When colds or flus strike, there are several items that every person makes sure to obtain: herbal teas, tissues, and Vicks Vapor Rub. Hopefully, you can keep cold or flu viruses out of the house this year, but they have a way of creeping in and infecting the home. Before you know it, you’re a hot mess that can’t stop sneezing and blowing your nose. There’s so much pressure in your head and all you want from life is to be able to breathe easily.
Saline nasal rinses can be beneficial, but they don’t always work. Instead, it is wise to use ingredients that promote decongestion. Rather than resorting to Vicks Vapor Rub, which contains petroleum, turpentine oil (approved for decongestant rubs, despite the fact that it isn’t safe for children), and parabens, you can easily make your own decongestant rub with a few simple ingredients. Another reason to avoid Vicks is because certain people can be more sensitive to the ingredients, which may be interpreted as irritants and cause more mucus build-up, despite the fact that it is supposed to promote decongestion.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus essential oil is commonly used in over-the-counter decongestant products because of its ability to help relieve coughing, stuffiness, and sinus congestion. It is used in steam rooms because it aids with healthy breathing. Eucalyptus oil contains the compound known as cineole, which may be an effective treatment for sinus issues, but a 2009 study found that this same compound may cause heartburn or rash on people with sensitive skin.
Peppermint Essential Oil
The cooling effects of peppermint essential oil have been known to open up blocked airways. The menthol in peppermint oil can affect mucus receptors, working to clear mucus and assist with better breathing. While research is still trying to determine if peppermint oil can improve sinusitis symptoms, other studies have found that it may fight the bacteria that cause congestion.
Note: If you are using this on children, be sure to check and see if the essential oils are safe for them. You may need to lessen the amount of essential oils in the recipe to make the rub gentler, but still effective.
Homemade Decongestant Chest Rub
- 1/8 cup cold-pressed coconut oil
- 6 drops peppermint essential oil
- 6 drops eucalyptus essential oil
- Pour all of the oils into a small glass jar and stir to combine.
- Start with the suggested six drops of each essential oil and you can increase the amount until it is the strength you desire.
- Cover the jar and store it in a cool dry place. Apply on the chest as needed, or until symptoms are gone.