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Monday, February 22, 2016

Homemade Vapor Rub Balm

Soothe the cough right out of my sole!

Well, I had seen this post floating around the internet a year or so back for a simple cough remedy.. Rubbing Vapor Rub on the soles of your feet.  Like all things internet.. interesting but does it really work.  Fast forward to Scarlett's spring break that turned into fighting this nasty virus going around with high fevers and then after 4 days of that, bringing an insane cough back that we thought was gone.  Immediately I ran to make my Pear Tea which I learned from the Chinese herbalist.  Which I do believe helps.  

It was nighttime and I had put Scarlett to bed.  The cough was waking her up.  Grandma reminded me of that post we both had seen for the rub on the soles.  I ran in and grabbed my homemade vapor rub, which I keep on hand.  Have I ever mentioned my vapor rub obsession?  That smell is one I love.  When I smell it I immediately see the vaporizer we grew up with that usually accompanied the rub.  The whirring of steam, the smell.  It might just be why I love to sleep with a fan on still.  I blame it on sleeping in the city, the noise.. but it might just be this nostalgia.   The thought of going to sleep without a fan on makes me tense.  I might just admit that. 

Anyway, this rub is super simple and easy to make.  You do need a few ingredients and oils but they are easy to come by in a health food store or online.  I love Rose Mountain Herbs for most oils and herbs. They also have nice containers.  Love Brambleberry.  Locally, Nature's Elements in Enumclaw, Marlene's in Fedway for shea, cocoa butters and essential oils.   These are my go to for making soaps, balms and lip bombs.  Balms?..  Yes,  that's what I meant, but quite honestly.. they are the BOMB. 

Obsessed about making my own everything, this is what I do.  I actually derive maj pleasure from it.  But you might not.  That's ok, just find some all natural (non-petroleum) at a health or natural store.  Everything is available, pretty much everywhere now.  

So, why no petroleum jelly or the store brand we grew up with, you ask?  Don't get me started.  Ok.  You did.  It is a bi-product of oil refining process, firstly.  Then there are these harmful hydrocarbons.  Basically this study in 2011 found that: 
There is strong evidence that mineral oil hydrocarbons are the greatest contaminant of the human body, amounting to approximately 1 g per person. Possible routes of contamination include air inhalation, food intake, and dermal absorption.
We can't metabolize them and they get stored in our fat.  Gotta love that. It's making us fat.  Hydrocarbons are very common in make-up and most beauty products.   Once in, it's very difficult to get rid of these contaminants. And what's worse, these contaminants can be passed on to our children, even through breast feeding.  

So, that's hydrocarbons, in a nut shell.  But there's more.  

The barrier it creates when it sits on your skin can cause collagen breakdown.  Collagen is what keeps us youthful looking. God, no to that!   It also blocks pores and does absolutely no good, which a natural alternative would.  Let's see what else.. estrogen dominance.  This is where it hits home for me as I am diligently trying to heal my adrenals and thyroid from years of being off balance most likely from products and foods that have such estrogen dominance like petroleum jelly.  Store brands even contain turpentine, which is very toxic to children, even deadly in doses as little as 3 teaspoons.  The new greaseless formula is even worse.. It not only has parabens (which is the one consistent thing found in breast cancers and yes, found in most beauty products) but also diazolidinyl urea which is a formaldehyde releasing chemical that is.. guess?.. TOXIC UPON INHALATION! Isn't that the point of vapor rub?!! 
There's more. PEG-100 stearate another ingredient that is often contaminated with cancer-inducing dioxane.  

If we really start looking at the products sold by big food and these major companies that have marketed America so well that we trust them like they are family.  They are nostalgic, right?  Not right.  So wrong. 

Start scratching around and a ton more of information will come up to defend why we should really not be using this or many other products.  What's sad is that Petroleum jelly is everywhere.  It may appear as petroltum, mineral oil, liquid paraffin or paraffin oil on labels.  And you will find it everything from lotions, to baby products.  Mostly baby products.   It's ability to create a protective barrier on the skins and hold in moisture might seem like a good idea.. but these are the downsides. 

Ok, rant done.  So, buy it natural or make your own.  You can alter the oils for different results.  

I do think moving forward I will try and make a batch with more coconut oil and pour it into a chapstick-type container, so you could just swipe it on your feet.  More coconut oil (which hardens at 76 degrees) and less shea butter will produce a harder product.  But for this application, I think I might like that.

Homemade Vapor Rub BALM  (for feet or chest)

4 teaspoons grated beeswax or pellets

3 Tablespoons shea butter (you could sub cocoa butter here)

7 Tablespoons coconut oil

High quality Essential oils:

20 drops Eucalyptus

10 drops Rosemary

10 drops Lavender

10 drops Lemon

10 drops Tea Tree (see note*)  

In a double boiler, mix beeswax, shea butter and coconut oil until melted.  Take off heat and blend in oils.  Cool and place in jar or container.  

*Note:  I love using tea tree oil in my blend for it's healing and antibacterial properties but it's not to be used on children under 6 months of age. To make without Tea Tree, simply boost the other oils to be equal to the 10 drops you are eliminating.  

Other combinations I love: 

20 drops eucalyptus / 20 drops peppermint / 20 Rosemary  This is an amazing "inhaler" type for colds and congestion.  However, as good as it smells, do not put on skin under the nose.. it may cause irritation.  Simply breathe in or I like to put this on a stone necklace or on my sleeve and throughout the day breathe some in.  Talk about wellness feeling. 

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