When you have a stuffy nose, there is no better feeling than that moment when you finally breathe out of both nostrils. It’s a break from the blockage and any congested headache pain that existed before vanishes, if only for a brief moment. A quick way to achieve this state of easy breathing when you have a cold is by using a vapor rub.
Have you checked the ingredients on store bought vapor rubs lately? Some of those ingredients are not kind to your skin, but you can make your own healthier version with all-natural ingredients. It doesn’t take long to make the rub in this article and it is fully customizable. For example, if you prefer to use different essential oils than the ones in the recipe, feel free to do so. The essential oils that we detail in this article simply have a proven ability to promote better, easier breathing.
According to some studies and anecdotal reports, essential oils can help improve cold symptoms. Most of the human studies in existence show that essential oils can fight bacteria, reduce inflammation, and relieve pain. Because of these abilities, essential oils may help relieve many symptoms associated with congestion or coughing. Below, we will highlight several essential oils that may help improve breathing and get rid of a stuffy nose.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Inhaling peppermint essential oil’s aroma has a cooling effect that may help open your airways, allowing for easier breathing. Peppermint essential oil contains menthol, which is a compound that affects mucus receptors in the nose. Menthol works to clear mucus and improve your ability to breathe with ease. Lab studies found that peppermint essential oil may fight bacteria, one of the primary culprits behind sinus congestion. This is why many nasal decongestants contain peppermint or peppermint essential oil.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus essential oil shows promise as one of the best alternative remedies for sinusitis and congestion. In fact, many over-the-counter decongestant products, including chest rubs, contain eucalyptus essential oil. Eucalyptus essential oil is often used in steam rooms or steam baths because it aids breathing and may relieve stuffiness. Researchers identified that cineole, a compound in eucalyptus essential oil, works to relieve sinusitis symptoms, including headaches, nasal obstruction, and runny nose.
Tea Tree Oil
The way that tea tree oil works to improve sinus congestion is by fighting bacteria and viruses, two potential causes of congestion. A 2015 review noted that the alpha-sabine in tea tree oil exhibits antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties. Tea tree oil may also reduce inflammation, which may bring down swelling in the sinuses to ultimately relieve symptoms of congestion.
DIY Vapor Rub
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons beeswax pastilles
- 10 drops peppermint essential oil
- 5 drops eucalyptus essential oil
- 5 drops tea tree oil
- Add the coconut oil and beeswax pastilles to the top of a double boiler and melt over medium-low heat. Alternatively, you can place the coconut oil and beeswax pastilles in a heat-safe glass bowl and melt in the microwave, but this may take longer.
- Once the mixture is fully melted, allow it to cool for a few minutes before stirring in the essential oils. Let it cool for a while until semi-hardened.
- Use an electric mixer to whip the mixture until fluffy, and then spoon it into a glass jar. Store it in a cool, dry place.
- To use, rub a small amount on your chest when you have cough or cold symptoms.