Breathe Happy (Vapors)

Jane & Vivian, germ swapping
by Molly Watman

When you have children, and the winter comes, the colds are an inevitable result of them touching every surface in sight and then touching their eyes/mouth/nose. As much as you religiously use your Clean & Green Hand Soap, the germs can get the best of the entire household.  My mom used to put Vicks vapor rub on our chests when I was a kid, and now that I’m aware of the petroleum base I’d never go near that stuff. But Emma and I were longing for a relieving chest rub. So why not make our own and use traditional medicine ingredients? Here’s a breakdown of what’s in it and why:

Happy Vapors Chest Rub. Made with organic extra virgin olive oil infused with elder flowers, peppermint leaves, rosemary & eucalyptus leaves, organic shea butter, pure raw beeswax, turmeric and the essential oils of eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary, cinnamon, and cloves.

All of these herbs are anti-viral. Researchers have discovered that some herbs destroy viruses, and they’re studying ways to turn these herbs into pharmaceuticals. But you needn’t wait. Among the herbs that have already been found to inhibit viruses, including the flu and common cold, are eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Peppermint (Mentha piperita) and Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum). All of these herbs also foil bacteria responsible for infections of the throat, lungs, sinuses, ears and eyes that often tag on the heels of a cold or flu. In addition, they relax coughing spasms, aid digestion, and lower a fever by encouraging circulation and sweating. The oils in a vapor balm are also absorbed through the skin to relieve congestion and kill infection. They serve double duty – the antibiotic scent is also inhaled into the lungs.

  1. Peppermint:  The menthol in peppermint effectively thins mucus and breaks up phlegm. Studies have shown that it kills bacteria and viruses. It also has a calming and numbing effect and provides relief from coughs and congestion.
  2. Eucalyptus: studies have shown to increase activity of the phagocytes. Phagocytes are a type of white blood cell that eats unfriendly bacteria and other particles in the blood.  It also helps to open up clogged up sinuses.
  3. Elderflower: Elderflower has antiviral and immune-boosting properties and has been used for many centuries in traditional medicine for the treating colds, flu and feverish symptoms.
  4. Rosemary: Uplifting and acts as  a circulatory stimulant which assists in the relief of headaches, colds, and the flu among other ailments.
  5. Cinnamon: Chinese medical journals and Ayurvedic Medicine {India} have long valued cinnamon for its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties.

You can even eat your way to good health by seasoning your food with garlic, thyme, marjoram, cinnamon, raw honey and black pepper to eradicate viral and bacterial infections. Ginger is not only antiviral, it also lowers fevers and reduces muscle soreness. For a tonic that stops you from getting sick in the first place, try elderberry syrup. Sleep gives your cells a chance to regenerate from viral damage and keeping warm deactivates the virus. And while you’re at it, drink lots of fluids to flush out the infection. Eat lightly, avoiding milk products, citrus, and refined grain products – they increase mucus production. Don’t be too hasty to lower a fever. The heat it produces inhibits the growth of viruses and encourages elimination of mucus. You can also increase immunity by keeping physical exertion and emotional stress to a minimum.

Here’s a recipe for home-made cough syrup:

Honey and vinegar are two of the principle ingredients in homemade cough syrup. This strong-tasting syrup really helps calm persistent coughs that accompany chest colds and infections. Besides the soothing properties of honey and vinegar, this syrup also contains ginger, a natural anti-inflammatory.

Mix the following:
2 tbsp. of hot water
1 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. of honey
1/4 tsp. of ground cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. of ground ginger.

Take 1 tsp. of the homemade cough syrup every two to three hours.



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