Decongestant Shower Vapor Disks

Spring rain can bring with it a lot of congestion; whether it’s from seasonal allergies or catching a cold, we all tend to get a little stuffed up this time of year. A common method of relieving congestion is taking a hot, steamy shower—so why not double the benefits by combining your hot shower with these eucalyptus vapor disks? These vapor disks can do wonders to break up congestion and clear your airways. Just place one on the floor of the shower, and breathe in the aroma with the steam. You’ll be feeling better in no time!

Decongestant Shower Vapor Disks

  • Servings: Yield=8 disks
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) baking soda
  • 1/3–1/2 cup (75–125 ml) water
  • 8 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 3 drops lavender essential oil
  • 3 drops rosemary essential oil
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Muffin liners or silicone mold

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, add water to the baking soda until the mixture forms a thick paste.
  2. Add essential oils, and stir.
  3. If desired, mix in 1–2 drops food coloring.
  4. Line a muffin tin with the muffin liners, or use a silicone mold.
  5. Spoon the paste into the liners until it’s about 1/2″ (1 cm) thick.
  6. Allow the disks to solidify for 24 hours before removing from the liners.
  7. While taking a hot shower, place the disk on the ground by your feet, and breathe in the aroma with the steam to clear your airways.

If the disks feel too wet, allow them to dry longer before using.

You can also bake the disks at 350°F (175°C) for 15–20 minutes to harden them faster.

It can be hard to get the ratio of water and baking soda perfect, but don’t worry—even if the disks crumble, they will still do their job. Just scatter the crumbles on the floor of the shower, and breathe in deep!

Fight the Flu with Essential Oils

The worst flu season in over a decade continues—we’re just over halfway through the typical time frame. Why are we experiencing increased numbers of infections, hospitalizations, and even fatalities this year? Primarily because the H3N2 subtype of influenza A is predominant—and it’s a particularly virulent and mutable strain of the flu virus. Even the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the flu vaccine is only about 36% effective against H3N2.

Anything you can do to stay healthy right now is worth trying, and essential oils can help protect and support you during this epidemic. Here’s how to use your best natural medicines against all strains of this ruthless virus.

Step 1: Strengthen Natural Immunity

To stimulate your immune system, use essential oils daily, or at least 3–4 times a week. Diffuse 3–4 drops during sleep, or apply 1–2 drops to the sole of each foot at bedtime. Try alternating between single oils and protective or immune-boosting blends every week—this helps avoid desensitization to any one oil.

Single oils: Use oregano, cinnamon, frankincense, or melaleuca. (For internal application of oregano and cinnamon, take a capsule of 1–3 drops diluted with carrier oil.)

Blends: Use a protective or immune blend, or make the one below.

Immune Booster
1 drop frankincense
1 drop melaleuca
1 drop rosemary
1 drop lemon
1 drop eucalyptus
1 drop orange

Topical: Add oils to 2 tsp. (10 ml) carrier oil in a 10 ml roll-on vial. Apply to bottoms of feet or base of skull 3–4 times daily.

Aromatic: Use this blend in a diffuser.

Step 2: Engage Antiviral Arsenal

The flu is highly contagious, spreading easily through sneezing, coughing, or direct contact. If you’re living around an infected person, continue diffusing and/or topically applying antiviral essential oils and blends. This may help the sick get well faster and keep others from getting infected.

Single oils: Use helichrysum, melaleuca, clove, melissa, lime, cinnamon, lemon, oregano, peppermint, eucalyptus, or thyme.

Blends: Use an antiviral respiratory blend, or make the one below.

Citrus Spice Defense
1 drop lemon
1 drop cinnamon
2 drops oregano
2 drops eucalyptus

Topical: Combine essential oils with 2 tsp. (10 ml) carrier oil in a 10 ml roll-on vial.  Apply to bottoms of feet or base of skull 3–4 times daily.

Aromatic: Use 1 drop each of the essential oils in a diffuser. (You can alternate this combination with our antiviral Cold Fighter Diffuser Blend.)

Step 3: Soothe Flu Symptoms

If you do get sick, essential oils can help reduce the severity of the flu and shorten its duration. Flu symptoms appear 1–4 days after the virus enters the body. A fever usually comes first, followed by low energy, body aches, headache, chills, and dizziness. Some people experience nausea and vomiting.

Body Aches Bath
Add 4 drops of thyme and 2 drops of eucalyptus to 1 cup (250 g) of epsom salt. Run warm bathwater over the mixture to disperse the essential oils throughout the tub. Soak for 15–20 minutes.

Headache Help
Apply 1 drop each lavender, peppermint, and frankincense to the base of the skull and forehead.

Nausea Nix
Inhale peppermint or ginger directly from the vial or after rubbing 1–2 drops into your palms.

After 2–3 days, cold-like symptoms may develop: runny nose, coughing, sneezing, and sore throat. See our companion post, ‘Tis the Season for Sickness, for simple solutions to soothe these symptoms.