But one old-fashioned topical treatment – a vapor rub combination of camphor, menthol and eucalyptus oils – can provide nighttime relief in children with cold symptoms.
The Journal of Pediatrics reports that children treated with vapor rub had improved sleep – as did their parents – when compared with children given a placebo or no treatment.
Vapor rubs allow for improved sensation of airflow by activating cold receptors in the airway so (the children) feel as if they are breathing better.
Vapor rubs have been used for a century but in high concentrations camphor can be dangerous, especially for children. Prior to 1994, before the FDA regulated camphor, there were problems with ingestion, particularly in the form of camphorated liquid oils. But the FDA has since reduced the maximum allowable concentration to below 11 percent, where there is very little chance for toxicity.
I recommend not using commercial salves with a petroleum base. Petroleum is a toxin and known carcinogen.
Instead you can make your own:
- 2 parts coconut oil
- 1 part beeswax
- eucalyptus essential oil (about 10 drops per ounce)
- white camphor essential oil (about 5 drops per ounce)
Simply melt the oil and beeswax in a pan and then add the essential oils. Pour into your metal tin(s) or other container. And that’s it!
The salve will harden within 10-15 minutes. If you find it is too soft, like the consistency of an ointment, you can scoop it back into the pan, remelt it and add more beeswax. If it is too hard, remelt and add more oil. I’ve also remelted to add more essential oil when I wasn’t satisfied with the strength of the oils.