I've officially gone off the deep end in terms of homemade stuff. My friend Anne would proclaim me "full hippy" at this point.
Last week Jack had the spring cold that everyone in the US is currently dealing with. Baby Vick Vapor Rub on his feet (and then covered in socks) and on his chest did seem to help. After I slathered some on him, I took at the look at the ingredients and thought "hey, I could make that". It was simply petroleum jelly, and herb fragrance.
My idea was to get essential oils and put a few drops of each in his cool mist humidifier. That way it would be a continuous solution while he slept. I bought lavender, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oils from Amazon, but if you grow these herbs in your garden I would imagine you could stick some in your humidifier.
If you don't have a humidifier, mix 2 drops of each oil with some Vaseline and rub on your chest and feet (then cover with socks). You could also mix 2 drops of each oil with a little water in a spray bottle and spritz on your pillow.
With the purchase of the essential oils, this is likely not a cheaper solution than just buying Vicks from the store. The oils will last me years and years, but Vicks is cheap. The appeal of making my own is that I know exactly what my kid is inhaling when he has a cold.
This is a great solution if you're also dealing with a sick husband at home. It's a scientific fact that man colds are 1,000,000 times worse than any cold a woman gets.