9% Camphor and a Sneeze

Mentholatum Advertisement.

Don’t mind me, I’m busy sticking Mentholatum up my nose.


I can understand you may be curious about why I would be willing to stick an “aromatic colds care” ointment on a mucous membrane and I would give you a simple explanation: allergy season.


Something is blooming in my mountaintop air, something wicked this way comes. Every day for the last week I have taken a cocktail of Clariton, Allegra and Zyrtec. Still my nose itches and my eyes water!


Similar to the Portokalos patriarch’s adoration for Windex in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, my family has passed down a love for Mentholatum.


Bug bite? Put some Mentholatum on it. Itchy nose, stick some Mentholatum up it. Allergies still stubborn? Take a shower, stick a pea-sized wad of Mentholatum up your nose, get into bed and turn out the light, then rub more Mentholatum across your eyelids. When you wake up, your allergies are settled.


You might go blind in the meantime, but you won’t be itching anymore!


This is standard procedure in our family, as a timely application of Mentholatum does wonders for a variety of ailments. If you haven’t tried it, I’d highly recommend checking out this nasal decongestant/cough suppressant/topical analgesic.


I admit, when I grew old enough to care to read the small print on the packaging, I was taken aback to read “Do Not: heat; microwave; add to hot water or any container where heating water. May cause splattering and result in burns; take by mouth or place in nostrils; get into eyes; apply to wounds or damaged skin; bandage tightly.”


Apparently there’s a reason you’re not supposed to place a concoction of 9% camphor and 1.3% natural menthol on the sensitive spots of your face. (Perhaps, like Listerine, your face might burn off as you’re using it.)


However, I choose to believe it’s kind of like the Qtip situation – everyone puts Qtips in their ears to clear out the wax. If you don’t use a Qtip there’s a chance you’ll end up deaf from ear wax, yet someone worthy of winning a Darwin Award prodded their ear drum with a cotton swab and probably sued the company.


Now there’s a suggestion to use Qtips for eye shadow application and craft daubing and a warning against ear insertion. Like anyone wants to use a cotton swab for a craft project…


I’m sure that’s the same with Mentholatum, noses, and eyes. Because I tell you what, that’s a consumer product worth something. I love it.


(Someday remind me to tell you my opinion of and experience with Capsaicin creme. It’s one of the reasons I know my husband fell in love with me.)


As for yours truly, I’m headed to take advantage of our long-standing Mentholatum ritual: shower, nostril insertion and eyelid rub. I’m just hoping the baby sleeps long enough for my eyes to stop burning.


Do you use a medicated, stinky ointment? Would you ever stick it up your nose?



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One thought on “9% Camphor and a Sneeze

  • September 19, 2012 at 5:39 am

    Wow! I’ve never heard of that stuff. Is it kind of like Vicks? My family is a major consumer of pseudo-ephedrine. All five of us kids were battling sinus infections when the government instituted laws about how much you could buy at a time. For a whole year, I was afraid my mother would punch one of the pharmacists whenever she’d run up on her Sudafed limit.


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