I call it my voodoo vapor rub, which is what anyone in my family uses as a blanket term for any crunchy, hippy-dippy things like herbal tinctures and such. It's all in good fun because I know my parents are both not-so-secretly kind of hippies.
I don't know why it took us kids so long to figure it out. You would have thought that them building ahead-of-their time super-green houses by themselves, cloth diapering four kids, family vacations spent at dad's shack in the California desert, and them fulfilling a lifelong dream by buying an acreage and growing most of their own food would have tipped us off. Those all just seemed normal to us kids (along with strapping a milk carton to my one day old little sister and taking four kids under 10 out in a canoe the day my Mom got home from the hospital). Gracious, all of us girls' names should have been enough to cue us in: April Eve, Amber Rose, Mandy May. Short of "Sunshine" or Stargazer" I think those are pretty hippy-dippy names. And we love them and wouldn't have it any other way, by the way. If we hadn't been raised the way we did, I don't think we'd be half the people we are today. All four of the children my parents raised are happy, confident, and never afraid to try something new. The stress that last quality caused my poor mother makes me even more appreciative of how "free range" we were.
Although me and the man are currently kid-less, I'm always thinking about our future family and how I'll handle all of the inevitably crazy situations life will bring to us. I know I got way off topic there, but the point is that I not only want to try to use natural products for our little family, I want to do things that inspire creativity and wonder at the world around us. It may be crazy, but I think that a kid helping me make my own vapor rub (or face oil, or cuticle cream, or soap, or taco seasoning) rather than buying off the shelf at the grocery store pre-made is going to inspire a lot more "why" and "how" and "what if" questions than just throwing something in my cart at the store would. And that is why I do and make all of these crazy things. Also, it's just plain fun.
Here is the recipe for one small jar:
YOU WILL NEED:
1/2 c. coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, or tallow
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. beeswax, if making this in a warm climate
10 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
5 drops Peppermint essential oil
5 drops Rosemary essential oil
Optional (add just 5 drops total or sub for one above):
Tea Tree essential oil
Lemon essential oil
Lavender essential oil
Melt the coconut oil (and beeswax, if using) in a double boiler. Remove from heat and add essential oils. Pour into a heat proof container and allow to cool. I really love bottles and containers from Specialty Bottle, but you can get them on Amazon or even at a thrift store. You may have to stir the cooled rub to make sure that the oils are well-mixed. Just store in a cool place. No, I don't rub them on my feet. I can't say I didn't try that, just to see, but it did nothing for me. I know a lot of people swear by that, but I don't really think that it holds much scientific clout. The benefit of this product, I think, is the smell. I put it on my chest and neck when I'm feeling stuffy. This is a great article on essential oil myths if you're interested.