Jar of Vicks VapoRub

Q. I read a message on your website about someone who put Vicks VapoRub on his hemorrhoids. He complained that “Vicks on his hemorrhoids felt like napalm” and described the sensation as “spontaneous combustion that made me feel like I was a jet fighter with afterburners. Mayday!”

My experience has been quite different. I have used Vicks on my hemorrhoids and it works amazingly well. Vicks is, however, for external use only. What that means is that if there is broken skin involved then lift-off can be achieved. Vicks on broken skin is not a happy feeling.

A. We have been surprised at the number of people who report benefit from Vicks VapoRub on hemorrhoids:

“Tried Vick’s vaporub as haemorrhoid remedy It worked immediately, effectively and without pain.”

“OMG…Vicks is brilliant. It shrinks them too. A star all the way!”


“Vicks is great for hemmies. Granted if you are extremely sensitive I would avoid it but if you aren’t and are looking for relief it’s a must.”


“I have had hemorrhoids for 40 years. About 35 years ago, while living in England, I was able to treat them with an ointment I found that was sold there. I brought some back to the U.S., but could never find it here. The two principal ingredients listed on the tube were camphor and menthol.

“I now use Vicks VapoRub. Regular use relieves the itching as well as the swelling for me.”

“I’ve used Vicks since childhood and recently carried it on my backpacking journey across the world. As I recall Vicks was available in most countries. It works on bug bites, some fungus infections, hemorrhoids, ‘dings & nicks’ and as a chest rub. I wouldn’t be without it – ever!

Regards, Bob

We grant you that such testimonials are compelling. But there is a dissenting viewpoint. It is the one expressed by John Welter, writing in the Durham Herald-Sun, March 24, 2001:

“…in a clinical setting where no one could see me, I scientifically applied a sufficient amount of VapoRub to the inflamed area and waited for results. I’d like to report to Joe Graedon that almost immediately, I could breathe better. In an essay I’m writing for The New England Journal of Medicine, I state that: ‘After applying VapoRub to the hemorrhoids, I had no respiratory problems in my pants.’

“What really happened is that the active ingredients in VapoRub–which I think are menthol, camphor and napalm–instantly engulfed my hemorrhoidal locality in spontaneous combustion. The warmth of VapoRub on a congested chest might be comforting; applying it to the most sensitive escape route in the human abdomen made me imagine I was a jet fighter with afterburners. I moved distractedly through the house like an F-15 pilot saying: ‘Mayday! Mayday! I took a direct hit to my tail section! Eject! Eject! There’s a fire in my cockpit!’ Well, not the cockpit, really. I forget the military term for butt.

“The use of VapoRub for hemorrhoids was supposed to be a home remedy, although obviously it has military applications… I must politely report to Joe Graedon that while it’s possible that a few people might benefit from VapoRub on their hemorrhoids, I think most people will respond with such well-known expressions as, ‘Shots fired! Officer down! We have casualties!'”

We would love to hear about your hemorrhoid treatments. Please comment below.

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  1. Ronald J.
    Bluffton IN

    I’ve been interested in doing this myself. But I will tell you of another home remedy that works very well for hemmies. That is milk thistle. It will also shrink your varicose veins to just about nothing. Try it!

  2. Pedro

    At first, i was somehow skeptical to the use of this method, and even more after reading some of the comments in here!
    I tried it at home in my lunch break, and all i can say is that it worked, it didn’t gave me any kind of burning sensation, only relief in the pain.
    I did try it and immediately sat on top of a freezed Gel cold pack for pain therapy , and all i can say is that the only two things i feel right now as i am writting this is a senstional cool feel on my behind and that still lattent bother from the hemmie still not shrinking, but no pain at all!
    This was the best thing i could try, after taking meds like Venex and Daflon, and using creams like Synalar Rectal and Anacal!
    The relief from VaporRub was much more intense!!!
    I’ll try it again when i go home for the day and see how it goes in the morning….
    Thank you very much for this tip!!!

  3. Linda

    After reading everyone’s testimonials, I had to try this. I bathed a few hrs. Ago.in Epsom salts and hot-ish water. I have hemorrhoids and a partially healed fissure. Didn’t hurt. Feeling pleasantly cool. I am hoping it helps heal them. I will let you know.

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