My Introduction to Tiger Balm
I must confess, for years I have used a product recommended by my chiropractor, called Mineral Ice. Before that I used BenGay. Both of these products worked okay, and they were readily available at my local stores. Then one day I was at a friends house – this friend happened to suffer with arthritis. She had a small little jar of Tiger Balm on her coffee table, so I started asking her questions about it. Since Tiger Balm worked so well for her, I decided to give it a try. I have lower back pain, costochondritis (inflammation of the sternum) and the aches and pains from over exertion that many of us deal with. I also have a problem with pain in my lower legs from time to time. I found Tiger Balm in the Health Food section of my local grocery store.
So, What is Tiger Balm?
Tiger Balm is a salve-like product, with a reddish brown color. The active ingredient is Camphor (11%) and Menthol (10%). Other ingredients are: Cajuput Oil, Cassia Oil, Clove Oil, and Dementholised Mint Oil in a Paraffin Base. It comes in a six sided glass container, and the net weight is 0.63 ounces. It has a red label, and the lid is gold with a picture of a tiger in the center. It is a product of Singapore.
This product comes in three strengths. Ultra, regular and extra strength. The version I am reviewing, in the red container, is extra strength, and it comes in the 0.14 oz. and 0.63 oz. sizes. The companies mantra is Tiger Balm works where it hurts. It has been used for nearly 100 years and the product is sold in more than 70 countries. In fact, over 20 million jars of Tiger Balm are sold annually.
As Tiger Balm heats up the skin, it helps increase blood flow to the sore areas, causing them to heal faster. It claims to help remove lactic acid, which can be one of the causes of sore muscles. The Camphor and Menthol in Tiger Balm are analgesics, which help numb pain.
What Does it Smell Like?
You won’t smell like a medicine cabinet with Tiger Balm, but you can definately smell the menthol and clove oil. I think it has a very pleasant smell. It even opens up your sinuses if you have a cold! (It’s always nice to get that side benefit you were not expecting!)
Directions for Use
The label says that Tiger Balm can be used for temporary relief of pain from arthritis, backache and muscle soreness. When I rub it into my skin, I feel the heat immediately! You can use it three to four times daily, but for children under two you should consult a Dr. first. I usually apply it before bed and it really helps me feel better by the morning! When my legs ache, it really does give me relief long enough to allow me to get to sleep.
Be Prepared, It Gets Hot!
The first time I used Tiger Balm I think I used a little too much, and boy did it get hot! I ended up trying to wash some of it off, but adding water to my skin actually made it seem worse! Now I use just a little bit, and when you use it this way, the container will last you a long time! It does give me temporary relief from sore muscles and lower back ache. The product warns not to put any kind of bandage or cloth over it, because that makes it even hotter and can irritate the skin.
This may stain clothing. It is also available in Tiger Balm White Regular Strength, (which will not stain clothing), but I have never seen this variety in stores.
Avoid contact with eyes, do not apply to wounds or damaged skin and do not bandage tightly. Keep out of reach of children. In case of ingestion, contact a poison control center or physical immediately.
I can tell you that this product does work well. The ingredients penetrate the skin and heat up the skin almost immediately – and that means quicker relief from soreness and pain. I have a harder time spreading the salve around on my skin, a product like Bengay definitely spreads much easier, but Tiger Balm simply works the best for me, so I make the best of it.
The odor is not offensive, and the pain relief lasts for several hours. I found this in the natural foods section of my local grocery store, and it cost less than $4.00. That is very inexpensive, especially since the salve lasts for months. I give Tiger Balm two thumbs up.