Tiger balm, the remedy of traditional Chinese medicine, really effective?

Among its properties is relieving muscle pains and those with heads, today we are talking about tiger balm, an essential ointment or ointment in the medicine cabinets of Chinese families, since the beginning of the last century. Although for a few years it stopped being used to become very popular again recently even in the Western world.

It owes its name to the image of strength and vigor that this animal has and is made from plant extracts and mineral oils derived from petroleum, such as paraffin and petrolatum. It can be bought in supermarkets, sports stores, pharmacies, parapharmacies and herbalists.

Also in its composition we can find camphor, menthol, cajuput, peppermint oil, clove oil, and cinnamon oilingredients all of them more active from the pharmacological point of view, as pointed out by the OCU website.

Tiger balm, the remedy of Chinese medicine

From the OCU, however, they also warn that, «in Spain this product is not a medicine and therefore cannot include therapeutic claims in its labeling or advertising.».

It is sold to relieve muscle and joint pain, as a massage product, as well as for nasal congestion and headaches, and is even used by some to treat insect bites.

To apply it, we must take a small amount of product and massage the area, never near the eyes or on mucous membranes such as those of the mouth, nostrils, vagina, rectum or penis. Neither in open wounds, nor before exposing ourselves to the sun or heat (shower, sauna or electric blanket).

It should never be applied to children under three years of age and its use is generally not recommended in children under thirteen. Neither during pregnancy or lactation.

From the consumer organization they also explain its operation, “It works by ‘trickling’ nerve endings with sensations of cooling and heating, interrupting other pain signals.”

And about the existence of scientific studies on it, they add that “With few controlled studies and limited evidence, there are indications that tiger balm ointments might be useful for the treatment of tension headaches, and appear to be able to increase blood flow to the legs when combined with a massage. «

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