Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Vicks VapoRub: NOT a comfort food.

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."


  1. OK. That's bizarre on a heretofore unheard of level. Speaking of weird cures that work here's one. My friend convinced me that at the first sign of a cold eat an entire clove (not head, clove) of raw garlic. Chew it thoroghly and let that hot (painful) garlic juice swirl all around your throat. Then sleep. Sheer agony but it works every time. Of course, my previous method was to drink as much beer and smoke as many cigarettes as I could that night. That worked pretty often too. Oh well.

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  3. Raw garlic, then sleep?

    Then sleep *alone*, you forgot to mention.

  4. Omg .. That pucks me .. "Puck a vicks"


  5. Thank GOD I'm not the only one who loves this smell!!!!!

  6. A slightly more conventional cure for a cold that a Mexican friend once suggested: pour a shot a tequila down the hatch. If it doesn't kill the germs, it'll at least make you feel good.

  7. Y'know, MY Mexican friends suggest Tequila for a cold too! It also helps to alleviate a hangnail, a low checking account balance, an argument with a friend, a rainy day, a sunny day...It is the ultimate cure-all!

  8. Vicks is banned at home. ( pssst I heard my dad used to live off it prior in the early days of marriage.) Mum gave him probably two years to settle before she put her foot down and bunged all vicks out of the house. And so we grew up ahboring the stuff but secretly wondering what all the fuss was about. Sheesh..lI'm having a chesty cough which I think vicks would help cure.

  9. I didn't say sleep alone. But frankly, if I'm in bed and I'm not alone sleep usually isn't on the agenda anyway, so it didn't really occur to me. Say have you heard of HNT?

  10. Well, I figured with that garlic breath...unless it's Garlic for Everyone!

    Is EVERY Thursday HNT?

  11. Edina: Get the Vicks!

    Do NOT eat the Vicks though, I will NOT be responsible for any hospital bills incurred by having your stomach pumped of this poisonous cure-all!

  12. Wow. When you told me about this blog idea - I didn't know you really meant that you ATE Vick's!!

    Doesn't that make you have a "long distance phone call"? It is part petroleum jelly, isn't it?

  13. My paternal grandmother was a Vicks eater too! I don't remember being made to eat it though. I'm sure it made her bathroom time a little smoother.

  14. Momo: Petrolatum is one of the ingredients; I don't remember any of the "phone call" (that is, loose motion (aka Ilaiy terminology) side effects, but perhaps I was too sick to know I was sicker.

    White-red: I am Vindicated!!! I am not making this up! All that glop I was forced to eat, and yet I still felt all high & mighty that we were never forced to take cod liver oil; how messed up is that?

    For another blog, perhaps, but I also had an uncle that ate vaseline; he swore it coated his stomach.


    (I'm pretty sure I was adopted)

  15. Oh Wait! I forgot to tell you that my Grandma also thought it was great for chapped lips; she was always smearing that stuff across my face in the winter time, to prevent chapped lips.


  16. Anonymous4:42 PM

    So I thought that I was the only weirdo here. I started craving Vicks Vapo Rub when I was expecting my baby and here it is 13 months later and I still carry a bottle of Vicks in my purse, diaper bag ect..
    For some reason I can't stop eating the darn thing it is kinda like an fetish for me, it really makes me feel RELIEVED!!

  17. Anonymous10:21 PM

    wow I'm not alone in this I. just love vaporub it all started one time wheni had a bad cold but after that I just couldn't. get. enough I started shoubing it up my nose ohhh itfet sooooogood so refreshing the smell oh my goodness and then it goes down your throat just a little bit at a time so its not that nasty I just love it. thing is that after a while I got this this big cut. or sour in my nose it hurt so much so I started wondering if it did this to my nose what is. it doing to my insides and yessoon after I started getting burning sensations in my stomach I got scared so I stoped now I only use it as. my. I can't help it one other thing I love. is lyzol spray cleaner ifeel so bad but I crave these. I'm addicted

  18. Anonymous6:35 PM

    ok, I am not the only one that loves the taste of vicks.. but how do I quit. or it could kill me...

  19. Anonymous10:39 PM

    A friend of mine told me to melt just about a tsp and swallow it to bring up the junk especially good for a smoker and I'm like what? Are you serious so while doing a search I found your article so I'm gonna try it.

  20. Please note that I recommend that you do NOT eat Vicks, and that it says right there on the bottle to call poison control if you ingest it.

    I don't want to be held responsible for your stomach pumping! Don't eat it!


  21. Anonymous1:43 AM

    Wow, I guess I am another weirdo too. I have the same vicks addiction. for the past 5 years I have been eating vicks in small amounts up to 3 times a week. My only bad reaction has been a little diarea. But it's an addiction because I cant quit (ive tried), then I think the whole poison thing is a fake. In the last 3 years I have not had any severe colds or throat infections, and in the last year I have had no cold symptms at all. How do you explain that when I used to be a sickling? Is it the vicks? maybe vicks is the cure for the common cold, and the pharmaceutical companies dont want u to know? or maybe it will kill us eventually, but if your body gets rid of it how can it kill you??? from:Confused

  22. oh yes vicks is so good that i can't stop eating it.I always carry it with me, i already have 8 bottles of it at home.But now i want to quit eating it as it causes lung inflammation.

  23. Anonymous1:52 AM

    Wow, you ppl are messed up! Eating Vic's... Hmmmm.

  24. Anonymous3:32 PM

    I'm so glad to know I'm not alone. I started inhaling Vicks straight from the bottle about 5 months ago. I've always used it for colds on my children and myself. What started it all was the Vicks stick. I love it. But they're expensive, so I find that Vicks rub is the same. I actually fall asleep with the cap off inhaling it. Mind you, Vicks has been a household medicine in my house since childhood. When I had a cold, my mom would rub it on my chest, and back. Then she would microwave or heat up a cloth and put it on my chest and it would alleviate me.

  25. Anonymous1:01 PM

    Omg. I'm not alone. Vicks has been in my household , and my parents as well for years. I use it for Headaches, coughing, muscle aches. You name it. But about 5 months ago I. Began inhaling it straight from the bottle at night. It just smells so good. It relaxes me, and i fall asleep immediately. Then i took it a step further. I began smearing it all over my upper lip, in my nose ,and around my mouth. Also on my lips. Now I cant sleep without it, and I eat it off my lips. It's totally an addiction. I can't help myself. Sad part is, I'm a nurse. And I know you're not supposed to ingest it. But its so good. I don't know what to do.


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