Must have: Tiger Balm

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Miracle ointment tiger balm

A couple of years ago I started reading about tiger balm on various blogs. Bloggers were raving about how amazing this little jar of wonder is and I always thought to myself “what's so special about a simple cream??”.

I kind of forgot all about it because I had no idea you could buy tiger balm in pharmacies. I always thought you could only buy it somewhere in Asia (check out this article).

Tiger Balm

When visiting India last summer I wandered around in Bazar Road and walked into a little, back-alley shop (I wanted to know what an Indian DM looks like). I had a look around and spotted some small cardboard boxes on a shelf. I took a closer look and realised that they were tiger balm. I grabbed one and took it to the cashier to ask for the price. They were only a couple of cents each so I decided to take 10 more. 9 red tiger balms and a white one – my souvenirs from India!

I had badly sprained my thumb a couple of days earlier and had limited movement in it. Apparently, tiger balm is a miracle cure for sprains so I decided to give it a go. I applied a generous amount of tiger balm on my thumb and I swear to God it was almost completely healed the day after.

Every time I notice my throat starting to itch or get sore I run for my tiger balm and so far it has worked each and every time. I apply a thin coat on my throat/neck area and it gives me instant relieve. Tip: You can also use it if you have a runny nose, just dab a small amount of tiger balm on your upper lip. Be careful not to use too much of it though, it's quite strong!

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Are you familiar with Wick body rub? You apply it on your upper body to get rid of coughs, fever and the sniffles. Tiger balm is just as good as Wick and works the same way. My boyfriend was bedridden with flu, a couple of months ago and I applied tiger balm on his chest regularly. It opened up his airways and sinuses which made breathing easier for him.

Tiger Balm

Make sure to thoroughly wash your hands before touching your eyes. Tiger balm is really strong and burns like crazy! I have shed a few tears because I didn't pay attention. Also, do not apply on open wounds, in your nose and on your mucosae for exactly the same reason!

There are two different types of tiger balm: red and white. Red tiger balm is stronger and I use it on my throat or on contusions. The white type is perfect if you have a headache. I always take some to work with me and gently massage my temples with it. It usually helps unless it's work that's causing the headache.

Nowadays you don't have to travel all the way to Asia to buy tiger balm. Tiger balm is sold in most pharmacies – albeit quite expensive – or online on sites like amazon.

Do you use tiger balm? What do you use it for? And do you also nose on it because it smells so good?

Keep on travelling

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5 Comments

  • This is such great stuff. If you’re aching and tired and suffering from jet lag, have a hot shower or bath, rub a light layer of this on your joints, and tuck yourself into bed early. You will feel so much better when you wake up. To avoid getting it on my fingers (and eventually into my eyes) I put a plastic bag over my hand when I apply the balm – just any clean leftover grocery store bag will do.

  • I found your post at the best time. I have a runny nose and traveling..totally forgot I have a tiger balm in my bag. I will rub it under my nose, thanks!!

  • Thank you for sharing. I have never been sure of it’s origins or even what the ingredients are, but all I can say this works. On my long longer runs and ultra races I will carry a few individual packets in my hydration pack. Have used it many times. Was not aware there is a red and white variety.

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