Tiger Balm was developed some time during the 1870s in Rangoon, Burma (Myanmar), by herbalist Aw Chu Kin. According to the story his father had sent him to Rangoon in the 1860s to help in his uncle’s herbal shop. After a while, Aw Chu Kin eventually set up a family business by himself and called it Eng Aun Tong what means “Hall of Everlasting Peace”. When he died in 1908 he asked his sons Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par to perfect the product that he left behind. Around 1920 the sons had turned it into a successful business empire in Myanmar with Tiger Balm being its most successful product.
The name is a reference to Aw Boon Haw whose name means “Big Tiger” and the product itself has been developed for external pain relief. Tiger Balm is available in several varieties, with the most famous ones being the “cold” Tiger Balm White (recommended for use with headaches) and the “hot” Tiger Balm Red (for muscle ache). More varieties are being produced though.
What Is The Difference Of Tiger Balm Red Vs White, Soft, And Oil?
The Tiger Balm, a cure for grandmothers?
The Balm is an organic remedy invented to calm various daily ailments such as rhinitis, fever, cough, stiffness, tendinitis, and many others. It is a product for external use only that is directly anointed on the skin.
It is world-famous, and it comes down to the originality of its ingredients including camphor, menthol, clove oil, and cajuput oil. Because of the sensation that it gives which rises from hot and cold, due to the warming presence of camphor and clove while menthol and cajeput gives a feeling of coolness.
A grandmother's recipe, as some people like to say, with a hint of humor, even irony, but a recipe that has gone through time and still continues to impose itself to be very effective.
The Ointment is mainly found in two variants: the red version, containing cinnamon essential oil (cassia) giving it its red color, and the white/soft version
However, for both versions, there are three main ingredients in common, namely:
1. Camphor obtained by extraction from the camphor tree (scientific name: Cinnamomum camphora), which is for the Chinese the tree symbol of life given its longevity. The essential oil of ravintsara obtained from its leaves and young branches has disinfectant, immunostimulant and adaptogenic properties. It is on average 25% of the texture of the topical.
2. Menthol is derived from the essential oil of peppermint. It is appreciated for the feeling of freshness. It releases and is reinforced by a decongestant action. It also has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. On average, menthol makes up about 10% of this ointment.
3. The clove essential oil is derived from the clove tree (scientific name: Syzygium aromaticum) tree found in Indonesia and is very famous for a long time for the therapeutic and culinary qualities of its flower buds. This oil contains also antiseptic properties. It makes up about 1.5% of the white balm and 5% of the red balm.
The Red Tiger Balm:
Compared to white ointment, the Red version has three additional ingredients:
Mint essential oil, contains between 8 and 10%, has local analgesic and anesthetic properties and promotes ingestion thanks to its draining and anticonvulsant effects.
The essential oil of cajuput contains between 6 and 8%, is extracted from the aromatic tree originating from India, the cousin of the tea tree whose name means "white tree". The oil has extraordinary antiseptic, expectorant, and protective skin virtues.
Cinnamon essential oil from China (scientific name: Cinnamomum aromaticum) has a composition rate of about 5%, is obtained by extraction from the native tree in China. It provides a rich aromatic bark color - the cinnamon widely used for cooking/baking. It is known for its analeptic and purifying properties; indeed, it is bactericide, antiviral and parasiticidal and heals contaminations of all kinds.
The rest of the product, around 30% is made of the paraffin substance which is extracted from oil. This is why the Tiger Balm cannot be administered orally. This substance is used to fix the balm so that it has a creamy effect.
The various components of the Tiger Balm affect the sensory receptors in two ways: Camphor and clove produce a feeling of warmth at first, followed by a cold sensation that resulted from menthol and cajuput. These conflicting nerve receptor stimulate will lead to numbness which will help alleviate your symptoms and regain some form of thunder, say tiger. This Red Tiger Balm is highly recommended for muscle contractions and joint pains.
White Tiger Balm
This white has some additional compositions to Camphor, Minted menthol oil, Menthol and Clove
which is a 13 to 15% composition of the eucalyptus essential oil. In fact, eucalyptus oil is extracted from gigantic trees of Australian origin. It is particularly effective against coughs and flu.
White is mainly used for headaches, coughs, colds and insect bites (especially mosquitoes). It is also shown that it is effective against several diseases of E.N.T. (ear, nose, and throat). It stimulates the immune system and acts against infections and frees the airways.