10 Ways Latinos use & abuse Vicks VapoRub

I have to say I was pretty weirded out when I heard about Danielle from TLC's My Strange Addiction and her obsession with Vicks VapoRub. The 33-year-old woman has developed a 20 year addiction to the topical ointment and especially loves to place it on the back of her tongue. She claims she loves the way it melts in the back of her throat. Gross! But as bizarre as her habit may be, I couldn't help but think about my experience with the cough suppressant. Like most Latinos, I grew up seeing my mamá using "Vaporú" (vapor rub) on practically EVERYTHING!

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I remember always referring to it as the "blue miracle gel" because whenever I'd use it, my symptoms would instantly go away. And I have to admit my love for VapoRub has very much carried into my adulthood. It's not just limited to rubbing on your chest to cure a nasty cough, but can be used for much MUCH more. Check out a few other surprising ways Latinos have can used this cult favorite!

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1. For your feet: Whenever my feet are feeling beat I rub a generous amount of "Vaporú" all over them before bed. I immediately cover with socks and in the morning I wake up with smooth, relaxed feet!

2. If you have a headache: Believe it or not, the camphor-filled gel can do wonders on a bad headache. Just apply a small amount to your forehead and on your temples. The strong mentholated scent helps relieve tension and pain. In minutes you'll feel like a whole new woman!

3. To cure zits: Most Latinos I know use VapoRub as the ultimate acne spot-on treatment. Just take a cotton swab and apply to the affected areas. In the morning they'll be instantly gone. It seriously has worked for me every time.

4. After a work out: Our Assistant Managing Editor applies some to her joints and muscles after an intense work out. It not only successfully relieves sore, overworked muscles but it also helps increase circulation. Who would have thought?

5. To heal burns: Every SINGLE time my abuelita burns herself while cooking, she massages some of this healing ointment onto her effected skin. It's no wonder the kitchen always smells like "Vaporú!"

6. To ward off mosquitoes: Growing up, my siblings and I were the only kids in the playground (because we grew up in a non-Latino neighborhood) walking around spelling like "Vaporú." My mom would embarrassingly enough apply a small amount to our arms and legs to prevent any mosquito bites. But every now and then we'd still get bit and she'd just apply it AGAIN to relieve itching.

7. To treat redness: I've actually heard of Latinos using vapor rub to treat roscea and blotchiness. They apply it to their face like a mask and wear it over night and in the morning wake up with a smooth even complexion. I'm not sure if it does the trick, but the people I know who do this say it works. 

8. For chapped lips: My abuela can't stand seeing me with chapped lips, something I've struggled with for years. And I should also mention she carries a small jar of Vicks VapoRub in her purse no matter where she's going. So if we're out and I'm out of balm, she'll literally tell me to rub some on my lips. I have to admit though, it really does work.

9. To fake a cry: I'd probably never tell my kids about this one, but when I was little whenever I wanted to fake a tantrum with my parents I used to apply a little bit of "Vaporú" under my eyes to get myself tearing. I always got caught though, because a Dominican mother could literally smell vapor rub from a mile away.

10. To prevent doors from creaking: One of our editors' husband applies VapoRub to the hinges of his doors like you would a penetrating oil to prevent doors from creaking. Hey if it works, why not?

Image via Diapers.com

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