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Item: Zam-Buk Medicinal Ointment
Price: Around £6 over 10 years ago, roughly £4 for the tin and £2 postage
Bought from: Amazon
I first saw this miracle ointment when a girl I used to work with took me to visit her gran, sometime around 2002. She had been complaining of a spot that was hurting her under her skin and her gran brought out a really old tiny little green tin and told her to dab some "Zam-Buk" on it. She went on to tell me that she had been using the same tin "since the war" and that the whole family loved it. My friend was obviously used to seeing this tiny little tin come out and didn't question it at all and dabbed it straight on her spot, no questions asked. So why was I so keen to get a tin for myself....the next day her spot was gone! Now if you have ever had a spot that's sore under the skin you know those don't just vanish, but hers did before our eyes, so I was sold!
Design and packaging:
I had to do a fair bit of searching on the internet to find this and 10 years ago it wasn;t as easy to just pop a name in a search engine and get the exact thing you were looking for, but after a lot of looking I found it on Amazon. The tin I bought was actually silver rather than green (I can only assume that the design had changed since WW2!!) and has a label over the full top of it that reminds me of the designs you get on signs at Coney Island Pier. The label makes me feel like it is shouting "Roll up roll up look at the miracle cure". The label itself is cream and a military green. The words "Zam Buk" are largely written across the centre of the label. The wording around "Zam-Buk" tell you it is "The great herbal balm. Healing, soothing, antiseptic ointment. Unequalled as an embrocation". Now that's quite a claim and I think that it lives up to it. The tin is round and the lid lifts on and off with a little bit of a wiggle and seems to sucker on quite securely, similar to the way a Vaseline lip balm tin opens. But when I got this tin that was quite a new design so I was quite impressed to get a tiny metal tin of ointment. It is small enough to pop in your pocket so I can see why it would be a favourite of my friends Grampa and why he would have brought it home from being a soldier, as it doesn't take up much room and really does last a long time. I really like this little tin. It is sturdy and even though I have had it for over 10 years it has worn well, as has the label which has a slightly waxy feel which has protected the working from rubbing off or wearing away.
Smell, consistency and what has it been used for:
This ointment is green to look at but quite see through at the same time. It is the same thickness as Vaseline but the green colouring clearly sets it apart. The smell is very "medicinal" but not overpowering. Not as strong as the likes of Vix Vapo Rub and wont linger too long after use, making it obvious you have it on. When you rub this on your skin it will give off a slight green tinge so if using on your face either use it when you aren't going out or just use a very light layer. So what has it been used for in our house?:
Sunburn - It has been used on the tops of my shoulders a few years back when I got burnt on the shoulders, which is rare for me, but soon as it happened I reached for the Zam-Buk and rubbed some lightly on and the stinging had gone by the next day.
Skelfs/Splinters - If I or the OH get a skelf/splinter, soon as it has been pulled out we dab a spot of Zam-Buk over it and pop a plaster on to draw out anything left inside the wound.
Spots - This has been used so many times on a spot that either won't go away or that I have noticed pop up the day before a big event. Just rub a touch over the spot and leave for a few hours.
After tweezing and threading - I apply a little of this over my eye brows after I have had them tweezed or threaded to stop them being so red and inflamed.
Cuts and grazes - I've applied this over many cuts and grazes over the years in place of something like Germolene. It helps the area heal without becoming too wet or making the skin too soft.
Lips - My OH has used this on his lips when they got a little too much sun and wind and he said it made them feel much better but I like a thick gloss so this wouldn't satisfy my lip needs haha
I have use this at least once a fortnight since I got it and there is still around an eighth of the tin left. The ointment really does go a long way and will last you a long time. Great value for money, nice little tin and so handy for many uses.
When Kai was younger he used to get really dry, peely skin on the palms of his hands and they'd get really sore and irritated. My dr wanted to use steroid ointment when the cream he had already prescribed didn't help much but I was completely against this.
I'm a member of a well known parenting forum & made a post asking for suggestions, and someone replied that Zam Buk was a wonder cream and really helped clear up their babies skin condition. I was pleased to see that it didnt have any nasty ingredients in it which could irritate his skin further and most of the ingredients are natural. Because of this I was expecting it to be expensive but was surprised to find that it's only around £4 a tin on Amazon and I bought 2 tins, 1 for me and 1 for Kai.
I thankfully don't have dry skin but I do get a lot of cold sores and painful cracked lips during this time of year and thought this might help. The first thing that I loved about this product when my 2 tins of it arrived was the vintage style tins which are about the same size as a tin of Vaseline. The green colour isn't too my taste but the tins still look really cute!
I was not impressed by the green colour of the Vaseline-like product inside the tin, but this worked to my advantage when applying it onto Kai because he seemed to like the unusual colour. It stayed green even on his skin unless I rubbed it in really thoroughly, so if you put it on then go out with your skin on display where you've applied it you will get some odd looks!
The smell is so relaxing & reminds me of my gran, it's a soothing herbal fragrance and I love it. It is a strong smell but Kai didn't mind it, in fact I think he quite liked it and I have put a bit on some tissue next to his pillow a few times because it seems to help him sleep. About 2 weeks after applying it onto Kai's hands his hands weren't flaky anymore, and the dryness wasn't as bad. The sticky green slime on his palms transferred onto a lot of furniture and bedding before I managed to rub it all in but luckily it didn't stain.
As for my lips and cold sores it also helped. My lips healed quicker and felt softer and not at all dry. I was a bit hesitant to use it on them in case it left my lips green, but as long as I rubbed it in it didn't. I did get a taste of it a few times (not on purpose) and it doesn't taste nice at all but it's not meant to be eaten, so whatever. It didn't heal my cold sores but it stopped them from drying up and cracking, so it did help.
It seems that not many people I know have heard of Zam-buk and I guess that's probably because it's not as widely available these days as it once was.
Zam buk was first sold in UK chemists in 1903 and was being made in Leeds. The Zam buk company became a household name in the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa but over time it has been replaced by more modern products. The brand was revived by Rose & Co who say it is now their best selling item in their online shop.
*********So what's it for?*********
By now you might be wondering what you actually use the product for! Well, it can be used for bites, cuts, stings, bruises, itching, sore feet and many more things. Basically, if anything is dry, hurts, itches or stings then slap some of this on it! It moisturises, soothes and acts as an antiseptic .
It does seem to work well for all of the above uses, other than for bruises in which case it doesn't seem to make much difference at all.
*********Using Zam buk*********
When you open the tin to use the Zam buk the first thing that hits you is the smell. I don't find the smell unpleasant, it smells a little medical and a little herbal. This is probably appropriate as it's herbal and has medical uses!
Zam buck is a rich green colour, which makes it feel natural.
When you use the product the texture is a bit like Vaseline (which is probably due to their being petroleum in it) but more waxy.
The ingredients are listed as:
Petrolatum, Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus) Oil, Cera Alba, (Beeswax), Pinus Sylvestris (Pine) Oil, Camphor, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Oil, Limonene, Linalool, CI 75810, (Chlorophyll).
The camphor should not be ingested, so you should never use this product inside your mouth.
Zam buck comes in a little silver tin with green sides and a white and green label on the front of it that holds the name and basic information of the product. On the back is a label with ingredient information.
The tin is very much like the little Vaseline Lip Therapy tins and it holds the product nicely.
*********Price and availability*********
I originally came across this stuff in Boots and grabbed a tin because it was on sale and it sounded good. Boots no longer stock it however and the only place I can now find it is ebay or Rose & Co's website (http://www.rose-apothecary.co.uk/acatal​og/shop)
There are a few copies of Zam buk from Singapore on ebay which start from about £3 for an 8g tin. I've not bought this one before.
The proper stuff will set you back around £5 on ebay for a 20g tin.
Rose & Co sell Zam buck for £4 a tin and postage on one tin is £1.58. You do get free postage within the UK for orders over £40.
The price is a little high, but a tin of this lasts ages so it is only an occasional purchase.
*********Would I recommend this product?*********
I would recommend this as it is a nice handy little tin to keep around with a few different uses
I love this product. Not only is it great for scrapes and cuts and insect bites as previous reviewers have stated but I find it invaluable for cold sores. As soon as I feel the tingle of one, I slap on plenty of Zam-Buk and it won't even come up. Also good on spots and ingrown hairs. I carry my tin everywhere!
I LOVE ZAM-BUC.....
I FIRST USED ZAM-BUK AS A CHILD, MY GRANDPARENTS AND PARENTS USE
IT AS A VALUABLE FIRST AID ESSENTIAL. I TOOK SOME WITH ME WHEN MOVING TO MALAYSIA FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS, WHEN MY TIN RAN OUT I DID USE TIGER BALM WHICH DID HAVE SIMILAR USAGE. BACK IN ENGLAND I AM AN AVID HIGH RIDGE WALKER I ALWAYS KEEP A TIN IN MY RUCKSAC AND FIND IT INVALUABLE AFTER LONG DAYS WALKING AND HARD CLIMB.
HOWEVER FOR ME THE PINNACLE OF IT MERIT LIES IN, WHEN I HAD A GANGLION AND BUNION OP IN AUG THIS YEAR (I KNOW ITS TERRABLY GLAM ISN`T IT!!) SIX WEEKS POST OP AND IN LOTS OF DISCOMFORT AND REGRETING THE SURGERY, I THOUGHT OF ZAM-BUC, THE RECOVERY WAS AMAZING I CANNOT STRESS IT ENOUGH, THE INFLAMMATION DISAPPEARED, I WAS ABLE TO WEAR DECENT FOOTWEAR. THANK YOU ZAM-BUC, LONG MAY YOU REIGN!!!
Brilliant stuff. The St John's first aiders who attend sports matches were, in my childrhood, generally referred to as the Zam Buks. Along with Rawliegh's products (which were sold door to door, not in shops) Zam Buk was a bathroom cabinet staple. Closely followed by Rexona ointment, also green, with similar uses. Good for minor burns, sunburn, grazes. A good slathering of the ointment, covered with a big plaster, will draw out little bits of gravel overnight - the kind your knees, elbows and wrists get from a netball court!These days I keep a tin of Zam Buk in my coat pocket - best thing out for wind-chapped lips.
Zam-Buk originated in England in the early 1900s. Old newspaper advertisements displayed on-line list it as "The English Remedy" or "The Great British Cure". It was manufactured at the Zam-Buk Laboratories, Leeds, by CE Fulford, one of the two men that invented it.
The ointment's fame spread abroad, and CE Fulford set up laboratories in several major countries, including Australia. By 1916, the ointment was available on four continents.
Zam-Buk's most successful reign has been in South Africa, where it has remained consistently popular for over a century. It has become very much a part of the South African way of life.
The ointment has become very associated with South Africa, and it has surprised some scholars of the subject to discover its English origins. In more recent years, its popularity has been revived in England and increasingly this tried and trusted medication of our grandparents and great-grandparents can be found in our own medicine cabinets again.
Still a Favorite! this product, along with Rawleighs was staple in my parent's medicine cabinet. Still available here in New Zealand in the supermarket, its certainly got a soothing, magic quality for healing minor abrasions.Awesome, and I hope they never stop making it!
Last night I dropping in on my parents on my way home from work as I hadn't seen them for a couple of weeks. HWen I got there, my mum was having a bit of a tidy of their medical drawer. We chatted as she was doing this, and then something caught my eye, a rather old and battered tin about 2 inches across and mainly green. It was a very old tin of Zam Buk, It must have been 15 years or so old. I had to pick it up and have a smell of it.
I took off the lid and took a breath, the slightly mentholy antisepticy scent filled my nostrils and in an instant transported me back to my childhood.
Flashing in front of my eyes were many many scenes from over the years. Times when I'd fallen over as a child, times I'd grazed my knee in the playground, all sorts of minor cuts, and abrasions on my skins, and all of them being treated with Zam Buk.
Other treatments for cuts grazes, such as savlon and TCP, whilst bringing memories flooding back, are always tainted with the memory of the horrid smell and the awful stinging and burning sensation as they were applied to the skin with cotton wool (often by a dinner lady after I had taken a tumble in the playground). Even as I type this and think about them, the smell haunts me in a most unpleasant way. This is not the case with Zam Buk. Despite being inextricably linked with various memories of injuries and pain, I remember it very fondly! I remember a small amount of the green viscous gel being gently applied to scraped knees and elbows, I remember a nice cool, soothing sensation as it was applied, I remember the lovely scent, not harsh like TCP or savlon, just gently menthol in such a nice way. Somehow it was a pleasure to be treated with the Zam Buk! This is why it holds a very special place in my heart!
Since I have been with my girlfriend, we have often amused each other with tales of playground injuries and childhood ouchies. The majority of my stories ended with me being treated with this miracle treatment called Zam Buk. My girlfriend had never heard of it before, and naturally when I told her how it was so amazing that it could heal even the worst cut or graze in mere moments, she was somewhat sceptical. Once I had finished embellishing my stories of its magical powers, I confessed that actually it couldn't heal a missing limb etc but I still insisted that it was quite an amazing treatment....she was rather reluctant to believe me.
As luck would have it (though not for my girlfriend...) whilst staying over at my parents house on one occasion she grazed her arm. It was quite a shallow graze but bad enough to need cleaning and dressing. I insisted on applying some Zam Buk to prove to her how well it works. She agreed to try it and so I applied a layer of it and covered the graxe with a plaster.
The next morning she removed the dressing, and was really amazed at how much it had healed. With my hand on my heart I can say that she was astounded with it. While the graze was still obvious in the deepest areas, it was looking so so much better, and in some places was completely healed. She was amazed by this, and commented that it was looking as healed as she would have expected it to be after a few days certainly not merely overnight!!!
I have to admit that I don't have any Zam Buk in my medical box as I did not know it was still available! In fact it was only because I saw it yesterday at my Mum's house (and as I said that tin must have been 15 years old) that I even searched for it today, so I was very surprised that it listed, but as it seems it can still be bought I shall be getting some as soon as possible...especially as we have my girlfriends nieces and Nephews coming to stay soon... I feel some magical treatment for grazes might well be very useful indeed!!!
Once I have purchased this miracle cure I shall update this review with more details about how the current prduct is and how well it works these days.
Zambuc is a little bit of a miracle in a tin.
Years ago so my mother tells me it was widely availible in shops here and when she heard they were going to stop making it she stockpiled up loads of tins full. These tins must be almost 30 years old now because my whole life ive remembered seeing them around the house. These old metal tins are so hard so open and getting very rusty but the ointment inside works a treat after all this time.
When I told my mother id found them availible online she was very pleased as she thought it wasnt made anymore. Ive found two sites which sell it in the UK, they are www.rose-apothecary.co.uk and www.naturallyfabulous.co.uk who both sell the 20g tin for 3.75-3.99. A bit of a difference from my old tin that says 59p! They also sell a herbal salt bath for 2.50.
It appears the formulation is still the same. The oils that it contains are eucalyptus, camphor, thyme, beeswax and colophony (the resin from conifers).It is dark green in colour and has a strong scent, kind of hard to describe but a mixture of vicks balm and trees. Personally i dont find it to be strong enough though to clear my nose
It can be used for bruises, sprains, insect bites, cuts and sores. On my old tin it says it is also useful for sore aching feet and to rub into them after bathing.
What I have used it for over the years is for, when I bite my nails (i know terrible habit) sometimes I end up biting too much off and it is sooooo painful or sometimes I can cut my toenails wrong and they will grow inwards and become so painful. If you smother the nail with zambuc the pain almost instantly is gone! I put it on at bedtime and the next morning the nail has healed significantly.
It is a shame it is nearly 4 pounds a tin now, but its going to last you a long time, many not 30 years like the ones in my house though :)
Zam-Buk is a soothing balm from South Africa although it is now sold all over the world. It is made to treat minor wounds, burns, scalds, chapped hands, insect bites and muscular pains. Other uses include the treatment of chilblains and bruising.
It is made by a company called Rose & Co and is recommended by them for a whole multitude of first aid uses. The company states that it doesn't make this product under any other name for any other company. So, if it's not made by Rose & Co, it's not the real thing.
I bought mine from:
It cost £3.99 and I bought it along with some other products from the same range including Zam-Buk herbal bath. A friend had suggested that these products were great for sensitive skin and aching muscles.
I often get muscle and joint pain in my fingers and hands and Zam-Buk ointment eases this problem. (The bath sachets are brilliant).
This product is properly tested and guaranteed for safety. It is an age old recipe and contains the following ingredients:
Petrolatum, colophinium , eucalyptus oil, camphor, pure golden beeswax, thyme oil, and chlorophyll.
The smell of this is like old fashioned embrocating. The camphor and eucalyptus oil are quite strong and good for clearing the head if you have a cold. Don't put it under your nose like you might do with something like Vick, though, it will sting like ****
The chlorophyll is the green colouring from plants that gives this product its distinctive look.
I also took this on holiday and used it on mosquito bites. It works as long as you haven't scratched the top off the bite first. If you have it stings!
This is a very soothing and versatile product to keep with your first aid materials.
Zam Buk is an ointment that treats all kinds of ailments such as minor wounds, burns, scalds, itchy and chapped hands, insect bites and muscular aches and pains.
The origins of Zam Buk can be traced back to 1903. It first appeared on Rugby and Football fields in Australia and New Zealand. When a player would get injured first aid officers would race across the field to tend the injured player, they would quickly apply the zam buk to the injured area. Zam Buk acted as an antiseptic thus cleansing the wound and eliminating the chances of the wound becoming infected. Before antibiotics if a player would cut or graze his knee it could become infected to such an extent that the player could even die.
Although it is to begin with a South African product, there is a town in South Africa called Zambuk, the product made its journey from Australia to Great Britain when a Boer War veteran took the balm home. He referred to the balm as a secret ointment that could relieve or cure all sorts of ailments. Soon St Johns ambulance men began carrying zam buk in their kit bags to treat players on the fields also. With its growing popularity and effectivness zam buk became widely available on chemist shelves in countries such as Canada, New Zealand, England and Australia.
This was a product that had become recognised for succesfully killing germs that had entered the skin. In time people realised that it was also great for aches and sprains a small amount of this rubbed into the skin could work wonders.
Zam Buk is widely used all over the world. People use this, as well as myself, for muscle soreness, sprains, small grazes, cuts etc. I use it on my kids also, they are always bumping themselves and coming out in bruises, I just apply a little bit of zam buk onto the area and the bruising goes down as well as giving the kids a soothing effect on the skin. I sometimes also use it as a lip balm if my lips are really dry or sore. Applying it to the forehead when I have a headache also seems to help.
Zam Buk has a distinct fragrance of eucalyptus and camphor but I would not say it was overpowering in any way. It is quite a refreshing fragrance. It comes in small tins, like in the pic provided, of 7g, 16g and 60g. Includes oils of thyme and sassafras.
Made purely of vegetable ingredients and can be used on sensitive skins also. It is a transparent ointment and is non greasy or sticky. If you cut yourself and apply a bit of this then you would not need the use of plasters.
You can get zam buk from any African grocery shop and it is easily available by mail order over the internet. You can buy in single tubs or bulk. Prices range from £3.00 to £12.00 for the larger tubs.
Give Zam Buk a try it is truly a miracle product, I know my life is better for using it.
Thanks for reading!
Ingredients: Petrolatum, colophonium, eucalyptus globulus (eucalyptus oil), camphor (camphor oil), cera alba (beeswax), thymus vulgaris (thyme oil).