Q. I tried putting Vicks VapoRub on the soles of my feet to calm a cough last night. It did absolutely nothing for me. If anything, my cough got worse. My feet felt like they were on fire and the feeling of the Vicks between my toes was just not pleasant. So I will not be doing that ever again. On the plus side, my feet are very soft.
A. Eight years ago a nurse told us about slathering Vicks VapoRub on the soles of the feet to quiet a nighttime cough. Since then many others have reported success. Here is a typical testimonial: “The real treasure of Vicks VapoRub is the application to the bottom of the feet. When I first heard about it, I had a very bad cough from allergy-related bronchitis. I tried this remedy and it relieved my cough almost immediately.”
Clearly, as your experience demonstrates, Vicks does not work to ease all coughs. If you have athlete’s foot or cracks between your toes, the camphor, menthol and eucalyptus oil in the ointment might sting.
There is another “off-label” use for Vicks that we do not recommend because of the burning sensation it may create: ” 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.”
Download our Guide to Unique Uses for Vicks for more details on this traditional treatment used in untraditional ways.