Get ready for the cold & flu season with these all-natural recipes

image by theGsayeth

Before we know it, the season of colds and sniffles and coughs will be upon us. One of my readers shared with me these three recipes, and I wanted to pass them along to you before you’re faced with a sick family and have no choice but to make a mad dash to the drugstore.

These recipes require natural ingredients such as essential oils, coconut oil, and herbs. They’re very simple to make and will provide an all-natural alternative to whatever the drugstore sells, and I’m a big fan of Nyquil!  Another reason to make these is just to learn how to make your own salves and oil mixtures — a great skill for any Survival Mom.

By the way, I tried to track down the original source of the first two recipes but couldn’t find them online. If you know of the source, please let me know so I can give proper credit.

Homemade Liquid Vapor Rub

1 oz. coconut oil

1 oz. olive oil

6 drops tea tree essential oil

4 drops eucalyptus essential oil

4 drops lavender essential oil

Warm the coconut oil until liquid. Combine all ingredients. Let sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator until solidified.


Essential Oil Vapor Rub

10 drops eucalyptus essential oil

10 drops peppermint essential oil

3 drops thyme essential oil

1/8 c. olive oil

Combine all the oils and mix well. To use, rub oil mixture over the throat and chest, then cover up to help increase the warming effect. This is very effective when done right at bedtime as it helps relieve congestion and helps you fall asleep more easily.


Congestion Rub from Mexican Wildflowers blog

1/2 c. dried lavender (antiseptic  healing, topically healing, pain relieving)

1/4 c. dried mullein leaves (helps break up congestion)

1/4 c. dried peppermint (cooling and provides pain relief)

1/4 c. fresh grated ginger (breaks up congestion)

3/4 c. coconut oil

3/4 c. olive oil

3 T. beeswax pellets

Using a small crockpot, add the oils and herbs and cook on, “warm” for 2 days. Be sure to keep the crockpot covered with a lid. On the third day, drain the oil in a mesh colander lined with cheesecloth to separate the oil from the herbs. With a cloth or paper towel, wipe out the crockpot and reheat the oil. Add the beeswax pellets one tablespoon at a time and stir until the wax melts and the mixture is smooth. Pour the rub into small glass or metal containers with lids. Allow to cool before using. You can rub this under the nose to alleviate congestion, on the chest or even feet!


There may be links in the post above that are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, which does not affect the price you pay for the product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

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I'm the original Survival Mom, and have been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more for 5 years. Come join me on my journey to becoming more prepared to handle everyday emergencies and worst case scenarios.

(12) Readers Comments

  1. I love these recipes. I am always on the look out for natural products since my son has allergies and I just don’t trust many of the products with so much toxic chemicals bad. I am simply amazed at how many times I have used all natural remedies to combat sickness and have been very successful including strep throat without drugs. The various essential oils are very powerful used in the vapor rub. Just be careful about getting in to the eyes since that can be very painful and tricky to get relief. I will certainly repost on DisasterMOM your recipes. I read that if the therapeutic oils are pure and if they have no carrier oils they can last for years if stored properly.

  2. Oh thank you-thank you Lisa!! Compounding was my favorite class in pharmacy school, and I made sure that one of externships was at a compounding pharmacy. It is just so fun to make medications, creams, perfume, etc from scratch.I only hope that one day I am lucky enough to have that huge work area featured in Practical Magic!! For now, I compound on my kitchen counter that I cover with old fashioned oil cloth in case something spills.
    A few tips:
    1-If you are mixing anything toxic; put the dogs in their crates, put babies in swings or playpens, and get older kids under control before the start up. It will make your stress level almost zero if you have an accident.
    2-Your compounding utensils and your kitchen utensils need to be separate-always. You don’t want cross contamination either way. My kitchen stuff is in the usual spots in the kitchen: my compounding supplies are kept in beautiful boxes that you buy from Hancock Fabrics or Home Goods. That way, there is no question.
    3-Keep an eye out for pestles & mortars, old but useable crockpots, etc. at the thrift stores. You would be surprised what people give away.
    4-Buy throw away plastic gloves, or latex if you can use latex. You always use gloves in a compounding pharmacy to keep out skin cells, bacteria, etc. Also, if you have a cold, allergies, or just sneeze a lot, use a face mask. That is also mandatory in compounding.
    5-Have fun! There is a little wise woman in all of us. In the old days, a pharmacist first had to be a botanist before he/she could be a medical doctor. The pioneers made their own medicines out of need.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing. I am allergic to cold medicines so this will help a lot…

  4. Thanks, Lisa! I really think that we need to keep the old ways that worked alive. I have found a great website that teaches how to make all the herb preparations on line. I am busy trying to add that to my skill sets, but there is much to learn. I have been trying to find someone local to teach me, but they are pretty scarce around here. I have noticed that my local health food store has added two large rows of all things herbal in the last month, but, when I asked them who would be a person with whom to talk about learning to use the herbs, they said that they didn’t know of anyone. I found that odd given all the new product lines.

  5. Alexis would you share the website for making herbal preparations? I’d love to see that.
    Thanks Lisa for these lovely recipes!

    • The website is It doesn’t look like there’s a lot on there, but if you click on a page, there are other things to click on for each of those pages. There are also lots of really good youtube videos with the site, and the man that does the demos is really good and gives detailed clear instructions. I just found it by chance, and I’ve really learned tons.

  6. Lisa, I have made the Homemade Liquid Vapor Rub and added soy wax to it, so it would solidify to be more like a vapor rub. About 2 to 3 tbsp. Like a vicks rub.

  7. My favorite recipe for colds is a tisane composed of approximately equal parts of dried mullein leaf, licorice root, crushed dried rose hips and half a part of crushed red peppers.

  8. I’m a huge fan of DoTerra’s ON Guard. A few drops mixed with a teaspoon of honey works well at the onset of a sore throat, as does a few drops in hot tea. The flavor takes getting used to, but I enjoy it in tea. Also use it on the kids feet when we know we’ll be exposed, such as the first week back to school. DoTerra’s Family Physician kit has been a great purchase for us. BTW, I don’t sell it, just a really happy customer :-)

  9. Garlic, Honey and Lemon Cold Remedy
    When combined with honey and garlic, lemon juice makes a soothing cold remedy for sore throat and bronchial disorders.
    1. Finely chop two cloves fresh garlic,
    2. Add 1/4 cup raw honey and 2 to 4 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice.
    3. Mix well to combine, and allow the mixture to steep for two to eight hours.
    4. Take up to 1 tsp of the mixture every hour to alleviate cold symptoms. Store any excess in the refrigerator when not in use.

  10. This will boost your immune system at first sign of cold or flu, warning it tastes nasty.
    I’m a smoker which reduces immune system & I used to catch 2 colds a year average.
    I found this 5 years ago and take at first sign of illness along with C and haven’t been sick


    1) Clean Quart Jar add 1/4 pound dried elderberries (Must be Sambucus nigra)
    2) Now fill to top with vodka. Put lid on tight.
    3) Store in a dark cupboard and shake once every few days.
    4) Label and date your jar. Let it sit for at least 30 days before you strain it. You can use it without straining it too and it will just continue to get stronger
    . Dosage: 1 teaspoon four to five times daily during infections. Otherwise once daily.

    Learn more:

  11. My Grandma made this cough syrup and last February when a nasty and lingering cough hit us I remembered it and made it – you know what – it works.

    1. Take equal quantities of raw onion and white sugar. You can use honey if you don’t like the idea of white sugar.

    2. Peel the onion and then grate/mash together with the sugar, I use an electric chopping gadget and put sugar and onion in together.

    3. Put it into a screw top jar overnight.

    4. Drain through a seive and put the syrup into the rinsed jar.

    5. Keep in a fridge, it lasts about a week.

    You can start drinking the syrup from the time you see it start to form, don’t have to wait until it is strained, just a teaspoon every hour.

    It is very effective.

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