonight.

    Btw I just want to let you guys know that your magazine has changed our lives 🙂 a Facebook friend of mine liked your page during the summer and I got curious and checked it out…and I discovered a world I didn’t really know existed! Until the summer we used Teflon pans, had tons of plastic all around the house (toys, tupperware, sippy cups etc), I cleaned with tons of chemicals, bathe in some too and we ate a lot of processed food.

    It all feels like a distant memory now! Its amazing how many drastic changes we’ve incorporated in such a short period of time! So thank you for all that you do!!! My family (even my converted, originally crazy skeptical husband) is very thankful 🙂