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I have had a very heavy cold recently and nothing I used would shift the sinus aches, the coughing or the phlegm, yes delightful I know. I tried everything that you could think of and nothing was giving me long lasting effects, all I wanted was to get a good nights sleep (Night Nurse does nothing for me) and be able to breathe when I lied down rather than wake up finding it hard to breathe. Usually I would be covered in Vicks Vapour-rub and Olbas Oil but then I remembered that I had a tin of Badger Balm stored in my bathroom cabinet, a gift from a colleague of mine.
The Badger Balm Company is a family run company according to their website and it started back in 1995 from a family kitchen in New Hampshire in the USA. Bill Whyte the head of the family, whom by trade was a carpenter whilst on the side he was a keen herbalist had never been able to find a product to help heal his sore, cracked and dry skin on his hands. So he instead mixed up his own product using Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Beeswax, Castor Oil, Aloe Vera and Essential Oil of Sweet Birch and was so impressed with the results he formed the Badger Company. Like many companies today, The Badger Company is committed to being chemical-free and 100% natural also they also use at least 70% Certified Organic ingredients in all of their products as well as now being 100% Vegan. Naturally there is a lot more to be said about the company and it can all be found online.
With the Badger range you can a wide variety of products which range from the tinned balms which I now have plus products for babies, sun care, lip care, aromatherapy oils, body butters and soaps to name a few from their ever expanding range. They all incorporate somewhere upon the item a drawing of a Badger in one way or another and usually in a stance which relates to the product at hand and because they are relatively small in size and contain only 2oz of the balm itself, they are perfect for carrying around in your handbag.
This particular product is called Aromatic chest rub and depicted upon the tin is a badger, wrapped snug up with a red scarf, holding a hot cup of something. The tin within which the balm is found, is like all the others within this range in that it is made of a soft metal and can be dented very easily, however the lid is removed by simply twisting it in a clockwise position and inside there is the balm which looks very similar to Vaseline but it smells really strongly and familiar to Vicks. It hosts a wonderful list of ingredients which almost makes you feel better as you read them.
Starting with Eucalyptus Oil which within this product is used because it soothes inflammation and eases mucus, clearing the head from the stuffiness of colds, also helps with coughs, hay fever, muscular aches and pains and headaches. Next comes Lavender and again Lavender is an ingredient which in something like this has antiseptic properties helps with cold and flu symptoms not to mention its ability to promote relaxation and calmness. Peppermint follows and similarly to Eucalyptus oil it helps to soothe headaches and ease sinus and chest congestion. One ingredient I wasn't expecting to find was Tangerine and whilst you cannot smell this it has soothing abilities which promote relaxation. The final ingredient for me to mention is Marjoram and again it is beneficial for people who have colds, coughs, sinus problems and a headache because it helps to soothe them all. This is by no means all of the ingredients, the list seems endless and they are all listed on the website associated to this product should you feel the need to look them up and they are also listed on the bottom of the tin.
When it comes to using this balm, there are three different ways of using it. Firstly, you can use this as a relaxing chest rub and to do that you mimic the actions you would do with Vicks, simply need to run your finger along the top of the balm so that you see a small amount on your finger and then apply it directly to your chest and back and massage it into the skin gently; the balm absorbs itself straight into the skin and within a few seconds and as soon as it touches your skin, there is a cool sensation that is brought about by the Eucalyptus Oil and as you breathe is you can feel the effects of the ingredients as your symptoms begin to ease. The second way to use this product is to put 1/2 teaspoon in a humidifier or pot of hot water as a steam inhalant, again I have done this with Vicks on many occasions and find it to work for a good few hours. Finally, you can apply this product directly on the nose & lips for a more concentrated smell and again, as soon as you do this, you can certainly feel the benefit of the ingredients and using it in this way means the aroma is a lot stronger and for me, it made me eyes water, but there was an instant feeling of relief as the pressure around my nose and sinuses was lifted and although it wasn't a one application solutions, I was able to breathe easily for a good few hours before having to re-apply and for those few hours, life was sheer bliss.
The smell of this balm which to me is totally wonderful and I really do like it. It is slightly more potent than Vicks and Olbas Oil and for me because you can apply it directly to your nose and lips, it is often a much better way of relieving pressure instantly. This balm doesn't leave behind any residue or greasy marks, so you can infact not worry about stains being transferred onto your clothing. I find these balms to be really cost effective in that they cost between £3 and £6 depending upon where you purchase them from and in my own case each tin will last me around three to four depending on the usage. If you are looking to purchase any of these balms, I tend to get mine from my local Lloyds Pharmacy, but they are available online too.