What is Tiger Balm? Ingredients, Benefits, and Side Effects
Tiger balm is a topical medication that is available over the counter. It is available in various formats and formulas. You can get the tiger balm:
It is available in the form of:
- Rubs – classic, white and soft
- Pain Patch
- Pain Plaster – warm and cool
As per the official company website, the medication can provide relief form a wide range of symptoms, including:
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Back pain
- Joint pain
- Muscle aches and strains
- Cold and nasal blockage
The balm can also be applied to insect bites to get rid of the itchy feeling and can also be used to treat burns. However, it is useful for headaches, muscle, joint pain relief, and or as a nasal decongestant.
The ingredients in each type of tiger balm vary. However, the three common parts found in white, soft, and red versions are:
- Camphor Oil
- Menthol Oil
- Clove Oil
The red version additionally contains Cajuput Oil, Dementholised mint oil, Cassia Oil, Paraffin, and Petrolatum.
The white version contains Eucalyptus oil, and the soft version contains Cajuput Oil and Paraffin and petrolatum as additional ingredients.
Camphor oil comes from the extract camphor tree bark. It can treat various skin conditions and burns, relieve pain, and even improve respiratory function.
Menthol or peppermint oil has a variety of benefits. It can be used in the form of oil and added to topical treatments or ingested in dietary supplements.
Clove oil is a staple ingredient in pain relief balms and ointments. It is useful as a treatment for muscle pain. Research (3) investigating the analgesic properties of clove extract found it to be quite helpful.
Eucalyptus oil comes from the extract of eucalyptus tree bark. It is widely known for its usefulness as a cough soother, wound disinfectant, and nasal decongestant. It also has potent anti-inflammatory properties and eases joint pain.
Cajuput Oil comes from the leaves of the cajuput tree via steam distillation. It is useful for the treatment of colds, congestions, infections, and aches.
Dementholised Mint Oil
Dementholised mint oil is a by-product of the production of menthol crystals. Various beauty, cosmetics, and health products include dementholised mint oil. It has a cooling effect on the skin and induces feelings of relaxation in the body.
Cassia oil is derived from the distillation of the bark from Cassia trees. It is known to be useful for improving circulation, reducing anxiety and depression, relieving arthritis symptoms, and is a natural muscle pain reliever.
Tiger balm also contains paraffin, which is known for its benefits for the skin. It leaves the skin feeling soft and removes all dead cells.
Petrolatum or petroleum jelly is known to moisturize the skin and leave it feeling soft. It can also treat minor scrapes and burns. Research (9) found it to be an effective ointment in postoperative wound care by helping relieve the itchy feeling from a healing wound.
Warnings and Precautions
- Do not apply tiger balm on - irritated skin, inner ears, mouth, genitals or rectum
- Do not apply one hour before or after warm showers
- Keep away from the reach of children – Tiger balm is not safe to swallow. If ingested rinse the mouth thoroughly and consult a physician
- For children, use Tiger Balms Junior
- Run a Patch test before use – some of the ingredients in the balm can irritate the skin. Make sure you wash and clean your skin before you apply a small amount and rub it in. Leave it on for 15 minutes, if irritation occurs, wash the area soap and rinse with water. Apply a moisturizer and consult a doctor if irritation persists.