We’re in the thick of it, y’all. Winter is in peak form, and with it brings its effects on our bodies, our moods, and our outside time. Between cold season, COVID offering up new variants, and all the heavy sighing we’re collectively doing trying to keep alive and informed about it all, looking out for your respiratory health is pretty important these days.
The CDC is telling us to do enough, in actuality or in the form of some admittedly hilarious memes, but lets shelf the dark humor for just a sec. This week we wanted to offer up some suggestions to help ease your tired lungs and everything they’re attached to. We’ve been perusing the internet and there’s lots out there in the way of home remedies for treating respiratory discomfort. Namely among them are some pretty great recipes for homemade “Vaporub.”
Not only that, but we also have a few things in store that are comparable in effect, or have a good majority of the ingredients needed to try your own hand at making some lovely, lung soothing balm.
Before we jump in, don’t forget all the basics our elders have been finger wagging at us for most of our lives. Stay hydrated, get regular, quality sleep. Exercise. Eat nutritiously. Don’t smoke. Blahblahblah. Presuming you have your combination of all those things already in hand, let's make some stuff!
If you prefer the stuff you can buy at the drugstore, then by all means, buy that stuff. While it has its merits, making your own doesn’t contain any of the petroleum based ingredients and other artificial stuffs or endocrine disrupting substances that are in the version we all grew up with.
There are varying recipes across the vast landscape of the internet, but the easiest one we found was simply coconut oil, eucalyptus essential oil, and peppermint essential oil. How easy.
1 cup coconut oil, 20 drops eucalyptus essential oil, and 10 drops peppermint oil. Combine, and mix well.
Be sure to note that if you melt the coconut oil first, do not add the essential oils until the coconut oil has cooled to room temperature–the heat will cook off some of the benefits of the essential oils.
(While we’re on the subject of essential oils, know that there is an ocean of information regarding their quality, production, and application. We aren’t even touching that one this week, but it is worth mentioning if it wasn’t something you were already aware of. Not all essential oils are treated equally. Purchase accordingly!)
There were some other recipes that went so far as to make a balm with coconut oil, cocoa butter, and beeswax beads, all of which we have in store. You can also play with the mixture of essential oils that work best for you. Some folks included camphor, lavender, rosemary, and/or tea tree oil in different combinations. Obviously your blend will depend on your own preferences, allergies, etc.
Also, a disclaimer for safety: You’ll likely need to adjust your essential oil quantity and blend if you’re making this and using it on your kiddos. Some essential oils, like peppermint and eucalyptus aren’t great to use on kids under the age of ten in certain quantities. Also, we are novices in this too, so please make sure you do your fair share of reading beyond this blog to make the most informed choices that you can for you and yours. There were recipes in more than one place that had the “kids’ version” and a version for grown adults. They varied based on oil quantity and oil type.
Another thing: some essential oils, like eucalyptus, tea tree, rosemary, and peppermint can make your animal pals nauseous, extra drooly, etc. Don’t go makin’ this stuff, usin’ it, and petting your pals with it on your hands. Our animal friends have noses that are much more sensitive than ours, so remember that if you have a kitty that likes to sleep on your chest or a dog that likes to lick ya.
In addition to the ingredients to make your own, we also carry the widely beloved eucalyptus steam tabs, and steam powder in the shop. While these products definitely offer some respiratory relief, these ones are expressly for aromatherapeutic purposes and *NOT* for application directly on your body, or in the bathtub. The tabs work in the shower, or in a simmering pot of water on the stove with steam. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure, we highly encourage you to check them out. They’re worth the hype. *They’re so popular that we are still currently out of them! (We do have the loose powder though!) Keep an eye on our Instagram for when the tabs are back in stock!
In the coming weeks we are hoping to hone in a bit on ways to continue to safeguard ourselves against the wrath of cold and flu season. We’ll also be talking about some relatively easy points of entry if any of your New Year goals/hopes/dreams/intentions include low waste living. We’re looking forward to it and we hope you are too!
In the meantime–stay safe and healthy, warm and cozy, & well fed and rested. Oh, and wash your damn hands!