Commercial vapor rubs are full of things we really don't want to absorb into our bodies, ingest, or breathe in - petroleum, turpentine oil, and camphor. Additionally, these rubs are not safe for children under 2.
Since everyone in my house in congested right now, I decided I needed to make my own chest rub. Most of the recipes I found use beeswax, which was not an option for our vegan family. Many also contained oils such as peppermint and eucalyptus, which can cause laryngeal spasms in babies and toddlers. Peppermint oil can be a uterine stimulant in pregnant women when used topically or internally. Additionally, peppermint can reduce milk supply in lactating women.
This super-simple vapor rub recipe is subtly-scented, so don't expect the menthol blast you get from commercial rubs. It contains chamomile and lavender oils, which are suitable for all ages and have decongestant properties. The coconut oil melts on contact with the skin so it goes on easily. Make sure you use only pure essential oils and not perfume or potpourri oils.
Baby-Safe Vapor Rub
1/2 cup coconut oil
3-4 drops chamomile oil
3-4 drops lavender oil
Place all ingredients in a small bowl and whip with a hand mixer for 2-3 minutes. Spoon into a clean, dry jar and keep in a cool place.
Rub onto chest as needed and breathe deeply.