Let's share an old Asian secret: the Tiger Balm

I'm sure every Asian can relate to this post...because it's a product every Asian households possess...


First of all, few things you need to know about the balm:

- It's a Chinese ointment made from a blend of herbal and aromatic ingredients! No chemical and completely safe to use everyday. So if you suffer from mild headaches, this is the bomb and goodbye paracetamol ;-)

- It comes in 2 different colors: white and red. The white balm is milder in strength and smell. It has a very mild menthol smell and helps relieve subtle pains. The red balm is more potent with a stronger smell and gives a really deep pain relief for very sore muscle or even tissue damage. I personally only use the white one and it's enough for me.

- Tiger balm motto: it "works where it hurts" It really does what it claims to do. It's very effective and a little bit of that product goes a long way so a small jar will last you forever. It's very affordable too.

Let me tell you how I grew up with it and how I use it ;-)


When I was little, my parents would use it every time they felt ill. They would use either red or white balm and apply it using the coin rubbing technique. Most of you might not even know what it is so let me tell you more about coin rubbing also called coining or coin therapy. It is one of the most common folk remedies practiced in South East Asia. It’s known as Cao gio in Vietnamese (catch the wind), Koah kshal in Kmer (scraping the wind), Gua Sha in Chinese (scraping away fever) and Kerokan in Indonesia (scraping technique).



So what's the deal with “scraping the wind”?


In Asia, we believe that illnesses are caused by an excess of “wind” and coining the body will release that excess “wind” and therefore restore the balance to the body. This might remind you of the Chinese concept of ying and yang. Some common beliefs and practices of the Southeast Asian culture definitely originates from it. The ying and yang belief states that everything in the universe consists of two forces or elements that are opposing but held in balance, complementing each other. Illnesses are disrupting that balance and coining will restore the body balance by “pulling” the wind away.

Coin rubbing is a very popular form of alternative medicine and healing technique although considered very controversial in the Western countries.

The method is simple: the balm (or any other oils can be used) is applied in the skin and a coin is rubbed firmly and repeatedly until red marks, blood under the skin, become visible. The lines are rubbed on either side of the spine and one horizontal line down the spine. The marks only last couple of days and are very effective. If the red marks appear mild, the illness is considered mild therefore, if the red marks appear very dark, the more “wind” you have, the more severe your illness is.


How I use it?


I use it the same way you would use cupboards essentials like Vicks, Arnica salve, Eucalyptus salve etc...[ I wouldn't use in children under 2 and in open wounds.]


- Rub a small amount on the "affected" area, tight muscle, back ache, tummy ache... Gently massage it until completely absorbed by the skin.

- For headaches, gently rub the temple area. Don't forget to wash your hands and avoid eye area. (it does stings)

-It's perfect for sinus issues. Rub a small amount on a tissue and pat on your nose. This method does help prevent catching a cold and unblock sinuses.

- It's very effective on insect bites and reduce the swelling and redness.

- It can be used as smelling salts if you feel tired or drowsy.

- The small jar can fit snugly in your bag and could be a life saver when unexpected situation happens.


Hope you will give this product a go, it's one of those weird Asian habits to use it, but it truly does help so worth a try.


Happy Rubbing x