WHISKEY AND MENTHOL; if you like one there's a good chance you might like the other

My husband has a sentimental childhood memory of Vicks VapoRub.  He has a mad love affair with the noxious greasy powerfully pungent blue jar of goo that is called Vicks.  His mom used it for colds, headaches, allergies, sore muscles and may have even thought it was a viable solution to the then cold war.  Now for some of you, possibly too young to know this over-the-counter medicinal smelly petroleum based rub, let me fill you in.

It contains menthol.  What is menthol you ask?  Well, it's the stuff you find in some chapsticks, muscle/arthritis ointments [can't type that word without giggling], certain types of cigarettes, decongestants, etc.  It's used as an analgesic, a decongestant, an antipruritic (anti-itch), an anti-inflammatory, and a muscle relaxer.  In various forms, or mixed with other chemicals; eucalyptus or camphor, it can produce an icy hot sensation.  The strong odor comes from its raw material origin, peppermint.  Cigarettes utilize menthol in certain brands to mask the taste and smell of nicotine and tobacco.  It is though, poisonous if consumed in too large of quantities.  So, don't try consuming it just to prove that statement is true.

Here's the interesting thing; we use so much menthol in products that there isn't enough of it in its natural state to supply the demand.  Menthol is now chemically and scientifically formulated to meet the ever growing need.  Who would have thought that the ingredient in the gunk my mom smeared in a thick layer over my chest, and covered with a red handkerchief tied around my neck, was in such high demand.

My brother-in-law has been a full-time fireman/paramedic nearly twenty years.  He tells the story of being a rookie and having to pick up an overly ripe deceased body on an emergency call.  He said the smell was so overpowering that it made you want to throw up.  He noticed though that the veteran guys seemed unaffected by the horrific odor.  They let him in on their secret - a small amount of Vicks VapoRub placed just inside their nostrils.  Brilliant!!

I've come to know my husband's ginormous love of Vicks.  He equates it to his mother's love I believe.  She must have loved him BIG.  I can think of no other reason why someone would love that smell! 

I suppose you could suffice to say that menthol is the medicinal version of a York peppermint patty.  I would much rather eat mint mixed with sugar coated in dark chocolate or as part of a julep than use mint's other use - Vicks!

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