This easy to make alternative to Tiger Balm is a must have in your natural medicine cabinet. Using only natural ingredients with a non-petroluem base of just beeswax and olive oil and a potent blend of essential oils, this balm will relieve achy muscles and joints naturally and quickly!
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When dealing with reoccurring muscle soreness, tension headaches, achy muscles, lower back pain and joint pain, relief is important. However, using over the counter pain relievers on a regular basis can lead to serious health issues. Finding a topical medication like commercial Tiger Balm that relieves muscle pain is a much better option but it does contain petroleum jelly. The solution? Make your own Tiger Balm! The good news is you can make a warming/cooling balm with only natural ingredients and it’s quick and easy! Anyone can make it! Trust me, your sore muscles will thank you!
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. Since Tiger Balm comes in handy for many of us, I thought it was high time to make a DIY tiger balm!
What is Tiger Balm?
In case you aren’t familiar, Tiger Balm is an ointment that has a heating and cooling effect on the skin that helps relieve pain. It also comes 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. Today’s version of Tiger Balm contains a large amount of pain relieving essential oils suspended in petroleum. Since avoiding petroleum is a good idea, let’s make our own!
Why DIY Tiger Balm?
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.
Upon researching Tiger Balm, I found that petroleum is actually linked to estrogen dominance among many other issues.
What modern day Tiger Balm does contain is 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.
What’s In DIY Tiger Balm?
First off, my homemade Tiger Balm recipe calls for a thick, creamy base of olive oil and beeswax. Making a balm is super easy. You just need to make a double boiler (described below) in order to gently heat the wax and oil together. Once they are melted you can add the active ingredients, essential oils. Once the concoction cools, it hardens into a balm.
Essential oils have anti-inflammatory properties, increase blood flow and have warming effects on the skin which helps relax the muscles. Oils like camphor, cajuput, cassia, clove and eucalyptus oil are used in this balm to create a strong formulation for pain relief.
I like to add menthol crystals for their cooling effect. These crystals help imitate the warming and cooling effect of the original Tiger Balm. If you’d rather skip the menthol crystals, you can omit them all together or add peppermint oil instead. I would add 20 drops of peppermint.
A Word of Caution on Camphor
Before anyone takes to the comments-I know camphor oil 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.
More Petroleum Free DIY Products
Where to Get Essential Oils:
I typically get my essential oils from Plant Therapy. They are super affordable, have organic oils and offer free shipping. I also love Mountain Rose Herbs essential oils. They are also organic and very high quality.
What You Need to Make 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) *optional*
- 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)
- 4 ounce glass jar (find it HERE)
- 1/2 cup Olive Oil (coconut oil works here too)
- 2 TBSP. Beeswax
- 1.5 TBSP. Menthol Crystals *optional*
- 30 drops Camphor Essential Oil
- 20 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
- 10 drops Cajuput Essential Oil
- 10 drops Cassia Essential Oil
- 5 drops Clove Essential Oil
- Small Pot
- Glass Pyrex Measuring Cup
- 4 ounce glass jar
- Fill a medium sized pot half way full with water.
- Place a glass pyrex bowl in the water.
- Add olive oil, menthol crystals and beeswax.
- Turn stove top to medium heat.
- Once the beeswax is melted, remove from heat.
- Add essential oils.
- Pour into 4 ounce jar.
- You must store your DIY tiger balm in a glass container. The essential oils will degrade plastic.
- Remember, a small amount goes a long way!
You never know when you could get a crick in your neck or pull a muscle. Not to mention it is very nourishing to the skin! You could even use it as a sore foot rub! Plus, it can be used as a massage oil!
Feel free to use it as a natural remedy for arthritis pain as well.
Homemade Tiger Balm is a must for your natural medicine cabinet!
P.S. Did I mention this balm kind of smells like Coco-Cola? I smell a new lip balm coming on…… It would sure be a lip plumper!
UPDATE: I have a new warming muscle rub recipe that uses black pepper essential oil for more of a warming effect. It is very similar to this one and both are great for soreness.