Tiger Balm.

Tiger Balm ad
This image is copyrighted by the creators. It came from Issue #5 of Lurzer's Film and T.V. Archives, a really cool magazine with all sorts of nifty ads from around the world.


Helen writes: "I found your page through a search and am looking for tiger balm recipes. I clicked on the one on your website and got a message that it's no longer available?? Help!"

I found a couple of websites which have what seem to be good directions for creating a homemade menthol rub. (Caveat: I have not tried them.) Hopefully, this will help.

Can't find the Balm in your area? Haw Par Healthcare has a listing of global Balm distributors on their webpage (well, OK, it's a listing of countries where it's sold - in theory, the Balm is OTC in just about every country, and so you should be able to find it at a chemist's shop, drugstore, health-food type store). Mary from the UK emailed and said, "Tiger Balm is sold in the UK at Boot's the Chemist, SuperDrug and some Supermarkets."

The Haw Par corporate page lists Tiger Balm Medicated Plaster as a product - "Tiger Medicated Plaster is a non woven material impregnated with Tiger Balm Formulation." After requesting more information about them on this page, Nancy wrote in and said, "Tiger Balm -- if anyone out there has NOT tried the plasters, you are denying the best of Tiger Balm!! Found them in Hong Kong three years ago and have hunted here -- until now. Unfortunately, they are the small plasters and not as much bank for the buck, but the still work a treat!!! I leave my plasters on my lower and upper back and the change is amazing. I can wear them in excess of 8 hours and they still have a modicum of punch left in them." Excellent suggestion Nancy!

Tiger Balm, the essence of the gods, is good for everything. Its ingredients are pretty much camphor and menthol. You can use it for a footrub, backrub, sore throat, stuffy nose, whatever. It cures what ails you.


From Daynah, in 2005: I was wondering... What's the difference between Tiger Balm and Dragon & Tiger Essential Balm? The lady I bought it from off-handedlycalled it Tiger Balm when she handed it to me, but it looks nothing like the pictures of TB that I see.

I poked around a little bit and it looks like the products are made of similar ingredients, but I would not hesitate to say that Haw Par has done a better job of innovating their product (medicated plasters, liquid Tiger Balm, etc.).

From Savannah, in 2001: Do you know anything about using Tiger Balm as a sexual enhancer?

Well, Savannah, I must say, the caution below about mucus membranes definitely applies to sexual enhancement. However, I am sure that there are other creative ways to employ the Balm in your pursuit of pleasure (as mentioned in a Testimonial below the warning!). Just don't blame me when it still burns the next day. :-)

From Bob, in 2002: y is it called tiger balm?!?!? it doesnt even hav to do with tigers. SHEESH!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, Bob, I am sure there are explanations for that. Marketing savvy is known world wide. It seems that someone's name got in on the marketing here:

"It was Aw Boon Haw who lent his name, meaning Tiger, to the remedy. As well as being an anglicised version of Haw's name, the tiger, synonymous in the East with strength and vitality, seemed the obvious association for such a pain reliever."

See The History of Tiger Balm for more information.


Incidences in which Tiger Balm helped me recover:

I wanna testify!

from alisha [March 2007]


from Gaby [Jan 2007]

I really like your Tiger Balm fanpage because I love that stuff! I prefer the red one because of the wonderful smell. I use Tiger Balm for almost everything. If I have stiff shoulders I rub it on and a few minutes later I feel better. I also use it when I have a stuffy nose,a cough or a slight headache. It's also helpful because of the soothing smell when I'm not able to sleep.

from Dick [October 2006]

We saw Jerry Rice on tv, advertizing Tiger Balm. I have lots of arthritis in my back, knees, elbows and hips. My wife bought some and I put it on these spots. Believe it or not, it really works. If you don't believe it, buy some and see for yourself.

from Patricia L. Carroll [Oct 2006]

My husband and I have used TB longer than I can remember, almost as long as the 37 yrs I've used Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap, another excellent product. My husband recenty ran across TB in a cream version in a tube called Tiger Balm Muscle Rub. This stuff is the very best for bad backs or over large areas because it spreads so easily. We didn't like the patches at all in comparison. Check it out and get "turned on to TB all over again!!!

from Maika [April 2006]

I'm equally as skeptical as I am curious. An old man from Colombia at my job told me to get Tiger Balm to relieve my lower back pains caused by sciatic nerve as well as 2 herniated discs in my upper vertabrae. I just bought it at my local drugstore and applied it to my right butt cheek (sciatic nerve hits hard there)...This cream quickly reversed my skepticism. After only 3 or 4 minutes I felt tremendous relief. I was using IcyHot until now. Forget about it....Tiger Balm rules. Thank you to whoever invented this stuff!

[Note: The following is probably the strangest comment I have ever received about Tiger Balm. My friends who work with facial care products always tell me to never put regular lotion near the eyes (eyelids, under the eye, what have you) - so the caveat here is USE COMMON SENSE. ]

from Karen [Feb 2006]

Warning Warning ... I was told by a collegue of mine that to realive severe sinus pain Tiger Balm was the answer. He swore by it - working in the middle east he noticed that the arabs used it above their brows in globs - so I tried it and what a rush! However I became addicted to the feeling, smell, you name it - it relaxed me and my headaches disappeared. One day, I decided that if it felt so good above the brow, it must be exceptional on the eyelid...well, much to my dismay (rubbing it from corner to corner on my eyelid the pain was unbearable - luckily, I only severly damaged one eye and the other is a bit swollen all the time. The danger here was that it burned down to the bone and now I have one I that is enlarged due to fat in the eye socket. I am monitored for glaucoma because with this comes increased pressure and was on steroids that helped but the side effects were extremely bad. I used the RED ... so please be extremely cautious when using this on or near your face...it is something I may hava to live with or have the eyelids scraped ... a little too late!!

from frog [Feb 2006]

twas turned to the tiger by a vietnamese gentleman who smoked heavily - he coughed and twas always congested. he would rub it at his nose and and stick in his mouth this wipes out cough sore throat and wheezing in minutes

Ricard LLaurado Jornet [Sept 2005]

Just a quick comment about TB. I found out it is really effective for instant relieve of toothache or gumaches of any kind. I read something online and tried it on and although it doesn't taste very nice, I have never tried anything more effective. Rub a little bit straight on the cavity or the affected gum until you get a dentist appointment. You will get instant relieve and a very interesting breath!!!

from rgganesh [June 2005]

I've utilised tiger balm and think it's brilliant.

from Gerri [April 2005]

More words of praise for Tiger Balm. I wouldn't be without it. I keep a jar at my bedside and it's always the first thing I pack when traveling. A migraine sufferer, I find it very soothing when in the throes of a headache. I recommend it to anyone who will listen.

from Kathy Bosch [May 2003]

On a bus tour of Europe back in '84 the tour guide overheard me complain of a horrendous headache. She handed me her Tiger Balm (red-extra strength) and told me to rub some on my temples and forehead. It made my headache disappear in minutes. I also use it to clear my sinus. Many of my friends are now hooked on it for headaches also.

from Fred Hermon [May 2003]

I was 12 years old in 1958. My mom, dad, sister and I were staying at the Shamrock Hotel. I loved visiting the Tiger Balm Gardens and riding the Star Ferry and taking a sampan out to the floating restaurant. Rubbing Tiger Balm on my chest and inhaling it I think was my very first sexual experience. I'm 55 years old now and have Tiger Balm in my medicine cabinet. And it still gets me hot..!!

from Nanda [May 2003]

i got a good cold my dad said brings me a pot of Tiger Balm he says put some on your nose and chest after a few mins my face was burning! if felt like tear gas but after a while my cold is gone i can breath through my nose this stuff is great but is sure is HOT

from Lynda [May 2003]

Well where can I start. I use Tiger Balm for everything, and I like some of your letters stated, have given a lot of it away, and have told a great many people of it. Some have not liked it but most have. I get a lot of cold sores,and I know it is not recommended but I put it on my cold sores, it seems to nip it in the bud...or if it is already blistered dries it up, stings for a bit but the outcome is not a high price to pay for a little less pain in the long run.

I find TB is great when I am worked up about something and cannot sleep I will rub generously on my chest and in no time I am off in lala land. Well I could go on but time does not permit.

from Tina Gardiner [May 2003]

I bought these for my Gran whilst in Malaysia a few years ago and she found they really helped with her Arthritis pains in her knees and shoulders. She now cannot live without them, so every year since I've been back to Malaysia and have bought as many as I could physically carry back with me. I would be really interested in finding a way of purchasing them via the Web, I've searched and searched but have so far had now success. I also managed to purchase some whilst on holiday in Dubai, but I've not seen them for sale in the UK.

from Lasse

The ONLY curative experience I have with Tiger balm is once, many years ago, when I was in remote Indonesia. I was drunk off my ass, sunburned to a crisp, trying desparately to fall asleep under an inadequate ceiling fan suspended above my palm frond thatched roof hut in 90 heat with 90% humidity. I couln't sleep for the life of me. So.....I covered myself in some soothing chilly mint Tiger Balm FROM HEAD TO TOE, and in a blissfully frozen tingling stupor I managed to doze off. My friend in his cot across the room from me (in a similar situation) failed to realize the Tiger balm benefit and instead suffered in an alcoholic insomniac stupor, with a burning olfactory sense.

from Andy Walker

I am a martial artist, and have trained in Shotokan Karate, Shorin Ryu and Jiu-Jitsu for over ten years. I was introduced to Tiger Balm early on by my friends in class (Tiger Balm has a HUGE following amongst martial artists). I use it for all pain and bruises associated with the martial arts. Though it says not to apply it to broken skin, I find it very helpful in instances where skin (esp. on the knuckles) is irritated. One of my friends (a beginner) spent nearly the entirety of his first few classes punching wrong and wore his knuckles bloody. I suggested Tiger Balm to him, and he has been a fan ever since. I use extra-strength Red...only the best.

from Vicky

As well as all the previously mentioned uses for Tiger Balm, I use the White for mosquito and other insect bites. What a relief it provides, better than any anti-histamine product! It itches for a few moments but than you can feel the poison being zapped away. I've also been to Tiger Gardens in Hong Kong and they are wonderful, but I missed the chance to go to the Gardens in Singapore. Never mind, next time.

from Donnell Carlisle

I have a bulging disc at the L5 - S1 area in my lower back which causes considerable pain down the entire sciatic nerve. My father suggested using the Tiger Balm pain patches. They give immense relief to even the most intolerable days. I have highly recommended this product to my friends. One added extra is the menthol and camphor helps to relieve my sinus problems at the same time.!

from jacqueline (who commented on the mailform that her most exciting place had been to the Tiger Balm Gardens in Hong Kong - got any pictures??)

Tiger Balm is indeed a life saviour. I am slightly asthmatic and get loads of chest infections, laryngitis, sore throats etc. Before I discovered TB getting to sleep when every breath was painful was a nightmare. Now I slather it on my chest and throat thickly (my husband does not find this at all attractive - can't think why not!) and I recover in 2-3 days instead of the usual seven or more. I recently paid a visit to the Tiger Balm Gardens in Hong Kong to pay my respects to the TB founder, Aw Boon Song. I lit a joss stick and thanked him for the wonderful invention. I also bought some TB and some TB Poon oil (like TB but stronger and oily, obviously). All praise to your TB site. I am spreading the good news whenever I can.

from Enigma:

Tiger Balm IS the best stuff in the world. I was turned onto the stuff ten years ago and have since then become a "tiger balm junkie." I use it for muscle aches,headaches, sinuses, inflammed joints and for warm hands and feet. I buy a lot of the stuff because I am always giving it away to the people that I've turned on to it. I hear that they have a non-staining x-tra strength,but I have never been able to locate any. Is this fact or fiction?

[I have seen liquid extra strength Tiger Balm before, and it claimed to be non-staining. Check with the manufacturer or your local "health foods" store (Whole Foods and Weaver Street Market carry it in the North Carolina/Triangle area).]

from mark cribb:

I am a Thai Boxer. I use Tiger Balm to rub out my calfs, quads, and hamstring before every workout. In doing this, I have noticed huge improvements in my ability to kick with good power for long periods of time without cramping up. I have also used Tiger Balm in response to some of those nasty calf cramps that attack me sometimes, simply rub the Tiger Balm in, and voila! Cramp is gone. I could go on and on about this stuff, I have used it in my martial arts training for over 5 years now, and I promote it every chance I get.

from h. stusnick:

more to the point: i was overjoyed to find a fellow tiger balm enthusiast and thought i might share my little tale of balmy bliss...

new york, 1986, i'm a freshman at nyu. my suitemate don (he's a junior) introduces us to "the way of the tiger" which involves getting really drunk ... and applying generous amounts of TB to one's own face. don was partial to the cheekbones. i was more of forehead/temples man, myself. once don went too far. he began to cry uncontrollably, but i think he was still smiling as we flushed his face with water.

new york, early 1987. during this period, a package of TB included a promotional message from Super Bowl hero, Joe Montana, which carried the tagline "Joe Montana goes for the balm." -- a double-entendre to make any ad exec tipsy from self-congratulation. well, long story short: me and my friend tony are uptown and who do we run into but Joe himself. of course, he's swamped with autograph hounds as soon as people realize who he is, but we manage to catch his eye as he makes his way down the street. Tony holds up his trusty jar of TB and i call out, "Hey Joe, go for the balm!" Sadly, neither Tony nor I detected a hint of recognition in his eyes, but still it was a brush with greatness...

Got something to share about Tiger Balm? Send it on to me, fellow enthusiasts, & I'll stick them up here.
It may take a while, but it'll get here... eventually.

Thanks for reading.

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