DIY Tiger Balm Recipe

In the realm of survival and self-reliance, physical well-being is paramount. Sore muscles and minor aches can significantly impede one’s ability to perform essential tasks, making an effective remedy like Tiger Balm a must-have in any survival kit. This comprehensive guide not only explores the roots of Tiger Balm’s effectiveness but also provides detailed recipes for crafting your own, ensuring you’re well-equipped to maintain physical comfort even when traditional resources are unavailable.


Tiger Balm’s legacy as a soothing agent for aches and pains stretches back to the 1800s. Known for its unique blend of herbal ingredients that create a sensation of warmth and coolness, it has been a staple in the management of muscle discomfort. In survival situations, access to such remedies may be limited, thus understanding how to replicate Tiger Balm using available resources becomes invaluable.

What Makes Tiger Balm Work?

The efficacy of Tiger Balm lies in its blend of essential oils and a base composed of petroleum jelly and paraffin. These oils are not analgesics like ibuprofen but act as counter-irritants, distracting the body from pain by stimulating sensations such as warmth and coolness. The key components include:

  • White Camphor and Menthol: Act as the primary active ingredients, inducing sensations that distract from pain.
  • Cinnamon or Cassia, Clove, and Cajeput: These contribute to the balm’s warming sensation, with clove oil adding analgesic properties.

Understanding Counter-Irritants

Counter-irritants work by causing mild irritation or inflammation to the skin, which distracts the nerves from deeper pains or aches in the muscles and joints. This method of pain relief is particularly useful for muscular strains, sprains, and soreness.

Crafting Your DIY Tiger Balm

Using Petroleum Jelly as a Base

A simple method involves enhancing Vicks VaporRub with additional essential oils to mimic Tiger Balm’s therapeutic effects. Alternatively, mixing essential oils with vaseline in a 50/50 ratio allows for a customizable remedy. The proportions of oils can be adjusted based on the original Tiger Balm recipe.

Opting for a Beeswax Base

For those who prefer natural bases, a combination of beeswax with coconut and olive oils serves as a skin-friendly alternative. This method requires melting the beeswax with the oils, adjusting the mixture’s consistency, and then blending in the essential oils.

Selecting Essential Oils

For Cooling Sensations:

  • Eucalyptus
  • Tea Tree
  • Sandalwood
  • Vetiver

For Warming Effects:

  • Black Pepper
  • Chilli Seed (Capsaicin)
  • Ginger
  • Cardamom

These alternatives provide flexibility in creating a Tiger Balm variant tailored to your needs, especially when some traditional ingredients are hard to source.

Essential Oils for Preppers

Beyond their use in Tiger Balm, essential oils offer a plethora of health benefits that can be pivotal in survival situations. Their anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antimicrobial properties make them versatile tools for natural healing and relief.

  • Clove Oil: Especially useful for dental pain, thanks to its analgesic and antimicrobial properties. A staple in any first aid kit, it exemplifies the multifunctionality that survivalists value in their gear.

DIY Tiger Balm Recipes

Here, we detail two recipes for making your own Tiger Balm, tailored to different preferences and available materials.

Recipe 1: Petroleum Jelly-Based Tiger Balm


  • Vaseline or Vicks VaporRub
  • Essential oils (camphor, menthol, cinnamon, clove, and cajeput)


  1. Start with a base of Vaseline (for a neutral base) or Vicks VaporRub (which already contains some essential oils).
  2. Add essential oils according to the listed proportions, aiming for a total essential oil concentration of about 50%.
  3. Mix thoroughly until all components are well blended.

Recipe 2: Beeswax and Natural Oils Tiger Balm


  • Beeswax
  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Essential oils (as above)


  1. Heat a pot of water to about 150°F (65°C).
  2. Place a glass jar in the water, adding coconut and olive oils, then beeswax.
  3. Stir until the beeswax melts, adjusting the consistency with more wax or oil as needed.
  4. Mix in the essential oils, maintaining the 50% concentration.

Concluding Thoughts

Creating your own Tiger Balm not only prepares you for survival scenarios but also opens up a world of customization. Experiment with the ratios and ingredients to find the blend that best suits your needs, offering relief and comfort even in the most challenging circumstances.

Further Reading and Resources

For more information on the benefits and uses of essential oils, as well as detailed survival tips, consider the following resource:

  • National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI): Offers scientific studies on the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of various essential oils.

By integrating these DIY practices into your survival strategy, you ensure not only relief from physical discomfort but also a deeper connection to the natural world and its healing capabilities. has been live since September 2011, we specialise in both expert prepper guides, and a daily curated feed of the best prepper content online.