Pros: This is an old medicine that has been a favorite for years.
Cons: You will smell like funk for a while.
If you look in your Grandmas medicine cabinet, you will probably find a plastic jar of Mentholatum. It comes in a 1 oz and 3 oz jar and also in a tube now at 1 oz. This stuff has been around for over 100 years, and it works. If you have congestion, then this is certainly worth a try. Its really cheap, so if you do hate it, then you are not out much.
Mentholatum is an external rub that helps clear your nose and lungs when you are stopped up. You just rub in under your nose or all over your chest, and you immediately begin to feel some relief. It feels cool when rubbed on but with a hot relaxing and airway-opening vapor. Its an odd combination, but thats how it works.
This product is a lot like Vicks Vapo Rub, but it does not have the same level of burn. If you have any problems with peppermint (like I do), then you will not want to put Vicks under your nose, but you are fine with Mentholatum. Most people can do either under the nose, but you will know if you are sensitive to Vicks. It will burn like crazy. If so, then switch to Mentholatum. I cant handle Mentholatum on my lips, but some folks do that too. Do that with caution, because you will not be feeling good if you burn your lips up with this or anything else.
The thing that most folks dislike about Mentholatum is that it is kind of greasy. If you put it under your nose, you look like you ate fried chicken and did not wipe your mouth. It reminds a body of Vaseline, but it has more smell. If the texture really turns you off, then you may like the new Vicks cream, which is similar but not so gunky.
Here is my review on the new cream by Vicks, which I also keep on hand, and love (chest only in my casethe kids can handle it under the nose):
If youre going to use menthol for congestion relief, then you are going to smell like menthol. If youre stopped up, you will not smell it near as much as your loved ones. After all, you are not smelling at full capacity. Mentholatum is a tad less smelly than Vicks, but you will still smell like a foul cough drop. If the whole family is sick and rubs up, then you have the onion effect. Everyone eats those onions and no one notices the rest smell kind of bad. Group rub and sing Kum-ba-ya.
The good news is that anyone raised on Mentholatum (or Vicks) may connect the smell with being cared for and may not find the smell appalling. I remember when my kid told me I sure smelled nice after I rubbed up with this. I guess its all in the perspective. Personally, this is not one of my favorite smells, but it does say on top of the problem.
My aunt just finished up a round of high power and expensive antibiotics. She didnt feel any better and is looking at pneumonia if she is not careful. Her husband did not grow up on this stuff and does not like the smell, but she broke it out anyway. Now, she is clearing a bit. She will probably still need to see her doctor and may have to try another antibiotic, but hopefully Mentholatum will help her clear up in time for the holidays.
If you are stopped up, take charge fast. Mentholatum and Vicks are both over-the-counter and do help many people. If you run a fever and continue to feel tired and run down, then see your doctor. You can use this along with antibiotics and any other medicines prescribed at the doctors office. Mentholatum is not internal. It just rubs on the outside and wont hurt you even if it does not clear a major infection.
Another use for this product is to dab a bit in the medicine cup of a vaporizer. It goes out in the air and makes breathing easier, but it really does freak out those types who do not like the smell. The hot air type of vaporizer really do work much better than the cool-touch humidifiers currently all the rage in general and with smelly products. If you are thinking about buying a water machine, then look at my review on the vaporizer at:
I swear by this, and everyone in my family has gone back to the old style hot vaporizers. The safety idea with cool water is all fine and good, but if it does not work, then why bother at all?
As you might guess, Im stopped up at the moment and thinking about products that give some relief. I highly recommend Mentholatum (or Vicks) and a vaporizer. If they dont work, you can always see your doctor. If they do, then you can relax right at home and get over the winter blahs.
Another really great product for nasal congestion is Afrin 12 hour. My review on that product is at: