Vicks– the Cure for… Everything!

I had a headache today, sure I was also procrastinating from getting work done, but I insisted… ow ow, headache, can’t work any more. So P came to my rescue… with Vicks Vapor Rub.

P is a big fan of Vicks. I think it comes from the influence of his grandfather. According to P, the smell of Vicks reminds him of Kakabua, since he rubs is on everything: muscle ache–Vicks, congestion–Vicks, headache–Vicks, toothache–Vicks, chest cold–Vicks, etc. This has rubbed off on P… who seems to use it even if he doesn’t really have a cold. He likes to rub it on his forehead, above his eyes, dabs it along the outer edges (and the inner edges) of his nostrils, his chest, his neck. I’m even starting to like it. If  I feel a little “under the weather” I let P Vicks-me-up–above my eyes and around my nose–and it certainly does feel soothing. 

We didn’t use Vicks so ubiquitously growing up. I remember it a few times when I was really ill as a child with bronchitis or some other similar ailment when my mother would hook up the vaporizer near my bed and rub my chest with Vicks. For us that was it, it wasn’t a cure all for everything.

So I googled “Vicks” to see what I could find… one website, called “Stuff Dominican People Like,” included Vicks… stating, ” Much like the old Chris Rock Joke about black people and Robitussin, Dominicans believe that this magic concoction could cure pretty much any disease.” hmmm… I think I could put P in that category.

Another called “Twelve Surprising Uses for Vicks Vaporub” mentioned that Vicks not only helps with headaches and colds but also speeds up healing time on cuts and splinters, could prevent tick and mosquito bites, helps with nail fungus, and acts as a deterrent for house pets who have not yet been housebroken. There are lots of sites with similar lists.

Perhaps it truly is a miracle concoction! You can even become a fan on Facebook (it has 982 fans… wow, kind of crazy, you can be a fan of anything on Facebook these days).

I think even R mentioned over the weekend that her friend uses Vicks on cuts and scrapes. Although I should issue the disclaimer that doing this and putting it in your nose like P, is not recommended. According to the Vicks label it gives the warning: “For external use only: avoid contact with eyes. Do not use 1) by mouth, 2) with tight bandages, 3) in nostrils [P!!] or 4) onwounds or damaged skin.”

 Perhaps the next time you have a headache, before you reach for the aspirin, maybe a little “magic” Vicks might do you some good too…

Any other South Asian “remedies” out there?

6 responses to “Vicks– the Cure for… Everything!

  1. Vicks is not south Asian. The origin is in NY, I guess. But it has ingredients from many different countries….
    The south asian, atleast I know the Indian one is Amrutanjan. I do not know how Ayurvedic it is, but it claims to be.

  2. Hi Neeti… I know Vicks isn’t *specifically* South Asian, but it seems as though some individuals (dare I say communities?) use it more then others…

  3. yeah I guess you are right, it is pretty common in that part of world. I have not seen here much. Do you know why it is not common in American household though it is from here?

  4. Post-India trip, we now have 12 bottles of Vicks (Indian not American) stashed in strategic locations around the house.

    I wish I were joking or exaggerating. But I’m not.

  5. I, too, have seen intra-nasal Vicks applications that shocked me. But I recently read something ( about Vicks being possibly not good, especially for kids. So that’s one cultural hand-me-down I’m requesting my husband not pass to our kid. We’ll stick with green tea, Joshanda, and wrapping up in as many blankets as possible to “sweat out the fever.”

    (Just kidding, I’ve nixed the blanket thing too! I was raised to COOL down a bad fever, not warm it up…)

  6. Hey friends, I cannot find Vicks Vaborub anywhere in the Nepalese market. Is there like a shortage for it or something?

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