What is Tiger Balm? It might seem like a substance to treat sore muscles of the big cats. In fact, this is a brand name of a particular ointment that’s been on the market for over a century. It’s used for treating pain and discomfort in muscles. Several products are available including the classic version and other options like ointments and cool packs. If you’re looking for a well-established manufacturer of muscle ointments then this is one of the best options. It’s rare for companies to last for over a century. The company values hard work and invests heavily in research & development.
Like other topical healthcare products, there’s a chance that there might be some side-effects. That’s also the case with Tiger Balm. Yes, it’s technically legal in the USA and is available in lots of health stores and drug stores. On the other hand, it’s not FDA-approved. It can include some risks/side-effects like itchiness and irritation. This doesn’t mean there’s a 100% chance you’ll experience these side-effects. That said, you should know about them and how safe/risky this product is. It’s especially important if you have skin conditions like allergies that could be triggered by certain products/ingredients. Know the facts!
What Is Tiger Balm?
This is a name brand of muscle ointments/liniments on the market. The manufacturer claims the product cause muscle relaxation, pain reduction, and faster healing. This product was launched over 100 years ago and the company now offers a wide range of products. These include liniments, ointments, and cold packs.
The product was allegedly developed by a Chinese herbalist in the 1870s. He moved the company to Singapore where the products are now made. The company offers a wide range of products to treat various health conditions.
Let’s get to the nitty of the main ingredients. They include:
- Cajuput oil
- Clove bud oil
- Mint oil
The ingredients combine to form heat and boost blood flow. The original product is used to treat sore muscles, while others are designed for other body parts like joints. It also produces a strong and unique smell that’s become connected to the brand.
Tiger Balm is marketed as a natural/topical pain-reliever. For long-term use, it’s generally safer than over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription painkillers. That’s greatly due to synthetic chemicals and especially prescription meds.
This product is available in many drug stores and health stores in several countries. You can buy it online at the company’s website and online retailers like Amazon.
When you shop for the company’s muscle ointments/liniments you might see different formulas referred to as “white” and “red.” What’s it all about? Both of these products have menthol. The White and Red each have a second key ingredient that’s different.
You can also find some formulas that actually have all three ingredients. Which one is right for you? It depends on the particular health issues you want to treat.
Methyl salicylate (White) is produced from mint extracts. They help to reduce muscle/joint pain. Then there’s camphor (Red) that helps to warm/cool the skin and boost blood circulation.
Tiger Balm Uses and Benefits
Here are some of the various possible uses and benefits of this product:
1. Muscle Ache and Pain
Menthol seems to provide relief for these conditions.
2. Joint Pain
It’s important to note that the balm treats joint pain that’s non-arthritic. When it’s related to activities like exercise you can get relief from ingredients like camphor and menthol. If your joint pain is from arthritis then you should consider other options your doctor can recommend.
3. Bad Blood Circulation
If your blood isn’t flowing properly around the body then camphor might help. This is a very important function of the body since blood circulation helps deliver nutrients and oxygen to the different body parts.
4. Common Cold
These are caused by viruses. Unfortunately, there’s no cure yet for the common cold. However, the best you can do is to relieve the various symptoms that can include sneezing, congestion, and fevers. The menthol in this balm might help to deal with the symptoms.
5. Shoulder and Neck Pain
Menthol gel that’s added to these areas might help to provide pain relief in these areas. Factors that might affect the results include the location and type of pain you’re experiencing.
If you have digestion problems that cause this you might get relief from menthol/camphor. It’s important to note researchers are still studying the effects of adding these ingredients on your stomach although there’s some evidence it might work.
7. Back Pain
The active ingredients menthol and camphor might help to deal with this kind of pain. Studies show that 80% of adults experience back pain at least once during their lifetime so this type of body pain is quite common.
This is a common health condition that’s still tough to deal with. Menthol might help to relieve headaches. The product’s eucalyptus might also help to produce pain-relief.
Tiger Balm Risks
You should also be aware of some of the main side-effects/risks that are possible if you use this product. You might experience symptoms like itchiness, redness, irritation, and stinging/burning. Plus, you might experience breathing issues when you apply the balm to your chest to treat congestion.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use this product. Make sure to “patch test” the product before you apply it to a large area of the body.
Here’s how you do it. First, apply some balm to the inside region of your elbow. Then wait a few days to observe if you have a negative reaction. If that doesn’t happen then it’s safe to use the product on various other parts of the body.
Make sure to run this test because it’s better to find out you have an allergic reaction to the balm on a small area of the body. What are the signs of allergic reactions? Look for swelling, redness, and hives. These are some of the main ones.
One red flag you should watch out for is a major allergic reaction that can cause problems like facial swelling and breathing problems. If you experience these symptoms then make sure to get medical care at a hospital/medical center ASAP.
What to Avoid
Here are some actions you should never take when using this balm:
- Don’t apply this product to skin that’s chapped, irritated, or sunburned
- Don’t’ cover the application area with cold packs, heat pads, or bandages
- Don’t put this product ton your mouth or eyes
- Don’t take this product with products that have similar ingredients
- Don’t apply this product on the interior of your ears
- Don’t use this product without checking for drug interactions
- Don’t use this product orally
Make sure to inform your doctor of any OTC/prescription meds and herbal supplements you’re taking before you start using tiger balm.