I have a confession to make: I love this stuff. I LOVE the smell of Vicks VapoRub! Never mind lavendar; Menthol, eucalyptus, and camphor all glopped together into some sort of petrolatum, and then smeared on chest, throat, temples or nose instantly relax me. It makes my headache go away. It helps me sleep, when I cannot. It is comfort glop.
That Vicks has any comforting properties at all for me will surprise you when I make an even bigger confession:
My grandparents and parents ATE this stuff when they were sick, and it was shoved down my throat on more than one occasion as a kid. When that common cold showed any sign of advancing into pneumonia or bronchitis, it was Vicks to the rescue! "Eat some Vicks!" Oh, god, the griping and moaning we'd do, forcing down a spoon of that glommy, nasty-tasting stuff, shuddering and gagging.
LO, we were always cured the next morning. One hundred AND TEN percent cured! We were so much cured, we could play the piano, though we'd never touched one in our lives, *that* is how cured we were.
How in the heck, then, could we argue with Moms & Pops at Vicks time? Look at this then:
Ah-HA! I was well into early adulthood when I finally thought to read the label on the side of the bottle. "LOOK at this, Mom! You're not supposed to eat this crap!" "Mom, it has cedar leaf and nutmeg in it." (Ok, those sound pretty good.) "But Mom, it has turpentine oil in it! Turpentine—you should not eat." Probably.
"Pfffft! Next you'll be telling me that pork should be refrigerated! Hush now, and eat your potato salad, before it gets any hotter in this sun."