Sometimes describes as a South American medicinal Duct Tape, this amazing stuff has been manufactured in La Paz since 1938 and the product on sale today is little changed from the original product – if it isn’t broken don’t fix it.
Originally invented by a German Ernesto Schilling who migrated to Bolivia in 1920, the aim was to create something to alleviate the common cold (which of pretty common in the Andean Altiplano). Rub it onto the chest or a sore nose or use as a vaporised decongestant for relief from symptoms. And it worked and became an instant across Bolivia. And through that success, so it started being used for a host of other ailments and today its uses include calming rheumatic and neuralgic pain, relief from burns (both flame and sunburn), mosquito bites, cracked heels and bruises, knee pain, back pain, arthritis, pretty well anything. Even doctors will recommend it as Bolivians know it “heels everything”.
My personal experience was using it for mosquito bite relief. For a few weeks working in a wildlife rescue centre in the jungle mosquitos and sandflies were a nightmare, particularly bad as being a wildlife rescue centre you could not use mosquito repellant (dangerous for the animals in your care) so everyday one got “eaten alive”. But each evening apply Mentisan and within a few minutes all those bites were no longer causing any discomfort.
The container gives stated use for muscle aches, headaches, insect bites, hard skin, cracked lips, burns, etc.
The name derives from ‘menta’ (mint) and ‘sanar’ (to heal) and over 6 million units are sold each year. And the manufacturers claim to have never received any complaints about it failing to deliver the results it promises, though they have had complaints from people having problems opening the tin container.