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#11 Eagle & Tiger Balm

Posted February 21st, 2008 by Peter · 46 Comments

That Guy // Feb 20, 2008 at 1:41 pm:
oh yeah, and at least one bottle of that chinese eagle oil stuff that smells like Ben Gay.

Eagle BalmEagle and Tiger balm. I said Eagle and Tiger balm. What is this magical substance that is the asian equivalent to Icy Hot or Ben Gay? According to the Eagle Balm Home Page:

“The Chinese Emperors’ physicians may have discovered the Eagle Balm formulation in China a long time ago. However, the formulation that is known in the world today as Eagle Balm is due to the work of one man, a Chinese herbalist named Aw Chu Kin who lived in Rangoon. Aw studied the different types of effective remedy to best treat his patients. In the process, he discovered that the blending of various active ingredients, such as camphor, clove and menthol, was effective in relieving pain.”

What is so special about eagle balm? Is it actually a one-for-all cure for every ailment? If you have never been to an asian household, you will never know the true power of Eagle Balm:

“I think I have a cold…” “Get the Eagle Balm”
“I think I have a fever…” “Get the Eagle Balm!”
“I don’t want to go to school tomorrow…” “Didn’t I tell you to get the Eagle Balm!?!?”

Asian people know the true power of eagle balm. They inherited the secret from their parents, who in turn learned it from their parents. This has been going on for hundreds of years. It is a family tradition. The truth behind the strength of Eagle Balm is the placebo effect. For example, people given non-alcoholic beer will still act like idiots at the end of the day even though they are not intoxicated. “If it burns, it works,” and “No pain, no gain” are some American idioms that come to mind when referring to Eagle Balm. If asians believe that they are being healed by an ointment, they in fact are. It’s the truth. Remember the next time you have an ailment to buy yourself box of Eagle Balm. Click Here to learn more about Tiger Balm.

Last 5 posts by Peter

Tags: Activities · Chinese · Culture · Medicine · People · Superstition

46 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Justin // Feb 22, 2008 at 1:33 am

    parents also make u rub it on your tummy when you have a stomach ache…and use coins to make red marks, “scratch wind” literally translated

  • 2 Kev // Feb 22, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    The balm works like a charm, what the heck are you making fun of it for? :)

  • 3 Dr. Chan // Feb 22, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    When the bathroom smells, and you can’t take it , put some eagle balm on your nose , to clog your sinuses. And then you won’t be able to smell a thing!

  • 4 Chinkygirl // Feb 26, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    i remember when my family buys packs of them to give as gifts when we go to asia for the family

  • 5 Anonymous // Feb 26, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Uh. I don’t know about you…but tiger balm does NOT clog my sinuses. It opens them the fuck up. In fact, things that I didn’t even know were WRONG get fixed by tiger balm.

  • 6 Dr. Chan // Feb 26, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    Really? Well i dont smell anything but balm after i put it on.

  • 7 KSquared // Feb 28, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    Tiger balm is the shiiot. Truly a cure for every ailment until you get it in your eye. F the eagle, go for the tiger!

  • 8 someone asian // Feb 29, 2008 at 9:20 am

    wtf is eagle balm?? I only heard of Tiger balm…

  • 9 That Guy // Feb 29, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    dude i NEVER use or buy that crap and I’ve been out of the house for like 6 years now. And I just found a bottle of it in my bathroom. WTF

  • 10 Xiao Sun // Mar 11, 2008 at 8:53 am

    Hualu Shui is even better, smells nice too.

  • 11 Justin // Mar 11, 2008 at 9:25 am

    what does the bottle of hualu shui look like?

  • 12 Good old Eagle Oil « Amy’s little soap box // Mar 11, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    [...] line of two about it in one of my old blog entries, can’t remember which one now. Today I saw this on “Stuff Asians Like“, and this is a response to their [...]

  • 13 Amy // Mar 11, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    hmm most people I know call it Eagle Oil, because it’s liquid. There’s Tiger Balm, which is actually a balm, and also very popular with (older) Asian folks. :)

    Anyway, was about to leave a comment but it got too loooong. So here’s my response to your post:


  • 14 Justin // Mar 11, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    awesome! =) thanks, Amy!

  • 15 Amy // Mar 11, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    huh? I didn’t write #12. How did it get there? *puzzled*

  • 16 Justin // Mar 11, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    I think that’s a tag or update that you’ve written a post/comment about us.

  • 17 Dt // Mar 14, 2008 at 9:05 am

    I’ve heard of Tiger Balm and Monkey Balm but not Eagle Balm.

  • 18 Festus // Mar 17, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    White guy living in the South here–

    I grew up with Tiger Balm. Lots of hippie kids like me were raised on Tiger Balm as the cure-all. I always have a tub in my bathroom too. Thanks for sharing the love, Chinese medicine shops in SF!

  • 19 funkytwostep // Mar 21, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    ha! i used to cry when my parents put the tiger balm on me because it stung like hell! it cleared the sinuses pretty good though if you put some right under your nose.

  • 20 Z. Yang-Do // Mar 28, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    I love the Eagle & Tiger balms, even the smells. =-D

  • 21 mari // Apr 2, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    Vaporub is the Hispanic equivalent of Tiger Balm. Stuffy nose, sore/swollen joints, mosquito bites, headaches…versatility in the palm of one’s hand!

  • 22 foxwithcpu // Apr 7, 2008 at 7:17 am

    Sometimes, a good whiff of it can ease motion sickness, too.

    Don’t think I’d ever put it on my tongue like some old people do though.

  • 23 Jason // Apr 9, 2008 at 5:03 am

    Don’t under estimate the power of the balm !!!

  • 24 CNM // Apr 12, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    I was always given White Flower my ailments. It smells just like Tiger Balm!

  • 25 mogo // Apr 17, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    In my house, it was all about the Yee Tin oil. Yee Tin, Tiger Balm, and Salon Pas — the holy trifecta of smelly cures. And occasionally that red stuff for when you scraped your knees — don’t remember what it was called.

  • 26 Justin // Apr 18, 2008 at 12:59 am

    i love salon pas!

  • 27 carmen // May 23, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    Tiger Balm the stuff of miracles :]

  • 28 anon. // Sep 9, 2008 at 1:21 am

    great alternative to vicks when rolling. :p

  • 29 tracy // Nov 19, 2008 at 12:36 am

    My dad actually has the expression.

    The sole purpose of a human being to have a belly button is for eagle balm!

  • 30 Kvietgrl // Nov 19, 2008 at 1:13 am

    lol that’s really funny, tracy!


  • 31 Strings Calderon // Dec 10, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    I have long dreads and sometimes they get caught when im sleeping and I wake up almost paralyzed…hahaha….Yea…so I swear by Tiger Balm anytime my neck, shoulder or back are sore.

    Which one came first the Tiger or the Eagle?

    Sorry if it sounds like a joke…Im wondering which one is stronger and which one is the original?

  • 32 TheSumanShow // Dec 21, 2008 at 5:20 am

    Don’t forget Vick’s. For many Filipinos, Vick’s was the cure-all for many ailments ranging from a common cold, mosquito bite, sore throat, and achy muscles. Currently research is being conducted on its medicinal qualities towards AIDS and HIV.


  • 33 Mira // Feb 3, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    I’ve never used (or seen) Eagle Balm but I know Blacks and Indians swear by Vicks Vaporub, which is essentially the same cure-all formula that no properly run household should be without. When I first went to college my dad’s first priority was to make sure I had a lifetime supply of Vicks for my suite. So what if you smell like an old person? That stuff works!

  • 34 ellen. // Mar 20, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    this is in my bathroom cabinet RIGHT NOW.

  • 35 PearlynRae // Mar 23, 2009 at 5:51 am

    i completely agree with the Vicks comments,

    itchy mosquito bite? put vicks on it….
    tummy ache? put vicks on it…
    blocked nose? put vicks under it…
    bad cough? put vicks on your chest…

    i have my vicks container in my bedside drawer… so do my parents. i think we have like 3 tubs in all currently in use… i don’t know how many my mom has stored though :|

  • 36 Livv // Apr 9, 2009 at 5:54 am

    hahahah this is sooo true

  • 37 Yashmine // Jul 5, 2009 at 2:03 am

    LOL. It’s so funny finding out my very own habit written here. Can’t say more. Great job!

  • 38 Ameera // Aug 2, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    im half chinese and half paki and i always use this stuff wen my legs ache. it really DOES work! but it takes ages to wash off your hands and sometimes i rub my eyes without realising and DAMN it stings!

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    The best hair Straighteners.

  • 40 ellie // Oct 7, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    stomach ache is one of the major symptoms of morning sickness that we usually experience during pregnancy, I’m glad there are natural to morning sickness treatment.

  • 41 // Mar 10, 2011 at 4:42 am

    Morning sickness is a misnomer since the symptoms can act up any time, even at night. If you are having a hard time coping with the
    morning sickness week then try some natural treatment for morning sickness. It’s a safer approach than taking medications during pregnancy.

  • 42 waffo // Sep 13, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Oh no, not Eagle Balm. In Vietnamese, we call it “green oil” and I practically ran away from the stuff as there’s something in it that gives me a rash when it touches my skin. I have to use the brown oil instead when I get a bruise or a stomachache.

  • 43 Naresh // Sep 21, 2011 at 3:52 am

    I need Eagle balm in delhi, Please let me know the address for your supplier in delhi.

  • 44 LatinaHispanica // Nov 27, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    This may well be the blog post that rings so true to Latinos, especially Dominicans. Believe it or not, Tiger Balm is big there too – brought to us courtesy of our Chinese immigration – it’s called “Flecha” (literally “Arrow”) and it’s put on every body part in pain except your eyes. Ditto on the Vicks-vapo-rub; I have cousin who puts it on each night to breathe better.

    Too funny.

  • 45 Lim Lynn // Oct 23, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Eagle Ointment seems to be the better choice for aches headache, stomachache instant reliever. Tiger Balm is better choice for mosquito bites unless you stop scratching it after applying the ointment

  • 46 ilovehorseyrides // Sep 27, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    My older relatives’ houses smells like tiger balm

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