Saturday, October 8, 2011

Do You Use "Vick's Vapo-Rub...?"


Ever since I was a kid, I've used Vick's to help with a cold or the flu.

It might not be a cure, but it certainly does help to make things feel a little more comfortable. Sometimes just being a little more comfortable is half the battle. At least it seems that way to me!

Interesting history behind this product, though. It's been around a lot longer than I thought!


At the beginning of the 1900s, popular treatments for colds were poultices and messy plasters. These were typically the same forms of mustard and mint products that had been used for over 5000 years.

These products were applied on the chest and forehead, but due to the abrasiveness of the compounds, they often caused rashes and/or blisters. This was due is a large part because their main ingredients were skin irritants. The other prescribed method to cure a cold was to inhale hot herbal vapors. While this method was very successful in curing colds, it could also cause severe burns if children or patients placed their faces too close to the steam.

Lunsford Richardson, a druggist from Selma, North Carolina, was one of several druggists who sought a product that would provide relief without the drawbacks of the plasters and poultices. Two events occurred that led him to the perfect product. The first was the use of petroleum jelly as a safe base for salves and cosmetics. The second was the discovery of menthol, a crystalline alcohol extract from peppermint which released a vapor capable of giving sinus relief.

Ben-Gay and the Connection to Vick's


Menthol had been used by consumers as far back as 1898 when it was introduced in a product called Ben-Gay. This product, which was invented by Jules Bengue, combined menthol with an analgesic pain reliever in a base of lanolin. The innovative product was promoted as a cure for rheumatoid arthritis, gout and even help with a head cold.


Richardson studied the testimonials on Ben-Gay and started mixing different ingredients together in his drugstore. He finally stumbled upon using menthol with other ingredients in a base of petroleum jelly. He named his new product, Richardson’s Croup and Pneumonia Cure Salve. When rubbed onto the chest, the chemicals opened up sinus passages while they increase blood circulation. After its introduction, jars of the product flew off the shelves. Richardson could barely keep up with orders for customers and other druggists.


His only problem was the long, involved name of the product. He felt he needed a catchier moniker and turned to his brother-in-law, a doctor named Joshua Vick. Because it had been in Vick’s laboratory that Richardson had experimented to create a new product he changed the popular products name in honor of his mentor. Vick’s VapoRub was born, the year was 1905.

Read more at Suite101: History of Vick's VapoRub | Suite101.com http://brenda-gargus.suite101.com/history-of-vicks-vaporub-a273740#ixzz1a9JrkGUN

Don't know about you, but I always have some Vick's in my medicine cabinet. Might come in handy, ya know?

Now, let's get some fresh coffee and sit outside for a bit. Coffee's hot, but so is the weather!

16 comments:

sel said...

You know I read about putting vicks on your feet when you have a bad cough and it will help you stop coughing and sleep. I promise you this works! I have used vicks everyday since I was a little girl with allergies. Thanks for giving us the history behind it.

HermitJim said...

Hey Sel...
Ya know, it does seem as though I heard that somewhere...but I don't remember where.

Wonderful stuff, though. A lot of the older remedies still seem to work the best!

Hey, thanks for coming by this morning!

Gorges Smythe said...

The last jar I got was made in Mexico. I'm a little leery of it now that fecal matter may be part of the recipe.

HermitJim said...

Hey Gorges...
I hadn't heard about that being in the formula, but then I've had my jar for a long time.

Guess it would pay to check the label, huh?

Thanks, my friend, for coming by today!

thecottagebythecranelakeolof1 said...

I think many of us has grown up with that product :-) I'm not sure it helps but it sure feels better for a while :-)

Have a great day!
Christer.

Ben in Texas said...

Boy I remember it from child hood. Mother would slather up our chest with it and put a warm cloth on it to help break up congestion. I can still smell it to this day.

Dizzy-Dick said...

Like Ben, I remember that also. And if not Vicks it was mentholatum.

JoJo said...

Like Ben said, mom would rub it on our back and chest then use flannel folded nice a thick then your flannel pj's. I don't know why it had to be flanned though. But yes I still keep it in my house and I love the smell.
I also remember the mentholatum.

HermitJim said...

Hey Christer...
It does have a soothing effect on the mind, if nothing else!

Thanks for coming by today!


Hey Ben...
That's the same thing that Mom would do to us! Funny how Moms all seemed to think the same.

You have a great day, and thanks for coming by!


Hey DD...
That's another product that I remember!

Man, all of us must be on the same cycle!

Thanks for coming by today!


Hey JoJo...
Guess that flannel had some special properties we didn't know about!

Made us feel better, no matter why!

Thanks, sweetie, for coming by today!

TROUBLEnTX said...

I was one of the Moms that did that, lololol. Had a siamese tomcat that loved it so much, had to put him out when i got out the Vics. You couldn't hold him away. He'd rub, and roll in it. Just go nuts. Never figured that one out.

Phyllisb (N/W Jersey) said...

Here's a tip for rough skin on you feet! Every night slather on the Vics, put on a pair of old white cotton socks and when you wake up the next morning, you will see a big improvement. Do that for a week and your tootsies will look and feel wonderful. Great for folks who wear sandles and flip-flops all the time.I've been doing that for years (and years) and I'm never ashamed to take off my boots!
Thanks for the coffee!

HermitJim said...

Hey Trouble...
Strange reaction from the cat! I never heard of that before!

Thanks for coming over today...


Hey Phyllis...
Thanks for the tip! I don't like to sleep with socks on, but I might try this just to see what will happen!

I appreciate you dropping in today!

TROUBLEnTX said...

Yeah, only 1 i ever heard of too. He was the one that would walk down the OUTSIDE of the chain link fence with 3 HUGE boxers trying to tear it down, or jump over it. Here he went, tail straight up, twitching on the end, knowing those dogs couldn't get to him. I would hear them, watch, laugh to myself thinking wth would he do if just one got over. hahahahahah Wish i had had my video cam back then. But that was WAY back.

Mamma Bear said...

I love Vick's. If I ever have a stuffy nose I put a little bit under my nose before bedtime to help me breathe.

When I worked as a CNA in a nursing home we kept a jar in the bathroom of the patients. Some incontinent patients BM's were so strong they would make someone with a very weak stomach want to quit their jobs! Vick salve under the nose before changing the patients made life much better.

Papa Bear said his mother would make him and his sister swallow some when they had sore throats...eeekkk

Donna Ashworth said...

Oh what wonderful memories this post and following comments brought back. I mean I never thought I would say a bad cold was a wonderful memory, but the mama's touch and the Vick's salve (what mama called it) brought back some fond memories. I tell you what mama found was even better, if that's possible. She started using it when Porter Waggoner started endorsing it on his Saturday night television program. It is another "salve" called Soltice Quick Rub. I looked on the internet to see if it was still available and I can't believe that it is. http://www.medshopexpress.com/049830.html

I'm ordering some today. This stuff is great. Works on the same principal as Vick's, but there is something about the odor of it I love. It's not greasy like Vick's is and that's why mama started using it...to see if it truly was "greaseless". LOL Mama told me later in life that there was a big stink at one time when Porter Waggoner had Dolly Parton on his show and a comment of some sort was made as to the Soltice Quick Rub and how it helps bad colds by rubbing it on the chest. Well, you get the jest of where that went. Mama said the Soltice people really jumped on old Porter for his reference to their product and rubbing it on Dolly's chest. LOLOLOL

Ted said...

Vicks contains four active ingredients, levomenthol, eucalyptus oil, turpentine oil and camphor. I'm so thankful they did not put Caster Oil in it.My mother doctored a sore throat with a teaspoon of sugar with four drops of turpentine.Most all illnesses required a bigggggg table spoon of caster oil.Still fond memories.