Sunday, March 27, 2011

Homemade Tiger Balm

This Sunday's experiment was making homemade Tiger Balm. Like the 'Chapstick' confusion in my lip balm post, Tiger Balm is also a brand. The closest thing that I came up with to generically describe Tiger Balm is as a 'sports cream' or 'muscle rub.' But for this post, let's just call it Tiger Balm - since it's such a well known product name. Tiger Balm was created by a Chinese herbalist in the 1870s who left the Emperor's Court to start his own medicine shop where he could create and sell his special ointment. I'm glad Wikipedia made it clear "the rub does not contain tiger parts," because I certainly didn't have any spare tiger parts lying around for this recipe.

The recipe I half-way followed was one that I found HERE. I found the directions to be unclear and in some places, incomplete. So I winged it. I put olive oil and bees wax in my double boiler - after it was all melted I added about a tablespoon of menthol crystals, which melted almost instantly. As ingredients melted in the pot I mixed all my essentials oils together - peppermint, eucalyptus, camphor, clove and ginger. I also added a few drops of vitamin E oil too.

My first batch (1.0) was ridiculously strong. I knew I had to tone down the menthol crystals, and even the peppermint and eucalyptus oils (very powerful oils). The second batch (2.0) seemed just about right. I multiplied the recipe I had by 4 so that I yielded about 2 1/2 empty baby food jars full of homemade tiger balm.
Magic, tingly ingredient: Menthol Crystals

I have been using the winter weather as a way to escape from exercising (even though I have a treadmill AND it has been fairly nice weather here in Missouri for a few days). What I'm saying (besides that I'm lazy) is I have no sore muscles to test my homemade tiger balm on! But I did put a dab on my arm and it smelled just like Tiger Balm you buy from the store and in a few minutes it started to tingle! Ah, the sweet tingling! So I guess what this means is - there is really no reason for me not be exercising any more (because with my homemade tiger balm, any sore muscles will be eased with tingly goodness!).

*Update* After spending most of the day on my feet concocting remedies in the kitchen and the rest of it being hunched over my laptop writing this post and creating a new Antique Remedies logo, I ended up with a very sore back! Imagine that. I got my dear boyfriend to agree to give me a back rub but only if I returned the favor. For me, being the rubbee, the homemade tiger balm was excellent! I can still feel it tingling and my muscles feel much more loose and at ease. After switching places and being the rubber, it was an added bonus that the menthol crystals and peppermint essentials oils cleared my nasal passages (darn allergy season!). The only thing I will change next time I make it, more olive oil (or whatever carrier oil I use) so that it is a bit creamier and easier to dish out for the rubdown!

Any questions, suggestions or comments - I'd love to hear them!


  1. Hi! So when you say you multiplied the recipe by 4, and changed some quantities, what did you do? I would be interested to see the final recipe!
    Jill :)

  2. Same here! My Husband works out a lot and I know he could use this (when he gets back from deployment) (well.. I would be the one using it on him lol!) Please do share what was the final recipe?

  3. Funny - I just made a new batch of these and a truly did wing every thing! I tripled the recipe (and now I use nice looking jars instead of baby food jars!). The 3x recipe filled 2 fancy jars - each jar holds just under 2/3 cup. I definitely used less menthol crystals (about a pinch, which is about 3-4 bigger sized crystals). Next time I make it I will write every detail and write another post, I promise! Until then, check out my Facebook page to see the new jar

  4. Are you still making this? Would you care to post the recipe?
    Thank you.


  5. Meowmixx7 at gmail dot com is my email! :)

  6. Good post really genuine article selected, We AOS Products also offer 100% natural Small menthol Crystal, Large menthol Crystal in Ip, BP and USP specification, we want to make as strong and happy deals with you. Thank you

  7. In this blog explain to, How to use Tiger Balm