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DIY Kitten Balm-A Healthy Alternative to Tiger Balm

DIY Tiger Balm I’ll admit, more than once, Tiger Balm has saved my neck.  About once a year something happens where I pull my neck muscles-I will be in major discomfort for at least a week.  The only thing that seemed to ease the pain was Tiger Balm.  In case you aren’t familiar, Tiger Balm is an ointment that heats up the skin and relieves pain.  They also come in the form of a pad.  You adhere the pad to the problem area to experience relief.

Tiger Balm comes from a secret herbal formula from Chinese emperors.  I’m a huge believer in Eastern medicine.  Of course, now that it’s no longer sacred to Chinese emperors, it no longer contains pure, healthy ingredients.

You knew this was coming-modern day Tiger Balm sucks.  It’s full of petroleum.  Some formulations also contain Diazolidinyl Urea, Glucosamine Sulfate, Methyl Paraben, Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Propyl Paraben, and Propylene Glycol.

Do I need to even say the above ingredients are a really bad idea?  No, probably not.

What it does contain are essential oils.  It has a balm/salve like consistency so it was really easy to recreate!  The oils it contains are camphor 11%, menthol 10%, cajuput oil, cassia oil, and clove oil.  Before anyone takes to the comments-I know camphor is considered toxic in large doses.  I don’t believe it poses any threat in this balm, but I have lowered the camhpor from 11%.  You can read more about camphor HERE.kitten balm 1

Homemade “Kitten Balm”

1/2 cup Olive Oil (find it HERE)  (coconut oil works here too)

2 TBSP. Beeswax (find it HERE)

1.5 TBSP. Menthol Crystals (find it HERE)

30 drops Camphor Essential Oil (find it HERE)

20 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil (find it HERE)

10 drops Cajuput Essential Oil (find it HERE)

10 drops Cassia Essential Oil (find it HERE)

5 drops Clove Essential Oil (find it HERE)


  1. Fill a medium sized pot half way full with water.
  2. Place a glass pyrex bowl in the water.
  3. Add olive oil, menthol crystals and beeswax.
  4. Turn stove top to medium heat.
  5. Once the beeswax is melted, remove from heat.
  6. Add essential oils.
  7. Pour into 4 ounce jar.

It’s such a good idea to make a batch of this asap.  You never know when you could get a crick in your neck or pull a muscle.  My husband is pretty serious about weight lifting so I catch him using this, literally on a daily basis!

xx, Jenni

P.S. Did I mention this balm kind of smells like Coco-Cola?  I smell a new lip balm coming on……

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DIY Tiger Balm


  1. When do you add the menthol crystals?

  2. If you don’t have menthol crystals can you sub peppermint or spearmint essential oils?

  3. I’m also wondering if a mint essential oil would work in place of the crystals.

  4. Hi Jenni:

    Do not have menthol crystal but have menthol essential oil. How many drops would you suggest?

    • Jackie-I’ve never worked with menthol essential oil. You’ll have to experiment. I’m guessing a little bit goes a long way so I would start out with 5 drops. You can always remelt and add more if it’s not enough.

  5. Robin Turner says:

    Can different oils be substituted for the cassia and camphor? I’d like to try and use what I have on hand. I do have arnica, clove and cinnamon.

    • Hi Robin-arnica or clove won’t be necessary in this balm. You could substitute cassia for cinnamon and leave out the camphor. I think you will still have a great balm!

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