Fighting Colds Naturally with Mint & Rosemary + a DIY Vapor Rub Tutorial

Well friends, there's no way around it. Cold season is here. But I'm going to help you power through it with our pals Peppermint and Rosemary. Both of these herbs and their essential oils are good to have around when coughing and congestion set in. Here's why:

Cold Season Benefits of Peppermint: The menthol in peppermint thins mucus, breaks up phlegm, and relieves coughing, which is why it's common to see peppermint or menthol as an ingredient in cold and flu remedies. Peppermint also acts as an astringent, killing bacteria.

Cold Season Benefits of Rosemary: Like peppermint, rosemary essential oil is invigorating and breathing it in will relieve respiratory problems by opening up your sinuses. Rosemary boosts your immune system and is an antiseptic.

Mint and Rosemary Herbal Cold Remedies:

Herbal Steam: Put a tablespoon each of fresh mint leaves and rosemary sprigs into a large bowl (or you can use our Heal or Invigorate Bath Teas). Bring two quarts of water to a boil, then pour over your herbs and let steep for about five minutes. Cover your head and the bowl with a towel, close your eyes, and lean into the bowl slowly inhaling the steam through your nose. Continue to inhale and exhale the steam for 5-10 minutes. If you don't have fresh herbs handy, you can also do this with a few drops each of peppermint and rosemary essential oils. Asthmatics should use caution when doing herbal steams as it may upset asthma.

Mint + Rosemary Bath: Add a few drops of mint and rosemary essential oils to your bath water, or pick up my all-natural Heal Bath Salt Soak, made with healing calendula (marigold) petals. Just add 1-2 tablespoons of bathing salts to your bath water to open sinuses, detoxify, and soothe achy muscles. Not a bath person? Try the Heal Bath Salt Soak in the shower instead. Our Heal and Invigorate Bath Teas also work well.

Mint Tea: Pick up some peppermint tea and drink it during cold season, breathing in the vapors as you do. Add local honey to it to soothe a sore throat.

Homemade Mint + Rosemary Vapor Rub: I kept this recipe very simple because not everyone has things like cocoa butter or beeswax in their home! Coconut oil absorbs into the skin quickly and doesn't leave it oily or sticky. Plus, it doesn't leave that greasy feeling many lotions or vapor rubs leave on your chest.

You will need:

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • ½ tsp peppermint essential oil
  • ½ tsp rosemary essential oil
  • an 8oz jar

1. Microwave coconut oil to melt.

2. Add in essential oils and blend with hand or stand mixer.

3. Put in refrigerator for 10-20 minutes. When the coconut oil starts to solidify around the edges, it's time to take it out.

4. Blend with hand or stand mixer for about 6 minutes, scraping down the sides a few times to get any solidified coconut oil.

5. Once it's nice and whipped, decant it into an 8 oz jar or two 4 oz jars. Don't worry if the coconut oil re-solidifies — it will likely do this when it's cold! Thankfully, coconut oil melts in your hands.

To use: Spread a little bit onto your chest and breathe deeply. It's best to use this overnight for maximum impact. 

Looking for more natural beauty and self-care DIYs? Check out my eBook, DIY Natural Beauty on a BudgetIt has over 40 recipes for natural masks, scrubs, and hair care using ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen, plus a detailed guide on how to use and blend essential oils. Happy making!