Snake oil? Olbas oil.

A few people have offered recovery suggestions since I was collected by a car yesterday morning. Most of it is the usual stuff you’d expect; ice, swimming, general movement exercises, Panadol.

But one of the more curious things I’ve been told is to use something I’ve never come across before called Olbas Oil. A quick Google reveals it’s a combination of essential oils that’s actually been used in the Pro peloton for some time now. Many soigneurs swear by the stuff. You can shove it up your nose to clear your airways and combat colds and allergies (see vid below), or you can rub it into your sore parts like a balm and it acts like a local anaesthetic. I’m off to buy some today. Will report back.


2 thoughts on “Snake oil? Olbas oil.

  1. Well, in terms of opening airways, I found a few studies supporting its use in acute rhinitis associated with the common cold and a few others for allergic rhinitis. So it could have minor but positive effects for airway clearing if you’re inflamed or fighting an infection. Interestingly, though, I also turned up quite a few case studies of harm caused through accidental ingestion, and in one case, mistaking it for eyedrops and whacking a load into the eye (with nasty results). So it’s not without minor dangers.,5

    Most interestingly, though, and with the caveat that I’m still digesting the article, it’s mentioned in this article

    “Supplement use in sport: is there a potentially dangerous incongruence between rationale and practice?”

    Click to access 1745-6673-2-4.pdf

    Which points out, correctly, that there’s a lot of mumbo jumbo embraced by athletes. A lot. Reaching from not-very-harmful Breathe-right strips (which just don’t work) to potentially-very-harmful upper cervical chiropractic (which can and does result in cervical artery dissection with an accompanying high risk of stroke)

    I’d probably be a proponent of sticking to the sensible old “get some ice on it and have a bloody good rest” rather than reaching for the balms and nostrums. But it probably won’t actually hurt.

    Unless you put it in your eye. Or your tea.

    Heal well.

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