A few weeks ago I went to my acupuncturist (she’s wonderful!), and afterward so gave me some White Tiger Balm for my legs and neck. I’d never tried it before, but it was love at first try. Awesome stuff. All cooling and delightful. The only un-delightful part was the base: petroleum jelly. All kinds of great essential oils… and petroleum jelly. Ick.
As soon as I got home I began researching the ingredients in Tiger Balm. Essential oils of cajeput, menthol, camphor, mint, clove, and cassia (only in the red version). All told, the essential oils compose 50% of the balm. The rest of it is carrier oils and some wax to or other solid fat to thicken the mixture into a balm.
I couldn’t resist—I ordered the ingredients I didn’t have off of NDA, and as soon as they arrived I made up my very own, petroleum jelly free tiger balm. And wow, does it ever clear the nostrils (and soothe the muscles, of course!).
Homemade White Tiger Balm
5g | 0.18oz camphor essential oil
6g | 0.21oz cajuput essential oil
4g | 0.14oz menthol essential oil
1g | 0.03oz clove bud essential oil
8g | 0.28oz peppermint essential oil
1g | 0.03oz vitamin E
10g | 0.35oz beeswax
10g | 0.35oz cocoa butter
3g | 0.1oz emu oil (or andiroba oil)
3g | 0.1oz andiroba oil
Combine the oils and beeswax in a small heat resistant glass measuring cup and place that measuring cup into a small saucepan with about 3cm/1″ of barely simmering water to create a water bath. Heat through until melted.
While the carrier oils are melting, weigh out the essential oils into a non-porous container (glass, preferably).
The carrier oils (the beeswax, specifically) should be just barely melted. We don’t want the mixture to be any hotter than necessary. Add the essential oils, heat and stir as necessary to blend, and then quickly decant into a small container to cool. This recipe makes approximately 51g of tiger balm, which should fit nicely into a 60mL/2oz glass jar. I’d recommend class for storage for this one thanks to the high essential oil concentration (the essential oils can eat away at plastic or metal).
Massage into sore muscles and enjoy the cooling sensation (it’ll take a couple minutes to kick in)!