Garlic on Your Feet?

Image of a container of Vicks VapoRub

Image of a container of Vicks VapoRub (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Did you know that if you rub garlic on your feet that within 20 minutes you can taste it? This I learned from an email sent by a friend who passes on all kinds of vital and indispensable information to me. In the same email, she shared some very interesting information regarding  VICKS Vapo Rub. I remember Vicks being applied to my neck and chest area quite generously by my mom when I  had a cold and cough as a  kid. Then she would put a warm towel on the area, and I would fall into a blissful sleep (giving her some much needed rest too.)

Little did I know that the Vicks should have been applied to the soles of my feet for the utmost relief. At least that is what this fellow who attended a lecture on Essential Oils claims (and then posted it on the Internet for all to see). Apparently our soles absorb oils. (Makes you want to be careful about walking barefoot doesn’t it?)

The fellow who wrote up this “essential” advice, (let’s call him Sam so we do not have to keep calling him “fellow”) says that you can stop night time coughing by applying Vicks Vapo Rub to the soles of your feet, then cover them with socks, and within about five minutes the coughing stops.  Sam swears by this and says it works 100% of the time. And the bonus is you get soft feet.  A medicine that multi-tasks—who knew? The dual promise of no coughing and soft feet is just something I cannot resist. I do refuse to put garlic on my feet though, unless there is word of a vampire breakout (which may not be all that far-fetched, given all the books and movies dedicated to the fanged warriors.)

Sam says that his wife tried this when she had a deep and persistent cough and it worked. He learned of this method himself after listening to a radio morning talk show, which featured a chap talking about cough medicines and why they often do more harm to children than good because of all the chemicals in them. Sam does not say who the “chap” was, but for the sake of argument, let us believe he was doctor (and not just one who played a doctor on TV.)

While I am dispensing a little advice on colds, I will share with you a little recipe guaranteed to soothe a cold that I ran across in the book, “How to Sew a Button and Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew” by Erin Bried. (I just cannot resist a book that has the word nifty in the title.) It is called “How to Make a Hot Tea Toddy”, and the Grandma who came up with it obviously had a bit of a sense of humour.

Step 1: Brew a cup of tea by pouring boiling water over a tea bag, preferably decaffeinated so you don’t get jittery. Let steep for a few minutes. (I have it on good authority that you should steep it for exactly three minutes.)

Step 2: Add a swirl of honey to taste. (Not a dollop, not a teaspoon, a swirl—this is very important). Honey apparently not only tastes good but coats your throat and relieves soreness and coughing.

Step 3: Quarter a lemon and squeeze over your cup to add “lip-smacking tartness” (you can’t make this stuff up). 

Okay, Step 4 gets to the heart of the matter: Add a shot of whiskey or bourbon to the tea. Depending on how bad you feel, add a shot of whiskey or bourbon to your mouth too (there’s that sense of humour I was talking about).

Step 5: Hold cup to your face, breathing in the hot steam to clear up your schnoz.

Step 6: Climb under your covers, and sip until you get drowsy.

Step 7: Set the cup down first. Very important! Then fall asleep.

Step 8: Dream good dreams. Snoring is optional.

Now, I am betting that if you don’t drink alcohol, the honey and lemon by themselves will probably do the trick, but I would put a little Vapo-rub on the soles of your feet if you want to leave out the whiskey. In the book, Grandma adds three more “nifty” tips for nursing a cold: Sit by the fireside to stay toasty as feeling chilled can suppress your immune system; gargle with warm water three times a day to wash away germs; and wash your hands often with soap, and “for goodness sake keep them away from your face.”

So with Sam and Grandma’s advice under your belt, you have a few more ways to combat any cold that invades your personal space. Just remember don’t tea toddy and drive.

Published in: on September 12, 2011 at 12:14 am  Comments (20)  
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20 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I might go straight for the Vicks and bourbon..

  2. I had a long reply and I hit the return key and it flew away. Will comment another time. Must get moving along this am.

  3. I have also heard of soaking your feet in hot water and mustard to rid yourself of fevers and colds! It works but results in suspect smelly feet! 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing. I also heard of the gargling with warm water, but adding 1/4 tsp. salt. My wife does this and it cuts sore throat sooner.


    • I do that too………

      • just wanted you to know..after reading this post about putting vicks on your feet..I did it for my wife who come home yesterday all congested. I washed her feet, applied vick’s, put on the socks and in about 15-20 minutes she noticed a difference. She also said a good idea for warming your feet too when you have the chills!!

        Thanks again for sharing this timely post.


      • that is so cool – glad it worked!

  5. How did you know about these old Sicilian remedies ? I had to face this as a kid. If you did not get better the old women would beat you with the big wooden salad spoon until the spirits left your body. (actually I never saw them use the spoon for salad. Its sole use was to beat children). And then they would say “How do you expect to get better if you don’t stop coughing and sneezing all day?”

  6. I do the Vicks on the feet trick all the time. It stops my daughter’s cough almost every time. Then I tried it on myself. It feels really weird. As you start to draw breath into your lungs to cough, you feel it stopped in your chest.

    The garlic feet just sounds gross.

    • I should try it and see what the experience is about – I tend to agree with you about the garlic though

  7. I’m really puzzled as to why you would rub garlic on your feet in the first place and who sits there thinking these weird ( and maybe wonderful) ideas up.
    As one who also had Vic applied as a child for coughs and colds and then run to the loo I can tell you rubbing vic doesn’t work everywhere. Fiery Jack was another good one for backache, but ( and you’re learning from the village idiot here ) don’t take a bath to wash it off unless the bath is a very cold one.

  8. Thank you! Vick on the feet of the lovely Mr S tonight! 🙂

  9. Thanks for following my blog. I’m looking forward to reading yours regularly.

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