We have all heard of the long standing remedy known as Vicks VapoRub and we all recognize its aroma! Although mostly known for rubbing on the chest at bedtime, to relieve coughs and congestion during the night, I wonder if you knew that Vicks has many other uses? Most people are able to use Vicks VaporRub without experiencing any negative side effects, although mild skin irritation is sometimes reported. Vicks VapoRub has been around for over a hundred years and is easily available over-the-counter. However, it should never be used on the nostril openings or on young children.
But what are the ingredients in Vicks VapoRub?
Vicks VapoRub contains four active ingredients: camphor, turpentine oil, levomenthol and eucalyptus oil. It is the turpentine oil that causes concern in some. To cater for this, and set out at the foot of this post, you will find the recipe to make your own natural vapor rub instead.
Our top ten tips for vapor rub
1. Best known as a decongestant, the most common use of Vicks is to decongest your chest and throat area. When applied to the upper chest, it provides relief for cough and congestion symptoms. But left with a cough that just won't go away? Generously apply vapor rub to your feet and cover them with socks. You may find this to be a quick and successful relief. 2. Before going to bed, apply a thick layer into the balls of your feet and heels. Massage into calluses and dry patches to maintain healthy heels and prevent cracked heels.
3. Use for sore and overworked muscle relief. Vapor rub will increase circulation, providing help quickly. Apply generously to the affected area. 4. Known for its anti-fungal properties, nail fungus treatment
is another use for vapor rub. Apply to the affected nail which will turn dark which will grow out. Continue for at least two weeks after disappearance. 5. Keeping your pet cat from scratching furniture and more, apply a small amount of vapor rub to protect such areas. Cats dislike the smell and will avoid the area. An open bottle of Vicks left in a place where cats or dogs tend to urinate (if not fully house trained) will discourage them from going back and doing the deed again. 6. A small amount rubbed on to the temples and forehead will help release pressure in the head and relieve the pain and discomfort of headaches
. 7. Vapor rub can even work in a humidifier but do make sure first that your humidifier has an aromatherapy compartment. It will circulate through the air all night long to help ease breathing. 8. We all know how painful a simple “paper cut” can be - so dab a small amount of vapor rub on the cut to prevent infection and speed up the healing time. 9. Want to ward off mosquitoes? Apply small dabs to your skin and clothes to deter these annoying insects. If you do get bitten, then apply to the affected area and cover with a Band-Aid to reduce the itching and swelling of bites. 10. Vicks will give relief from sunburn.
How to make your own natural vapor rub
(courtesy of Wellness Mama)
You will need:
- ½ cup olive oil, coconut oil, or almond oil
- 2 level tablespoons of beeswax pastilles
- 20 drops of Eucalyptus Oil
- 10 drops cinnamon or clove oil (optional)
Here is what you need to do:
- Melt beeswax with oil of choice in a double boiler until just melted.
- Add the essential oils (use half the amount for a baby version or dilute with coconut oil before using).
- Stir until well mixed and pour into some type of container with a lid to store. Little tins work well, as do small jars. You can also make a few in lip chap sticks to keep in your purse or to use on baby feet.
- Use as needed to help sooth coughing and congestion.
Make sure to dilute for babies and children and use as little as is needed. It can also be made with herbs instead of essential oils by infusing the oil with 1 tablespoon of each of the herbs in a double boiler over medium heat for 2 hours.
A word of warning
If you are using commercial Vicks, never use on children under the age of two and never place it directly under the nose – whatever the age. The safest method for congestion is to rub on to the chest. The menthol vapors will trigger cold receptors in the nose, convincing the body into thinking that breathing is easier while making the patient calmer and more comfortable.