Used for generations to relieve congestion, Vicks VapoRub, sold in its signature blue jar, usually is applied externally to the chest. Through the years, however, users of this gooey, pungent salve have insisted it works as a kind of "miracle" ointment for treating a range of ailments.
- Vicks VapoRub has two approved uses: relieving coughs and nasal congestion (when applied to the chest) and lessening minor aches and pains (when rubbed in the area of sore muscles).
Skin and Nail Treatments
- Through the years, pharmacologist Joe Graedon and nutrition and medical anthropology expert Teresa Graedon have heard from Vicks users who rely on the ointment for treating skin and nail irritations such as toenail fungus, paper cuts and splinters. Other reported uses include applying Vicks to chapped lips, cold sores, mosquito bites and wasp stings.
- According to the website thepeoplespharmacy.org, written by the Graedons, people have been known to apply a dab of Vicks VapoRub to the temple area or on the forehead to alleviate a headache.
- When a scene calls for crying, actors have been known to place a dab of Vicks underneath their lower eyelashes to mimic the look of tears. Vicks should never be applied to the eye because it could cause burning and irritation.
- Vicks VapoRub has not been approved for use other than as a topical ointment for easing nasal and chest congestion, and as a salve for sore muscles. Because Vicks contains camphor, which is toxic, it should never be ingested or applied to delicate tissues.The manufacturer warns against taking Vicks by mouth, putting it in nostrils, or applying it to an open wound or under a tight bandage.