Unraveling the Science Behind Vicks VapoRub Therapeutic Vapours

LONDON--()--In a series of recent publications, new insights have been revealed regarding the intricate action of VapoRub’s active ingredients (Menthol, Camphor, Eucalyptus Oil & Turpentine Oil) – significantly advancing the overall understanding of how therapeutic vapours impact cold symptom relief.

The research shows that ingredients such as Menthol, Camphor and Eucalyptus possess the ability to specifically modulate different ThermoTRP1 channels which are present throughout the respiratory tract and play a pivotal role in the development of cold symptoms.

Prof. Andrew Smith, Director of the Centre for Occupational and Health Psychology at Cardiff University, has recently summarized multiple studies2 that observed essential oil mixtures of aromatics enhance symptom relief for upper respiratory tract infections. Menthol, eucalyptus, and camphor led to the experience of faster nasal cooling and decongestion times in patients, with their inhalation reported to have antitussive effects, and further significant improvements in sleep quality are described.

Recent research3 conducted by Dr. Laura Sadofsky, Study Principal Investigator at the Center for Biomedicine of the Hull York Medical School, describes that Vicks VapoRub active ingredients specifically modulate a diversity of TRP receptors:

  • Menthol appears as TRPM8 agonist and also affects TRPA1
  • Camphor mainly impacts TRPA1 and TRPV1
  • Eucalyptus modulates TRPM8 as well as TRPA1.

Together, these findings greatly contribute to our understanding of Vicks VapoRub’s therapeutic value as the oldest cough and cold remedy worldwide.

After almost 130 years in the market, it not only reinforces Vicks VapoRub’s unique position in addressing the most common therapeutic needs offering the much-desired multi-symptom-relief that countless cold sufferers deserve, but also underpins its relevance within any cough and cold treatment regimen.

In this respect a recent study revealed that a majority of consumers decide to use VapoRub in addition to their regular cold treatments. 86% of consumers state, “Using Vicks VapoRub and my other cold treatment products together (at night) gave me better overall relief of my cold symptoms compared to only using one.”4

As VapoRub, when applied topically or inhaled, can act locally within the airways, its application not only enhances the subjective sensation of airflow but also possesses antitussive effects – thus acting directly on multiple cold symptoms. 5


Vicks VapoRub is a pharmaceutical preparation that is clinically proven to relieve congested airways.4 The success of Vicks VapoRub is based primarily on its unique composition.

Thanks to its unique formulation and rub form, it can be used together with most of the other cold & medicinal products as a complementary treatment.

“At Vicks, we believe that a cold has physical, emotional, and social impacts in our life. Vicks VapoRub elevates the treatment combining powerful symptom relief through proven actives with sensorial experiences and care for the loved ones.” – Frank Kroburi, Vicks Europe Brand Director


One of the most recognized brands around the world. Available in more than 71 countries and on 5 continents, Vicks has helped relieve cough, cold, and flu symptoms for generations. Headquartered in Cincinnati, OH, Vicks is owned and distributed by Procter & Gamble.

About P&G Health

P&G Health, the global healthcare division of P&G, competes in the largest and fastest growing personal care and oral care categories and markets to drive consumer-centric innovation.

The P&G global healthcare portfolio includes leading brands in cold with WICK® and Nasivin®, pregnancy with Femibion® and Clearblue®, dental and oral care with Oral-B®, blend-a-dent® and blend-a-med®, vitamin - and mineral products with Bion3® and Vigantol® / Vigantolvit® as well as pain relief with Kytta®.

About Procter & Gamble

P&G serves consumers around the world with one of the strongest portfolios of trusted, quality, leadership brands, including Always®, Ambi Pur®, Ariel®, Bounty®, Charmin®, Crest®, Dawn®, Downy®, Fairy®, Febreze®, Gain®, Gillette®, Head & Shoulders®, Lenor®, Olay®, Oral-B®, Pampers®, Pantene®, SK-II®, Tide®, Vicks®, and Whisper®. The P&G community includes operations in approximately 70 countries worldwide. Please visit https://www.pg.com for the latest news and information about P&G and its brands. For other P&G news, visit us at https://www.pg.com/news.


1 TRP = Transient Receptor Potential cation channels. Known as key players in cough and airway inflammation.

2 Smith A, Matthews O. Drugs Context. 2022; 11:2022-5-6

3 Stinson RJ, Morice AH, Sadofsky LR. Modulation of transient receptor potential (TRP) channels by plant derived substances used in over-the-counter cough and cold remedies. Respir Res. 2023 Feb 8;24(1):45.

4 Whiteford D, Rios J, Hengehold D, Aspley S. (2023) Multi-Symptom Relief for Cough & Cold: Benefits of Adding Vicks VapoRub to the Treatment Regimen. Open Journal of Respiratory Diseases, 13, 9-27.

5 Vicks VapoRub SmPC. For the relief of nasal catarrh (inflammation of mucous membranes in the nose and throat), congestion (a blocked nose),sore throat and coughs due to colds. Vicks VapoRub contains four active ingredients: Camphor, Turpentine oil, Levomenthol and Eucalyptus oil. Always read the label.



For media inquiries, interviews, or further information, please contact Emma Oddie at Emma.Oddie@pgone.co.uk


For media inquiries, interviews, or further information, please contact Emma Oddie at Emma.Oddie@pgone.co.uk