Ah, the ubiquitous little blue tub of menthol scented goodness. There was a time when you could open ANY medicine cabinet in ANYONE’S house and you would find it there, on the shelf, waiting. Who doesn’t have memories of that smell from childhood illnesses?
Some people don’t favour it but its ingredients – even the active ones – are all based in essential oils: camphor, eucalyptus oil, menthol (aka peppermint), cedarleaf oil, nutmeg oil, thymol (a derivative of the herb thyme) and turpentine oil. So even if you don’t use it for cough and congestion from a cold, I have found a few other reasons to keep a little blue tub handy in your home (just keep it out of reach of the wee ones, okay?)
Non Traditional Uses for Vicks VapoRub
1. Got fungus? Okay, toenail fungus is treatable with other over the counter options but in case those aren’t your cup of tea, according to the Mayo Clinic, a study of 18 patients showed 56% had at least partial improvement of their toenail fungus from the application of VapoRub. Want to try it? Just apply a small amount of the minty smelling ointment daily to your affected nails, with a cotton swab. No worries about your tootsies getting a cough after that!
2. Soothe a headache. Even the folks who manufacture Vicks say that it can be used to soothe aching muscles so it’s not a stretch to include a tension headache in that list. Just rub a little into your temples and let the menthol scent ease your aches.
3. Ease stretch marks. Thanks to the eucalyptus that it contains, which has anti-inflammatory properties, and combined with the other essential oils, VapoRub will soften and moisturize the skin that forms stretch marks, leaving them sell visible.
4. Keep the bugs at bay. VapoRub makes an effective bug repellent. It is best applied in strategic areas where you are also likely to sweat (something that attracts the bugs), so behind your knees, crooks of your arms and in the area around your neck and behind your ears.
5. Acne flair ups calm down. Again, the anti-inflammatory properties of VapoRub can help with an acne flair up; add that to the drying properties of the camphor and you’ve got an effective cure for those occasional bouts of ‘memories of my teen years’.
6. Keep kitty from scratching. Applying a little VapoRub will deter kitty from his favourite scratching chair. Just don’t apply it directly onto fabrics because the base ointment will leave marks.
7. Heal cracked heels. Apply a good dose to your heels at night before going to bed, put on socks and in the morning, you will find it much easier to pumice off the rough skin, leaving you with soft, flip-flop ready heels.
8. Keep your racehorse on track? By far the oddest use for VapoRub that I came across was this: “When young intact male horses are in training, their interest in learning to be race horses is easily diverted by the scents of estrous from fillies. A generous smearing of Vicks in both nostrils of these young ‘romeos’ blocks the enticing odors and keeps their attention on their work.” (Source)
You know, they say you learn something new everyday. That one was definitely unexpected!
You might also like this post about coconut oil uses.
Do you have a blue jar of Vicks VapoRub in your cabinet? What do you use it for?