Homemade Decongestant Chest Rub – Compare to Vicks®

DIY Chest Rub Recipe! Ditch the Vicks® and make this instead! No added chemical nasties and much cheaper!

I never even thought of making my own decongestant chest rub.

In fact, I had completely forgotten that there even was a product like that.

Until I needed it.

Necessity is the mother of invention, right?

In this case, yes.  And though I didn’t really invent this, I finally cobbled together information from the internet and made my own.

About two weeks ago, at bedtime, my youngest son’s nose was completely stuffed up.  It’s allergy season here so a bit of sniffling is to be expected, but not the total clogging that he was experiencing.  And he was pretty miserable.  There is nothing harder for a mom than when her child is suffering and you don’t know how to help him.

We tried our saline nasal rinse and blowing, but neither worked well at all.

Then I remembered an email I had gotten from a reader, mentioning that she had a recipe for Vicks Rub.

So I reread her email and the web and I was once again off and running to “Make Your Own Land :-).”

If you have the ingredients on hand, this is a breeze.   And it has much cleaner ingredients than the commercial brand.

Now some people might not think that it is a big deal, but there is reason to be concerned about what you put on your skin.

1.  Think about how pharmaceutical companies are producing drug patches these days.  You put the patch on and the drug seeps into your skin.

2.  Then there is the whole paraben/breast cancer issue.  Parabens (used in lots of personal care products) haven been found in breast cancer tissue.  You can read this article on the FDA’s website to read more on this topic.

The jury is still out on how the parabens got in there.  And I know that there are different sizes of molecules so that some things may pass through the skin while others won’t.

Then, I looked at the ingredients in Vicks and thought,  “who wants to put turpentine oil on a child’s skin anyway?”  Yes, there is turpentine oil in Vicks — Ugh!) (UPDATE 1/1/13: I was just informed by a reader that turpentine oil is approved for use in decongestant rubs.  However, I will say that there is a warning on one of the resources that I checked, stating that:

There isn’t enough information to know whether turpentine oil can be safely inhaled by children or put on their skin. It’s best to avoid any use of turpentine oil in children.

There is also petrolatum in Vicks and I try to avoid that whenever I can.)

So, I whipped up a batch, rubbed some on my son’s chest and even dabbed some on his PJ’s directly under his nose.  Another good tip is to place some on the sick person’s pillow.

It worked immediately and about ten minutes later, he was asleep :-).

{Please note that there are affiliate links in this post. If you click on them and make a purchase, a commission might be made. Your support is much appreciated and helps keep this free resource up and running.}

I got my great little container at Mountain Rose Herbs.  Nice color, nice compact size and travels well.

Important note:  Do not apply undiluted essential oils directly to the skin, or injest them, unless otherwise directed by the manufacturer.

I hope this works for you!

If you enjoy frugal, healthy options to over the counter products, check out my Recipes page where you can find a lot more “Make Your Own” options including:

Interested in more about Essential Oils?

Do you have a favorite natural remedy that you would care to share?

Or leave a comment with something that you would like a natural remedy for.  I’m game for a challenge!

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  1. Hi there,

    We recently featured your article on a blog post titled ’top 31 amazing things to make with coconut oil’

    You can find it here: http://www.honesthealthblog.com/31-amazing-things-make-coconut-oil/

    Please share if it’s ok with you! I’ve also sent you an email about this via the contact page!

  2. Cady Shepard says:

    I found the same containers at Target for 99c. I use them for eyelash growth serum.

    Something to think about: everything you put on your skin, ingest, or breathe in, has to be filtered by your liver. Your skin is the largest organ so be very careful about everything to which you expose yourself. Soap, lotion, cosmetics, etc.
    The liver was never meant to be able to act as a filter to all the garbage we are exposed to nowadays. If the liver becomes toxic, overloaded with chemicals that it can’t filter, then we become ill and all of our other organs, immune system and hormones are affected. Be aware, read labels and make informed choices about what goes on your skin and in your body.
    Baby oil seems innocuous. It’s made from crude oil. Vaseline..same thing. Coconut oil, Cocoa Butter, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar are very wise, and very healthful alternatives to many things that we pay much more for in our everyday lives.
    Go Organic in everything you can. Google is your friend. <3

    • Thanks! So you make your own serum? I would love to find out about it – does it work for you? Thanks for the info. You are very right about it all.