Wednesday, November 3, 2021

How to Make Homemade Vapor Rub for Cough or for Cold

Learn how to make a homemade vapor rub for cough or sore muscles.  This easy recipe uses menthol crystals, pine scotch, and mandarin to promote better health and ease symptoms of a cough and cold. 

You guys.  The entire state of Ohio is freaking out.  My son's college closed for three weeks because of coronavirus.  There isn't a roll of TP to be found in the county.  I'm not too worried about it.  We live in a rural area, so we stay stocked on food and the essentials.

Thankfully, I know how to make my own sanitizer, so I stocked up on rubbing alcohol.  I use it for melt and pour soaps, so it won't go to waste.

When I was walking through the store, it made me reflect upon what I've learned from blogging and just general life skills.

In an emergency, I know how to use essential oils and other natural products to replace what we wouldn't be able to buy.

When I was shopping, I was stocking up on flour, sugar, powdered milk, and baking supplies.  I know how to bake bread, make pasta, and cook pretty much anything from scratch.

If the power goes out, we have a grill and a fire pit.  I have plenty of cast iron, so I can cook over an open flame.

We also have food that will start to mature soon.  First comes the asparagus, then the cattails,  then the cherries and garden vegetables, and finally the fruit in the orchard.  Even if we can't get plants for the garden, I have heirloom seeds saved.

And yes, I did say cat tails.  You can eat parts of them.  I am a picky eater and will most likely die of starvation in an apocalypse, but I did try some cattail.  It's better raw than cooked in my opinion.

Keep track of your favorite essential oil recipes in my printable essential oil journal.

Homemade Vapor Rub With Menthol Crystals

As I was looking at the empty shelves, I was very thankful that I don't need to buy that from the store.  I can make my own homemade disinfectant spray to use at home.  I know how to make Thieves oil to add to a cleaning spray recipe.  I can even make my own hand sanitizer spray at home.

We've never had the flu, but it got us good this year.  Between my husband and three kids, it's been in our house for four weeks.  I was taking my elderberry syrup recipe with honey four times a day and escaped the sickness.

But for four weeks, at least one person was coughing.  We used up all of my natural vapor rub recipe, so I had to make more.  I like that recipe, but I wanted to try a menthol rub for cough.

I like the menthol homemade vapor rub better.  I used different essential oils, and it doesn't smell as medicinal.  It almost smells like a candy cane.

You can also try my old fashioned cough syrup recipes  or honey onion cough syrup to reduce symptoms or turmeric hot chocolate for inflammation.  Try a turmeric ginger shots recipe for immune support. I also use this oil of oregano recipe or oregano tincture recipe when I feel like I'm coming down with something.

I also recommend learning how to make calendula infused oil and how to make calendula salve.  Keep these in your stash and save the recipes so you're prepared.

What is Menthol Chest Rub Used For?

A homemade vapor rub is rubbed on the skin so you can breathe in the vapors to reduce the symptoms of cough or congestion.  

The menthol and essential oils vapors help to open airways to promote easier breathing when you use a menthol rub for cough.

Topically, a homemade vapor rub with menthol crystals can also help reduce muscle pain.  I will also use this homemade vapor rub with essential oils for minor muscle aches.

Can You Melt Menthol Crystals?

Yes, menthol crystals can be dissolved in oil or alcohol.  I recommend heating the oil and then adding the menthol crystals.  Stir to dissolve to make homemade vapor rub with menthol crystals. 

Homemade Vapor Rub Ingredients

Sweet Almond Oil

I used sweet almond oil for the carrier oil.  The type of carrier oil that you use in this menthol rub for cough isn't really important because you're not using it for its benefits.

Sweet almond oil is an inexpensive oil, so I used it.  It is a dry oil, so it soaks into the skin quickly.  I didn't want to be greasy after using this homemade vapor rub.

You can also use grape seed oil, apricot kernel oil, or fractionated coconut oil.  They are all dry oils, so you won't be greasy after applying this.

Learn more about different carrier oils and their benefits.

Menthol Crystals

I used menthol crystals instead of peppermint to make a menthol rub for colds because they are stronger.  Menthol crystals are made with a mint essential oil is produced through extraction.  The oil is frozen quickly, and the menthol crystallizes.

Menthol crystals have a strong peppermint odor.  They can be irritating for your eyes and skin, so wear gloves when preparing this salve.

Be careful touching your eyes after you apply this menthol chest rub recipe.  I use a cotton ball to scoop out some of it and apply so my fingers don't get it on them.  Always wash with soap after applying.

You can also add peppermint essential oil in place of the menthol crystals to make homemade vapor rub with essential oils, but I prefer a menthol rub for cough.  

I also used them in my homemade pain relief salve with arnica infused oil and my menthol eucalyptus shower steamers.

Essential Oils

I normally use my Crafty Bubbles Breathe Easy blend, but I really liked the blend from the December Simply Earth Essential Oil Recipe Box.  

I used peppermint, pine scotch, and mandarin to make a cold buster roller.  The mandarin lightens up the peppermint scent, so it almost smells like a candy cane.

The menthol crystals replace the peppermint essential oil in my homemade vapor rub, but I still used pine scotch and mandarin.
Pine scotch is said to boost immune function.  It can also help clear congestion and help relieve the symptoms of coughs, colds, flu, and asthma.  This hasn't been proven, however.

Mandarin essential oil is said to help relieve muscle spasms, including bronchial muscle spasms.  It's also said to be calming and relaxing when used in aromatherapy.

You can also use one of the following essential oils or blends:

Check out the best essential oils for sinus headache to use as well.

Menthol Rub for Colds Ingredients



Step #1

Place the sweet almond oil and beeswax in a double boiler.  I used a 1 cup Pyrex measuring cup and set it on a canning jar ring in a pan of water.  I used medium heat.  Heat until melted.  Stir occasionally.

Step #2

Carefully remove from heat.  Add the menthol crystals and stir until dissolved.

Step #3

Add the essential oils and stir well for a minute.

Step #4

Pour into a 4 ounce container.  It should completely fill the container.  Let sit until completely cool and hardened.

To use, apply a small amount to your chest.  I recommend using gloves or a cotton ball to apply.  Wash your hands well and avoid touching your eyes.

This menthol chest rub recipe was originally posted at Everything Pretty. 

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menthol, essential oils, chest rub,
Yield: 4 ounces
Author: Cari @ Homesteading in Ohio
Estimated cost: $5

Menthol Chest Rub Recipe

prep time: 5 Mperform time: 1 hourtotal time: 1 H & 5 M
This menthol chest rub recipe helps relieve symptoms of cough and cold.


  • 1/3 cup sweet almond oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons beeswax
  • 1/4 teaspoon menthol crystals or 10 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 22 drops mandarin essential oil
  • 8 drops pine scotch essential oil


  • Double boiler or 1 cup Pyrex measuring cup
  • Spoon
  • 4-ounce jar


  1. Place the sweet almond oil and beeswax in a double boiler. I used a 1 cup Pyrex measuring cup and set it on a canning jar ring in a pan of water. I used medium heat. Heat until melted. Stir occasionally.
  2. Carefully remove from heat. Add the menthol crystals and stir until dissolved.
  3. Add the essential oils and stir well for a minute.
  4. Pour into a 4 ounce container. It should completely fill the container. Let sit until completely cool and hardened.


To use, apply a small amount to your chest.  I recommend using gloves or a cotton ball to apply.  Wash your hands well and avoid touching your eyes.
Created using Craft Card Maker

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