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.  I

n 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. Since we’re all in to DIYing here, let’s make our own DIY Tiger Balm!

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

DIY Tiger 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 DIY Tiger Balm 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……

UPDATE: I have a new warming muscle rub recipe that uses black pepper essential oil for a warming effect. It is very similar to this one and both are great for soreness.


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DIY Tiger Balm

Jennifer Phillips
Jennifer Phillips

Jennifer Phillips worked as a licensed aesthetician for over 8 years before creating the natural skin care blog, Jenni Raincloud.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


  1. mari
    August 5, 2014 / 9:05 am

    When do you add the menthol crystals?

    • August 5, 2014 / 10:50 am

      Mari-Ooops! I forgot to mention that-You add them straight to your beeswax and olive oil. They melt at about 110 degrees. Thanks!

      • mari
        August 6, 2014 / 2:07 pm

        Thanks. I can’t wait to make this. Great recipes 🙂

  2. Shirley
    August 6, 2014 / 1:51 pm

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

  3. alicia
    December 1, 2014 / 7:42 am

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

    • December 1, 2014 / 1:45 pm

      Alicia-The crystals are really strong so you could use peppermint or eucalyptus or both to get the effect-it just won’t tingle as much!

  4. Jackie
    August 27, 2016 / 12:17 am

    Hi Jenni:

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

    • Jenni
      August 28, 2016 / 4:25 pm

      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
    December 2, 2016 / 1:13 am

    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.

    • Jenni
      December 4, 2016 / 11:29 am

      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!

  6. Sunisa Sookdee
    April 28, 2018 / 11:43 pm

    Hi, great article to do it at home by yourself and explanation. Here is an great article about the benefits that balm does have for your body. If it is your neck or muscles. It is always good to know when and how to use a natural balm when you have pain. Here is a great in-depth explanation of how to use it:

  7. November 25, 2019 / 4:00 pm

    Made this today and it is absolutely brilliant.
    • Easy clear instructions
    • Takes minutes once the beeswax has melted
    • Smells Amazing!
    • Looks and feels silky just like the real stuff!
    • It does the job intended well
    (I do martial art and after training tonight I’ve put it on my aches and pains, after about 10mins i now feel a lovely cool sensation on these areas)

    Thanks for the Excellent How to!

    • Jenni
      November 27, 2019 / 10:12 am

      Claire-Thank you so much! I’m so glad you like it! I wish I could up the cooling and warming but I just haven’t figured how to do that safely! Thanks again!

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