The Cure-All in Grandma’s Medicine Cabinet

Remember those nights during your childhood when you had a cold and were so stopped up and congested you couldn’t sleep?  Did your Mom or Grandma come in to slather your chest with a coating from that blue bottle of Vicks VapoRub?  That odor opened up your head quickly and you likely drifted off to sleep with the smell of camphor circling your head.

A Bit of History

Vicks VapoRub has its roots in North Carolina.  A Greensboro pharmacist, Lunsford Richardson, developed the salve in the 1890s.  The topical cream was comprised of, among other ingredients, eucalyptus oil, menthol, and camphor, and was developed for congestion from the common cold.  In 1919, the sales volume of the salve jumped dramatically due in large part to the Spanish flu epidemic, from $900,000 per year to $2.9 million in that one year alone.

That little blue bottle was like a magic rub for what ailed you back then.  Nowadays, that same bottle has a variety of uses that you may not be aware of, but may want to give a try.

For the Skin

Smooth on a layer on the face to soothe and help to reduce inflammation from blemishes or acne.  Said to help keep the skin clearer.

To help reduce or fade stretch marks, apply Vicks daily for a few weeks.  This remedy is currently getting quite a bit of attention on Pinterest.

Use as a moisturizer, especially for dry skin.

For cracked heels, rub on at night and cover with cotton socks to soften and eliminate those cracks.  It will also help kill the bacteria that cause athlete’s foot.

Act as a Repellant

Apply a layer of Vicks to exposed skin before venturing outdoors to keep bugs, especially mosquitos, away.  Evidently, insects don’t like that famous Vicks smell.

For Pets

Are your kitties scratching up your furniture?  Spray some Vicks VapoRub in the area you want them to stay away from.

Are your fur babies marking their territory while you’re trying to train them?  Simply set an open bottle of Vicks where they’ve been marking to keep them away.

For First Aid

Got an earache?  Dab some Vicks onto a cotton ball and put in the affected ear for a few hours to reduce the symptoms.

Ease sore muscles by applying Vicks, along with a hot compress, after a hard workout.

Soothe the sting of a sunburn with a light coating in the burned area.  Also use on chapped lips.

To help minor bruises fade, add a pinch of salt to Vicks and apply gently to the bruised area.

For minor burns, after running cold water over the burn, apply a layer of Vicks to ease the sting.

Headache?  Put some Vicks onto your temple area and forehead to help alleviate a headache.

Used with an aromatherapy humidifier, Vicks can help with breathing and allow for more restful sleep.

When Not to Use

According to the Vicks website, do not use Vicks VapoRub on children under the age of two.  There is an expiration date for the product; don’t use after that date.  Vicks VapoRub should not be heated or placed in a microwave, as it may cause burns.

So, that blue bottle that we grew up with had a lot of uses that we probably never thought about.  But, I bet Grandma did!





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