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When the sniffles hit, a DIY congestion salve is the perfect solution. Herbal salves, like this gardener’s hand salve are useful, but take longer to make. With just a few simple ingredients and the help of some essential oils, this salve comes together in no time.
No Need to Infuse
A traditional salve is made from herb infused oils which can take 2-3 weeks. I love crafting my own traditional salves, but sometimes I need something right now! By using essential oils you can have a DIY congestion salve that’s not only fast and easy, but packs more punch.
Coconut Oil Salve
Unlike other carrier oils, coconut oil is solid at room temperature yet melts when it touches skin. Since coconut oil is thicker and doesn’t absorb quickly, it’s the perfect choice for a congestion salve. The salve remains on top of the chest longer, prolonging the time you breathe in the soothing vapors.
Safely diluting essential oils
Peppermint and eucalyptus essential oil can both be used at a maximum of 5% on the skin. This recipe uses a 2% dilution ratio – less than half of what’s still safe. Eucalyptus gobulus is popular, but eucalyptus radiata or smithii are less harsh (source).
Caution for Little Ones
Peppermint and eucalyptus contain menthol which gives that familiar “cooling” sensation. These oils are widely used in congestion rubs because they’re so effective for respiratory support. However, peppermint and eucalyptus can cause life-threatening breathing problems for babies and very young children.
No worries though! I’ve also included a kid-friendly version of the congestion salve so even little ones can breathe easy. There are a wide variety of opinions on the subject, but it’s generally recommended to still not use essential oils on babies under 3 months old.
Congestion Salve for Kids
Cedarwood Virginian, fir needle, cypress and pine essential oils are safe for children ages 4 months and older. Here are guidelines to make a salve for different age groups using the recipe above (source).
- Children 4 months and older – use 7 drops of essential oil total.
- Children 2 and older – Use 25 drops of essential oil total.
- Children 6 and older can use the kid safe essential oils above OR peppermint and eucalyptus (radiata or smithii) at a 1.5% dilution. For the congestion salve recipe this would be 45 drops, or ½ teaspoon plus 1/8 tsp total essential oil. If using peppermint and eucalyptus, this would be 22 drops each.
How to Make Easy Congestion Relief Salve
Makes: 5 ounces
Project Time: 12 minutes
- 1/2 cup Wildly Organic Centrifuge Extracted Coconut Oil
- 2 tablespoons beeswax, grated or pellets
- 3/4 teaspoon eucalyptus essential oil
- 3/4 teaspoon peppermint essential oil
- In a heat safe glass bowl combine the coconut oil and beeswax.
- Perch the bowl on top of a pot filled halfway with water over medium heat. Stir with a metal spoon until completely melted.
- Remove from the heat, stir in the essential oils, then pour into a glass jar.
Note: This recipe creates a thicker salve that won’t melt in warm temperatures. For a very simple salve, you can combine omit the beeswax. Just combine the coconut oil with the essential oils. Store in a glass jar and use as needed. This simplified version will melt in warm temperatures.