Q. I have been amused to read about the use of Vicks VapoRub to fight toenail fungus. My elbows were very scaly and getting uncomfortable to lean on. Since scaly skin might be a sign of fungus and I had VapoRub on hand, I thought I’d try it.
It’s been two months and the elbows are about 85 percent better, but here is the really cool thing. I am an artist. Since I turned 50, my fingertips would split and bleed whenever I handled paper, worked in the garden or washed too often. It was almost impossible to put any kind of pressure on my fingers. I was wearing bandages on my fingertips and feeling debilitated.
Since treating my elbows for fungus, my hands have stopped splitting and bleeding. They had been so sore I had trouble doing any fine finger work. I conclude my fingers must also have had a fungal infection and the oils in the VapoRub have helped my skin stay whole.
A. We don’t know if fungus would cause your scaly elbows or cracked split fingertips. The volatile oils in Vicks VapoRub do seem to have some anti-fungal action. Vicks contains petrolatum, which is also an effective moisturizer.
We keep hearing about unusual uses for Vicks. Some people report that it can be helpful for headaches, sore joints, toenail fungus, paper cuts and splinters. Some people use Vicks on horses: “When I was a teenager, my friends and I often gathered across the street to watch our elderly neighbor groom his horse. When he came across a worn place-like a saddle sore-he would rub it with Vicks.”
We’ve also heard that Vicks VapoRub is useful under the nostrils of a young stallion training to be a racehorse. The scent interferes with that of the fillies across the field and keeps him focused on the track instead.
A cat lover shared this story: “My kitten Percy enjoyed attacking my feet and legs. We discouraged his behavior using the methods suggested the by the vet, the SPCA animal behaviorist, and many books on the subject, but the behavior continued. The vet was getting very concerned about the condition of my legs.
“In desperation I thought of putting Vicks VapoRub on my feet and legs to turn him away. It worked and the vet has spread the word to other cat lovers.”
One of the most unusual uses for Vicks is to suppress a nighttime cough. You don’t put it on your chest…rather you smear it on the soles of your feet! Read more about this unusual application here!
Should you wish to learn more about the unusual uses people have come up with for Vicks VapoRub (including the treatment of hemorrhoids), you may wish to look at our Guide to Unique Uses for Vicks.
We have hundreds of other intriguing uses for common household products in our book from National Geographic, The People’s Pharmacy Quick and Handy Home Remedies.