Natural Vapor Rub Recipe

A soothing and petroleum-free version of the classic cough and cold soother 


  • 1/2 cup olive oil, coconut oil, or almond oil 
  • 2 TBSP beeswax pastilles (level, not heaping) 
  • 20 drops of eucalyptus oil* (use only 4 drops for use on babies and young children) 
  • 20 drops peppermint oil (substitute 4 drops fir essential oil for use on babies and small children) 
  • 10 drops rosemary oil (omit for use on babies and small children) 
  • 10 drops cinnamon or clove oil (optional – omit for use on babies or small children) 


  1. Melt beeswax with oil of choice in a double boiler until just melted. 
  2. Add the essential oils (use half the amount for a baby version or dilute with coconut oil before using) 
  3. Stir until well mixed and pour into some type of container with a lid to store. Small tins work well, as do little jars. I also always make a few in empty lip chap sticks to keep in my purse or to use on baby feet. 
  4. Use as needed to help reduce coughing and congestion. 


Many essential oils, including these, are not considered safe for babies or small children. Make sure to dilute for babies and children and use as little as is needed. 

Here’s a list of child-safe oils that support respiratory function*: 

  • Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana)* 
  • Cinnamon leaf (Cinnamomum verum)* – NOT cinnamon bark. The maximum recommended dilution in Essential Oil Safety is 0.6%, which would be a maximum of 3 drops in the recipe below) 
  • Fir Needle (Abies sibirica)* 
  • Fragonia (Agonis fragrans) – Smells a lot like eucalyptus, but safe for children. 
  • Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) 
  • Juniper Berry (Juniperus communis) 
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) 
  • Lemon (Citrus x limon) – For topical application I recommend the distilled lemon I linked to because it does not cause photosensitivity. If you use cold-pressed lemon essential oil instead, you can safely use up to 12 drops in the recipe below. 
  • Pine (Pinus Sylvestris) 
  • Rosalina (Melaleuca ericifolia) – Supports healthy respiratory function (similar to eucalyptus) 
  • Spruce (Tsuga canadensis) 
  • Sweet Marjoram (Origanum marjorana) 
  • Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis) 
  • Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) 
  • Thyme ct. linalol (Thymus vulgaris ct linalol) 

You can also make this recipe with herbs instead of essential oils by infusing the oil with 1 tablespoon of each of the herbs in a double boiler over medium heat for 2 hours. 

*Denotes an ingredient available for purchase at the Bastyr Dispensary.