Tents and Vapor Rub

My mom made the best indoor tents! Sometimes we’d get to play in a tent in the kitchen – under the table. Now and again, Mom would create one in the living room using the couch. She even helped and encouraged us to make tents in our bedroom! We spent countless hours in ‘tents’ growing up, camping outdoors in the summer and imagining it, indoors, the rest of the year. Such wonderful memories!tents

I must confess that there was, once, a near disaster when my big sister and I tried to make the lighting more “campfire-like” in our bedroom, next to our tent, by laying a pajama shirt across the top of a lamp. It was a pink Strawberry Shortcake PJ, if I remember correctly….that started on fire after resting on the hot light bulb for a while. Opps! Small lesson there…

While tents were a thing we all loved (and fires too – just campfires, not house fires!), there was one kind of tent that did NOT signal ‘fun’. It was the tent Mom made when one of us was sick! If we saw a sheet draped over the bedposts and backs of chairs pushed up against the mattress, we knew… THAT tent meant a bit of isolation, a bit of extra loving care, and an appointment with the vaporizer. Vicks Vapor Rub was also applied to the chest to ease breathing and relieving coughing, water consumption was encouraged, and story time lengthened. It was our path back to good health.

As a momma of 5 kids, I’m pleased to report that we’ve been quite healthy (since removing the toxic mold from our home three years ago… another interesting story!) but last winter when my six-year-old-sweetie began coughing and coughing and coughing, and coughing and coughing, I grabbed for the Vicks Vapor Rub. When I turned it around to check for an expiration date and found, instead, an ingredient list that included petrolatum and turpentine*, I decided to check into making my own.

Today I am posting a homemade vapor rub recipe that I found (and adjusted, as usual!) at www.mommypotamus.com . I made it up a few months ago to be prepared for the cold and flu season and just recently had the opportunity to use it on a few coughers in our home.

Homemade Vapor Rub

4t (18g) beeswax

2T (1oz) cocoa butter

Melt in a double boiler. Turn off and add:


8T (4oz) coconut oil, softened

60 drops essential oil

20 eucalyptus, 10 rosemary, 10 lavender, 10 tea tree, 10 lemon

Mix well. Pour into a clean glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Makes about ¾ cup. Good for up to 1 year! (Don’t forget to put the expiration date on the jar.)


 I’d encourage you to check out the above website. It’s wonderful! You’ll find different E.O. combinations that you can use when making up your own vapor rub and you’ll also find a recipe for the little ones (under 2 years old).

P.S. Here is a primary reason why I choose to make my own “just about anything” if I can… I know EXACTLY what’s in it! Take Vicks Vapor Rub, for example. It contains *turpentine. What do we know about that? Turpentine is primarily used for thinning oil-based paints, for producing varnishes and furniture wax, and as a raw material for the chemical industry. Its vapor can irritate the skin and eyes, damage the lungs and respiratory system, as well as the central nervous system when inhaled. It is combustible and poses a fire hazard. It can cause skin irritation, is poisonous when swallowed (fatal to children in amounts as small as 3 teaspoons) and can also cause spasms of the airways. It is particularly bad for people with asthma and whooping cough.  Now, what is vapor rub to be used for? Colds and coughs! And it is to be rubbed on the body. So that you can inhale and feel better? Ummmm… I think I’ll make my own.


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