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Tuesday, November 21, 2017


I went golfing today with a colleague from the University of Hawaii, and he said he had been using Tiger Balm for more than half a century, and it works.  At the age of 14 he began to have migraines. and just a dab at his temples, a short rest in bed, and the pain and vision problem were gone.  He said this salve lasts forever, for he has bought several small jars over time, stores them here and there for emergency use, and they all work.  Surprising that he does not keep one in his golf bag.

This piqued my curiosity, for I've long contended that medical proof linking a particular ingredient or more from a sold product promising to cure your ailments was not necessarily all that essential for effectiveness. There is something about a  psychosomatic response that works.  The placebo effect skews medical studies, because the mind is something experimentalists can't factor out of the study.

The preeminent example is a bar of soap placed at the bottom of your bed to prevent leg cramps.  I rank this fix as a modern-day miracle, for there is no scientific proof for something that actually works.  If Snopes is befuddled but approbative, then you might as well also accept this nonsensical solution to be real.  And, incidentally, don't do what that girl is doing.  Place the soap (some say Ivory is best--hooha) in a cloth bag, and safety pin it below the sheet at the bottom of the bed.  You don't need to feel the actual soap if you work your mind right.

Now, it is possible that Tiger Balm does have a key chemical that works for everything:  headaches, aching backs, joint pain from arthritis, muscle stiffness, sinus congestion and mosquito bites, among a thousand other ailments.  Sure sounds like snake oil. 

It turns out that American Snake Oil Frauds in the 1800's actually ran into Chinese water snake liniment dealers, and learned a thing or two.  The Oriental version actually included 20% of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), an omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid that is today, with DHA, the key fish oil components that are the nutritional rage today.  Incidentally, snake oil tended to be mineral oil, beef fat, red pepper, turpentine and camphor, or nothing related to snakes, and might have, too, a psychosomatic benefit.

Okay, so what exactly is the history of Tiger Balm?  A product of many millennia from China?  Well, no.  This all started in Burma, now known as Myanmar.  Aw Chu Kin (left) developed this product in the 1870's and passed it on to his sons (gentle tiger and gentle leopard--photo below, with Aw to the left):  Aw Boon-Haw was born in Rangoon in 1882 and migrated to Malaysia in 1926 where he and Aw Boon-Par, who tended to follow his older brother, began selling Tiger Red Balm. Throw in half a dozen marriages, dominant daughters, World War II, Confucianism, Hong Kong, Singapore and Tiger Balm Gardens (also known as Haw Par Villa Gardens, now down to two, in Singapore and China, as the Hong Kong site is closed, but remains as a museum), and you have this miracle lotion that is better than snake oil.

Just what is Tiger Balm, anyway?  Paraffin petrolatum and vaseline infused with camphor, menthol, menthone and oils from mint, eucalyptus, cajuput, cassia and clove.

Where is it sold?  Almost 100 countries, plus, on the internet.  Try  Ten ounces of Tiger Balm Red Extra Strength Pain Relieving Ointment costs $5, while 19.4 ounces go for $5.90.
Next time I order from Amazon, I'll get the $5 jar.  I've already convinced myself that it should work for whatever ails me.  Stay tuned for my experience.  If Advil cured my flu in two days, just imagine what Tiger Balm can do?

I might add that my University of Hawaii friend indicated that he has held Tiger Balm stock (HAW PAR CORPORATION LTD Common Stock) for some time, and this is part of why he is so rich (well, he didn't quite say it so crassly, and his wife manages their stock profile):

I looked into the future of this stock, and SG Wealth Builder was optimistic.


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