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6 uses of Tiger Balm
Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT — Written by Jennifer Huizen on November 22, 2018
What is Tiger Balm?
Uses and benefits
Household uses
Risks and side effects
When to see a doctor
If you buy something through a link on this page, we may earn a small commission. How this works.

Tiger Balm is an over-the-counter product that claims to temporarily relieve minor muscle aches, pains, and strains. It does so by numbing the skin, as an analgesic.

Tiger Balm comes in different forms, including:

rubs
creams
ointments
liniments
adhesive skin patches
Regular- and extra-strength preparations of Tiger Balm are available. The formulations, scents, and packaging may differ, depending on the region where a person buys it.

In this article, learn about the uses of Tiger Balm, the active ingredients, and the possible side effects.
Please accept our privacy terms
MedicalNewsToday.com uses cookies to improve your site experience and to show you personalized advertising. To learn more, please read our Privacy Policy.

More information



6 uses of Tiger Balm
Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT — Written by Jennifer Huizen on November 22, 2018
What is Tiger Balm?
Uses and benefits
Household uses
Risks and side effects
When to see a doctor
If you buy something through a link on this page, we may earn a small commission. How this works.

Tiger Balm is an over-the-counter product that claims to temporarily relieve minor muscle aches, pains, and strains. It does so by numbing the skin, as an analgesic.

Tiger Balm comes in different forms, including:

rubs
creams
ointments
liniments
adhesive skin patches
Regular- and extra-strength preparations of Tiger Balm are available. The formulations, scents, and packaging may differ, depending on the region where a person buys it.

In this article, learn about the uses of Tiger Balm, the active ingredients, and the possible side effects.


What is Tiger Balm?
Tiger Balm may help relieve minor aches, strains, and pains.
Tiger Balm contains several active and inactive ingredients.

The active ingredients in one formulation of regular-strength Tiger Balm include:

15 percent methyl salicylate, which may act as an analgesic, numbing the skin.
5 percent menthol, which may help restrict blood vessels, reducing inflammation and causing a therapeutic cooling sensation.
3 percent camphor, which may improve circulation and cool or warm the skin.
Some types of Tiger Balm contain other active ingredients or essential oils, such as:

capsicum
mint oil
cassia oil
clove oil
cajuput oil
wintergreen oil
eucalyptus oil
6 uses and benefits
Most evidence for the benefits of Tiger Balm is based on what researchers know about its active ingredients.

Tiger Balm may relieve:

1. Aches and strains
Ingredients in the balm, such as camphor, increase blood flow to the surface of the skin, creating a warming sensation that can distract from pain and stiffness.

Camphor and menthol may also improve blood circulation to the muscles, potentially speeding up healing time and reducing inflammation.

In a small 2014 study, nine adults who applied petroleum jelly that contained 5, 10, or 20 percent camphor to their forearms experienced increased blood flow to their skin and muscles.

Other ingredients in Tiger Balm, such methyl salicylate, act as analgesics and numb the skin, which may reduce stiffness and aches.

Tiger Balm adhesive patches may be the most useful for muscle pains and strains, as a patch steadily releases the active ingredients over a prolonged period.

Some versions of Tiger Balm contain capsicum, the active ingredient in chili peppers. Capsicum blocks nerve receptors that transmit pain impulses, creating a warm sensation that can lessen the intensity of muscle aches and strains.

Capsicum may reduce many types of aches, including those from arthritis, cancer, and gastrointestinal problems.

2. Tension headaches
Authors of a study from 1996 found that applying Tiger Balm to the forehead was more effective at relieving tension headaches than a placebo. It was almost as effective as taking acetaminophen (Tylenol).

While current medical reviews of alternative headache remedies continue to cite this study, more up-to-date research is necessary.

3. Colds and congestion
More information



6 uses of Tiger Balm
Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT — Written by Jennifer Huizen on November 22, 2018
What is Tiger Balm?
Uses and benefits
Household uses
Risks and side effects
When to see a doctor
If you buy something through a link on this page, we may earn a small commission. How this works.

Tiger Balm is an over-the-counter product that claims to temporarily relieve minor muscle aches, pains, and strains. It does so by numbing the skin, as an analgesic.

Tiger Balm comes in different forms, including:

rubs
creams
ointments
liniments
adhesive skin patches
Regular- and extra-strength preparations of Tiger Balm are available. The formulations, scents, and packaging may differ, depending on the region where a person buys it.

In this article, learn about the uses of Tiger Balm, the active ingredients, and the possible side effects.


What is Tiger Balm?
Tiger Balm may help relieve minor aches, strains, and pains.
Tiger Balm contains several active and inactive ingredients.

The active ingredients in one formulation of regular-strength Tiger Balm include:

15 percent methyl salicylate, which may act as an analgesic, numbing the skin.
5 percent menthol, which may help restrict blood vessels, reducing inflammation and causing a therapeutic cooling sensation.
3 percent camphor, which may improve circulation and cool or warm the skin.
Some types of Tiger Balm contain other active ingredients or essential oils, such as:

capsicum
mint oil
cassia oil
clove oil
cajuput oil
wintergreen oil
eucalyptus oil
6 uses and benefits
Most evidence for the benefits of Tiger Balm is based on what researchers know about its active ingredients.

Tiger Balm may relieve:

1. Aches and strains
Ingredients in the balm, such as camphor, increase blood flow to the surface of the skin, creating a warming sensation that can distract from pain and stiffness.

Camphor and menthol may also improve blood circulation to the muscles, potentially speeding up healing time and reducing inflammation.

In a small 2014 study, nine adults who applied petroleum jelly that contained 5, 10, or 20 percent camphor to their forearms experienced increased blood flow to their skin and muscles.

Other ingredients in Tiger Balm, such methyl salicylate, act as analgesics and numb the skin, which may reduce stiffness and aches.

Tiger Balm adhesive patches may be the most useful for muscle pains and strains, as a patch steadily releases the active ingredients over a prolonged period.

Some versions of Tiger Balm contain capsicum, the active ingredient in chili peppers. Capsicum blocks nerve receptors that transmit pain impulses, creating a warm sensation that can lessen the intensity of muscle aches and strains.

Capsicum may reduce many types of aches, including those from arthritis, cancer, and gastrointestinal problems.

2. Tension headaches
Authors of a study from 1996 found that applying Tiger Balm to the forehead was more effective at relieving tension headaches than a placebo. It was almost as effective as taking acetaminophen (Tylenol).

While current medical reviews of alternative headache remedies continue to cite this study, more up-to-date research is necessary.

3. Colds and congestion
The ingredients in Tiger Balm may help ease cold and sinus symptoms.
Tiger Balm contains ingredients that may help relieve sinus and chest congestion. Some have been used for centuries in oils, ointments, and inhalant form to ease congestion from colds and allergies.

Camphor acts as a mild expectorant, nasal decongestant, and cough suppressant. Menthol may help soothe irritated nasal passageways, helping to relieve stuffy noses.

In a 2013 study, 14 people who inhaled a 1 percent menthol solution before being exposed to capsicum, a cough-inducer, took longer to cough than those who did not use the menthol solution.

People looking to use Tiger Balm for congestion or other cold symptoms should purchase formulas that do not contain cough-inducers, such as capsicum and clove oil.

4. Back pain
People frequently use Tiger Balm to relieve back pain, especially pain in the lower back.

Some use certain ingredients in Tiger Balm before or after receiving alternative treatments for back pain, including Gua Sha therapy.

In a 2012 study, 18 people who had experienced nonspecific back pain for more than 5 consecutive days had a cream applied to the area before receiving one Gua Sha treatment. The cream contained camphor and menthol.

The participants reported reduced pain and improved health, but determining whether the active ingredients increased the effectiveness of the therapy will require further research.

5. Neck and shoulder tension
Tiger Balm may help reduce neck and shoulder pain.

In an older study, 105 men and women with mild to moderate muscle strain used patches containing a 10 percent methyl salicylate and 3 percent menthol formulation. The participants used the patches on multiple regions, including the upper shoulder and neck.

Twelve hours after applying their patches, the participants experienced, on average, a 40 percent reduction in pain, compared to the 103 control subjects who used placebo patches.

In a 2017 study, 29 people with neck pain applied a topical menthol gel to the area before receiving cervical chiropractic manipulation. Those who used the gel reported significantly more pain reduction after treatment than those who did not.

6. Joint pain
Little specific evidence supports the use of Tiger Balm to relieve joint pain. However, many people use the balm to ease aches and pain related to osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis causes bones to lose density and become brittle over time, leading to joint pain.

A 2012 study that included 2,679 people with osteoarthritic knee joint pain found that 352 of the participants used rubs, such as Tiger Balm, to reduce the pain.

Researchers are unsure why Tiger Balm seems to help relieve joint pain, but the active ingredients may numb the area and reduce swelling.
 
6 uses of Tiger Balm
Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT — Written by Jennifer Huizen on November 22, 2018
What is Tiger Balm?
Uses and benefits
Household uses
Risks and side effects
When to see a doctor
If you buy something through a link on this page, we may earn a small commission. How this works.

Tiger Balm is an over-the-counter product that claims to temporarily relieve minor muscle aches, pains, and strains. It does so by numbing the skin, as an analgesic.

Tiger Balm comes in different forms, including:

rubs
creams
ointments
liniments
adhesive skin patches
Regular- and extra-strength preparations of Tiger Balm are available. The formulations, scents, and packaging may differ, depending on the region where a person buys it.

In this article, learn about the uses of Tiger Balm, the active ingredients, and the possible side effects.
Please accept our privacy terms
MedicalNewsToday.com uses cookies to improve your site experience and to show you personalized advertising. To learn more, please read our Privacy Policy.

More information



6 uses of Tiger Balm
Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT — Written by Jennifer Huizen on November 22, 2018
What is Tiger Balm?
Uses and benefits
Household uses
Risks and side effects
When to see a doctor
If you buy something through a link on this page, we may earn a small commission. How this works.

Tiger Balm is an over-the-counter product that claims to temporarily relieve minor muscle aches, pains, and strains. It does so by numbing the skin, as an analgesic.

Tiger Balm comes in different forms, including:

rubs
creams
ointments
liniments
adhesive skin patches
Regular- and extra-strength preparations of Tiger Balm are available. The formulations, scents, and packaging may differ, depending on the region where a person buys it.

In this article, learn about the uses of Tiger Balm, the active ingredients, and the possible side effects.


What is Tiger Balm?
Tiger Balm may help relieve minor aches, strains, and pains.
Tiger Balm contains several active and inactive ingredients.

The active ingredients in one formulation of regular-strength Tiger Balm include:

15 percent methyl salicylate, which may act as an analgesic, numbing the skin.
5 percent menthol, which may help restrict blood vessels, reducing inflammation and causing a therapeutic cooling sensation.
3 percent camphor, which may improve circulation and cool or warm the skin.
Some types of Tiger Balm contain other active ingredients or essential oils, such as:

capsicum
mint oil
cassia oil
clove oil
cajuput oil
wintergreen oil
eucalyptus oil
6 uses and benefits
Most evidence for the benefits of Tiger Balm is based on what researchers know about its active ingredients.

Tiger Balm may relieve:

1. Aches and strains
Ingredients in the balm, such as camphor, increase blood flow to the surface of the skin, creating a warming sensation that can distract from pain and stiffness.

Camphor and menthol may also improve blood circulation to the muscles, potentially speeding up healing time and reducing inflammation.

In a small 2014 study, nine adults who applied petroleum jelly that contained 5, 10, or 20 percent camphor to their forearms experienced increased blood flow to their skin and muscles.

Other ingredients in Tiger Balm, such methyl salicylate, act as analgesics and numb the skin, which may reduce stiffness and aches.

Tiger Balm adhesive patches may be the most useful for muscle pains and strains, as a patch steadily releases the active ingredients over a prolonged period.

Some versions of Tiger Balm contain capsicum, the active ingredient in chili peppers. Capsicum blocks nerve receptors that transmit pain impulses, creating a warm sensation that can lessen the intensity of muscle aches and strains.

Capsicum may reduce many types of aches, including those from arthritis, cancer, and gastrointestinal problems.

2. Tension headaches
Authors of a study from 1996 found that applying Tiger Balm to the forehead was more effective at relieving tension headaches than a placebo. It was almost as effective as taking acetaminophen (Tylenol).

While current medical reviews of alternative headache remedies continue to cite this study, more up-to-date research is necessary.

3. Colds and congestion
More information



6 uses of Tiger Balm
Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT — Written by Jennifer Huizen on November 22, 2018
What is Tiger Balm?
Uses and benefits
Household uses
Risks and side effects
When to see a doctor
If you buy something through a link on this page, we may earn a small commission. How this works.

Tiger Balm is an over-the-counter product that claims to temporarily relieve minor muscle aches, pains, and strains. It does so by numbing the skin, as an analgesic.

Tiger Balm comes in different forms, including:

rubs
creams
ointments
liniments
adhesive skin patches
Regular- and extra-strength preparations of Tiger Balm are available. The formulations, scents, and packaging may differ, depending on the region where a person buys it.

In this article, learn about the uses of Tiger Balm, the active ingredients, and the possible side effects.


What is Tiger Balm?
Tiger Balm may help relieve minor aches, strains, and pains.
Tiger Balm contains several active and inactive ingredients.

The active ingredients in one formulation of regular-strength Tiger Balm include:

15 percent methyl salicylate, which may act as an analgesic, numbing the skin.
5 percent menthol, which may help restrict blood vessels, reducing inflammation and causing a therapeutic cooling sensation.
3 percent camphor, which may improve circulation and cool or warm the skin.
Some types of Tiger Balm contain other active ingredients or essential oils, such as:

capsicum
mint oil
cassia oil
clove oil
cajuput oil
wintergreen oil
eucalyptus oil
6 uses and benefits
Most evidence for the benefits of Tiger Balm is based on what researchers know about its active ingredients.

Tiger Balm may relieve:

1. Aches and strains
Ingredients in the balm, such as camphor, increase blood flow to the surface of the skin, creating a warming sensation that can distract from pain and stiffness.

Camphor and menthol may also improve blood circulation to the muscles, potentially speeding up healing time and reducing inflammation.

In a small 2014 study, nine adults who applied petroleum jelly that contained 5, 10, or 20 percent camphor to their forearms experienced increased blood flow to their skin and muscles.

Other ingredients in Tiger Balm, such methyl salicylate, act as analgesics and numb the skin, which may reduce stiffness and aches.

Tiger Balm adhesive patches may be the most useful for muscle pains and strains, as a patch steadily releases the active ingredients over a prolonged period.

Some versions of Tiger Balm contain capsicum, the active ingredient in chili peppers. Capsicum blocks nerve receptors that transmit pain impulses, creating a warm sensation that can lessen the intensity of muscle aches and strains.

Capsicum may reduce many types of aches, including those from arthritis, cancer, and gastrointestinal problems.

2. Tension headaches
Authors of a study from 1996 found that applying Tiger Balm to the forehead was more effective at relieving tension headaches than a placebo. It was almost as effective as taking acetaminophen (Tylenol).

While current medical reviews of alternative headache remedies continue to cite this study, more up-to-date research is necessary.

3. Colds and congestion
The ingredients in Tiger Balm may help ease cold and sinus symptoms.
Tiger Balm contains ingredients that may help relieve sinus and chest congestion. Some have been used for centuries in oils, ointments, and inhalant form to ease congestion from colds and allergies.

Camphor acts as a mild expectorant, nasal decongestant, and cough suppressant. Menthol may help soothe irritated nasal passageways, helping to relieve stuffy noses.

In a 2013 study, 14 people who inhaled a 1 percent menthol solution before being exposed to capsicum, a cough-inducer, took longer to cough than those who did not use the menthol solution.

People looking to use Tiger Balm for congestion or other cold symptoms should purchase formulas that do not contain cough-inducers, such as capsicum and clove oil.

4. Back pain
People frequently use Tiger Balm to relieve back pain, especially pain in the lower back.

Some use certain ingredients in Tiger Balm before or after receiving alternative treatments for back pain, including Gua Sha therapy.

In a 2012 study, 18 people who had experienced nonspecific back pain for more than 5 consecutive days had a cream applied to the area before receiving one Gua Sha treatment. The cream contained camphor and menthol.

The participants reported reduced pain and improved health, but determining whether the active ingredients increased the effectiveness of the therapy will require further research.

5. Neck and shoulder tension
Tiger Balm may help reduce neck and shoulder pain.

In an older study, 105 men and women with mild to moderate muscle strain used patches containing a 10 percent methyl salicylate and 3 percent menthol formulation. The participants used the patches on multiple regions, including the upper shoulder and neck.

Twelve hours after applying their patches, the participants experienced, on average, a 40 percent reduction in pain, compared to the 103 control subjects who used placebo patches.

In a 2017 study, 29 people with neck pain applied a topical menthol gel to the area before receiving cervical chiropractic manipulation. Those who used the gel reported significantly more pain reduction after treatment than those who did not.

6. Joint pain
Little specific evidence supports the use of Tiger Balm to relieve joint pain. However, many people use the balm to ease aches and pain related to osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis causes bones to lose density and become brittle over time, leading to joint pain.

A 2012 study that included 2,679 people with osteoarthritic knee joint pain found that 352 of the participants used rubs, such as Tiger Balm, to reduce the pain.

Researchers are unsure why Tiger Balm seems to help relieve joint pain, but the active ingredients may numb the area and reduce swelling.
Tiger balm can also block the smell of surroundings if you put a bit under your nose - it has extremely strong mint smell so it can be used for that purpose as well
 
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