Tiger Vs. Man

Posted: December 8, 2015 in Reviews
Tags: , ,

As much as I would have liked to, I did not witness a tiger fighting a man and travel to the computer to write about it. Rather, I compared the active ingredients of two products – Tiger Balm and J.R. Watkin’s Menthol Camphor Medicated Cough Suppressant Rub. We have both of them, because we use the Watkin’s for congestion and the tiger balm for aches.

Recently my dad hurt his knee working outside. It was swelling, so he first put some of the J.R. Watkin’s stuff  on it, and it’s been helping. Because this product contains menthol and camphor, it works on aches and pains as well as congestion.

My mom, however, used to use Tiger Balm in college, so we wanted to see what the ingredients are in both. It turns out the two active ingredients in both of the products are menthol and camphor. They both act in J.R. Watkin’s products as an analgesic (painkiller) and an antitussive (relieves cough). In Tiger Balm, they both act as a topical analgesic.

In Tiger Balm, the menthol content is %10, and the camphor is %11. In Watkin’s salve, though, camphor is %5.3 and menthol is %2.8. It looks like the Tiger Balm is a lot more potent, but there are also a lot more warnings. For the Watkin’s stuff, the only warnings are, “Do not:

  • take by mouth or place in nostrils
  • apply to wounds or damaged skin
  • bandage tightly. Avoid contact with eyes.”

It also says, “Do not use

  • for persistent or chronic cough as occurs with smoking asthma, or emphysema
  • if cough is accompanied by excessive phlegm unless directed by a physician.”

The rest of the warnings for the Watkin’s salve are pretty obvious. However, there are a lot of warnings for the Tiger Balm that I don’t understand, one being, “Do not use 1 hour prior to bathing or 30 minutes after bathing.” Why would that be?

The only inactive ingredients in J.R. Watkin’s Menthol Camphor Rub are paraffin and petrolatum, and in Tiger Balm they have Cajuput Oil, Cassia Oil, Clove Oil, Dementholised Mint Oil and Paraffin Petrolatum. If I was a scientist, that would probably mean something to me, but I’m not. As such, I really have no idea which product is better, or if they’re both the same.

In any case, the menthol camphor ointment does work very well for inflammation, coughs, and sore muscles. The Tiger Balm I haven’t used, but when my mom did use it for sore muscles, she liked it.

Maybe just own both!


  1. atkokosplace says:

    You don’t want to use 30 min before bathing because the burn you will feel would make even a tiger cry! I’d say use both. I make a version of it. And even if the tiger balm is stronger and has more warnings, I’d still use it for most things. Great review. I’m always entertained by your writing. Hope your week is going awesomely.

    • Oh. That is really good to know. Thanks! If you have your version posted, can we have the link? And if you don’t, well… you know what I’m going to say next.

      • atkokosplace says:

        Hahahaha. I make all types of salves and lotions and creations. At the urging of others, I’m considering going public with it. But, still not sure! I also do paramedical tattooing, among other things, so needless to say, plate is pretty full! I will share some things in the future. I’m hopeful for 2016! 🙂

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