If there’s one thing in your bathroom cabinet that you don’t remember exists until you absolutely need it, it has got to be vapor rub. The minty cure is often pushed to the bottom of the cabinet, only to be fished out when you find yourself with a chest congestion. But, did you know you’ve been limiting the chest rub of its magic this whole time?
A vapor rub (also known as chest rub or cold rub) is not just all menthol. Yes, you heard us right! Contrary to what most of us assume, most commercial vapor rubs contain more than camphor and menthol! They are also made of eucalyptus oil, cedar leaf oil, nutmeg oil, and turpentine oil.1 These essential oils, which are loaded with several health benefits, explain why vapor rub can be used for more than just to relieve a cold! And here are some things that will give it a place in your top drawer!
1. Reduces Headaches And Joint Pain
Whenever your headache makes you find your way to a paracetamol, grab a tub of vapor rub instead! The minty essence of the rub can alleviate the pain. The camphor present in it creates a warm sensation, which desensitizes nerve endings and relieves pain.2
2. Keeps The Bugs Away
Nobody likes waking up in the night to find roaches or other insects crawling around their room. To get rid of these menaces that show up in your house without an invite, just keep a pot of vapor rub on the floor of your room. The camphor and the oils present in it ward off garden pests and bugs and also keep mosquitoes away!3
3. Potty-Trains Your Pet
If you have a pet that hasn’t been housebroken yet, you might want to use vapor rub to potty-train them. Dogs and cats have a general distaste toward anything minty. Keep a vapor rub jar with its lid open in areas that you don’t want your little pupper to pee in. The dog will avoid those areas and head out to finish its business.
4. Fades Away Stretch Marks
We’ve all complained about how no cream fades stretch marks. If you want to remove stretch marks, massage the areas with some vapor rub, being careful with the sensitive areas. The combination of various oils is said to tone the muscles, thus reducing the visibility of stretch marks. But don’t worry about it too much – it’s perfectly normal to have stretch marks, remember?
5. Clears Acne
Before you look at us with doubt, we’ll explain to you how this works. The camphor in vapor rub eliminates the bacteria build-up in your skin, thus removing acne. Also, the camphor works particularly well on oily skin. So, the next time you reach out for your acne cream, you know what to pick up instead!4 5
6. Treats Toenail Fungus
A lot of people stand testimony to this surprising fact. Vapor rub can be applied to your toenails to effectively remove fungus. Again, thanks to camphor, the rub acts as an antibiotic agent that removes the fungus overgrowth and helps your toenails breathe freely. It can also treat fungal infections like athlete’s foot.6
7. Heals Cuts And Bruises
Vapor rub is as effective as any commercial ointment when it comes to healing cuts and bruises. Just coat a cotton ball with some rub and dab it on the wounded area. The camphor in the rub gives a cooling sensation and reduces the pain.7 It also eliminates germs present on the cuts and avoids a bacterial infection.
8. Removes Warts
Application of vapor rub on warts can help in its removal. Treat warts with it twice a day for 2 weeks to naturally remove them. Apply the rub on the wart and then cover with a cotton cloth for about an hour.
9. Fights Anxiety
The camphor, along with the oils, present in vapor rub is popularly used in aromatherapy. Known for its therapeutic properties, camphor can fight anxiety and reduce stress. Moreover, certain other oils used in aromatherapy (like lavender oil) have camphor as their primary ingredient.8 The rub is also believed to act as a sedative and cure insomnia. Just apply some rub on your forehead before you hit the bed and you’re good to go!
Who knew the humble vapor rub had so many uses? Now go surprise your friends and family with your new-found knowledge, and make sure to derive its benefits more often!
|↑1||LABEL: VICKS VAPORUB- camphor (synthetic), eucalyptus oil, and menthol ointment. US National Library of Medicine.|
|↑2||Hamidpour, Rafie, Soheila Hamidpour, Mohsen Hamidpour, and Mina Shahlari. “Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora), a traditional remedy with the history of treating several diseases.” International Journal of Case Reports and Images (IJCRI) 4, no. 2 (2013): 86-89.|
|↑3||Ansari, M. A., and R. K. Razdan. “Relative efficacy of various oils in repelling mosquitoes.” Indian journal of malariology 32, no. 3 (1995): 104-111.|
|↑4||Soković, Marina, Jasmina Glamočlija, Petar D. Marin, Dejan Brkić, and Leo JLD van Griensven. “Antibacterial effects of the essential oils of commonly consumed medicinal herbs using an in vitro model.” Molecules 15, no. 11 (2010): 7532-7546|
|↑5||Sellar, W., 1992. The Directory of Essential Oils. Daniel, New York, ISBN-13: 9780852072394|
|↑6||Ramsewak, Russel S., Muraleedharan G. Nair, Manfred Stommel, and Louise Selanders. “In vitro antagonistic activity of monoterpenes and their mixtures against ‘toe nail fungus’ pathogens.” Phytotherapy Research 17, no. 4 (2003): 376-379|
|↑7||Donkin, R.A. Dragon’s Brain Perfume: An Historical Geography of Camphor. Brill, 1999|
|↑8||Ali, Babar, Naser Ali Al-Wabel, Saiba Shams, Aftab Ahamad, Shah Alam Khan, and Firoz Anwar. “Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic review.” Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine 5, no. 8 (2015): 601-611.|