I just bought a bottle of Listerine mouth wash. No, not to gargle, but to treat my tooth-brushes. I just read an article that says it will kill millions and millions of microbes that have taken residence there in the brush of the tool I use in my mouth every day. Then I read more about it.. there are so many uses for Listerine.
Easing the itch of Shingles, psoriasis, general itching.. and dandruff if rubbed on the affected areas.
The combination of thymol, eucalyptol, methylsalicylate and menthol in an alcohol base may have antifungal activity.That could explain why others report that original formula Listerine works against nail fungus, athlete's foot, jock itch and "trucker's bottom" (whatever that is).
"Get rid of unsightly toenail fungus by soaking your toes in Listerine mouthwash" says another article. The powerful antiseptic leaves your toenailslooking healthy again.
According to Joey Green's Wacky Uses website, these are some more things it's good for..
* Cure Acne. Use a cotton ball to dab Listerine on blemishes.
*Fertilize a lawn. Jerry Baker, author of The Impatient Gardener, suggests mixing one cup Listerine, one cup Epsom salts, one cup liquid soap, and one cup ammonia in a one-quart jar, filling the rest of the jar with beer. Spray this on up to 2,500 square feet of lawn with a hose-attached sprayer in May and again in late June.
*Use as a deodorant. Listerine helps kill the bacteria that cause perspiration odor. Dab it under your arms. (not sure I'd try that one)
*Eliminate mildew odors. Wipe with full-strength Listerine.
*Disinfect wounds. Listerine works as an astringent when poured on a laceration or abrasion.
*Disinfect a washing machine at a laundromat. To avoid getting germs from another family, wipe off the surface of the machine with Listerine and add one-half cup Listerine to the wash cycle to disinfect the machine.
And this from the Peoples Pharmacy:
More than 100 years ago Listerine was developed as an antiseptic. At first, surgeons used it in the operating room, but before long it became a household brand.
The Lambert Pharmaceutical Company marketed Listerine aggressively to treat dandruff as well as bad breath.
One 1927 ad shows fingers pointing at the shoulders of a man wearing a dark suit. The copy reads, "Guilty! End dandruff. It offends all,this disgusting and common condition. Consequently, it affects your chances in love, society and business."
Another ad of the same era reads, "Unwelcome! Dandruff is avoidable. What do all your graces and charms amount to if you have dandruff? Notmuch. Today, dandruff is an unpardonable social offense.You simply douse Listerine, the safe antiseptic, on your scalp full strength and massage thoroughly."
These amusing ads have disappeared, in part because such a hard sell is no more socially acceptable than dandruff itself. In addition, the makers of Listerine no longer promote their product against dandruff.
This has not deterred readers of our column from touting the benefits of Listerine against dandruff.
One reader confessed: "Back in the mid 1900s when Listerine used to be advertised to combat bad breath, it was also recommended to cure dandruff. I began massaging it into my scalp for 30 seconds every morning, and I still do. I have never had dandruff since then."
Another reader reminisced: "I remember that years ago, the Listerine bottle included instructions for use in treating dandruff. I've used straight Listerine many times with 100 percent success within two to three days."
We have also heard from animal lovers. One man said the vet hadrecommended a mixture of Listerine and mineral oil for hot spots in his dog's fur. And a horsewoman in Washington said: "A newly purchased filly had rubbed her mane and tail off. My farrier recommended the Listerine treatment-1/3 Listerine (original), 1/3 baby oil and 1/3water. Put in a spray bottle, shake well and spray it on. Within a few months, her mane and tail were growing out nicely."
Other readers have exercised their ingenuity. Some have used Listerine as a lice preventive: "We were in the Army and moved a lot,but my kids never got lice. Teachers asked me why, since all the otherchildren did. I put Listerine on their hair and scalp a week before school started. Be careful to keep it out of eyes."
Others maintain that Listerine, with its combination of essential oils, works to discourage toenail fungus: "I applied Listerine to my toenail fungus twice a day. It was very bad, and now, after four months, it is 98 percent gone."
Perhaps the most unusual use of Listerine is to calm the pain that follows shingles: "My aunt has had shingles and constant pain for ten years. Nothing her dermatologist or the pain management specialist prescribed has worked, but the first night she tried Listerine on her skin, she was pain-free for the first time in years. She is still pain-free after 6 days."
Listerine has not been approved by the FDA for any of these novel uses. Nevertheless, many readers still value it as an inexpensive old-fashioned remedy.
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist. Teresa Graedon holds a doctorate in medical anthropology and is a nutrition expert. Their syndicated radio-show can be heard on public radio. In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of this newspaper or e-mail them via their Web site: www.PeoplesPharmacy.com. © 2004 King Features Syndicate, Inc.