Why pack Vicks VapoRub or Tiger Balm for travel?
Both of these similar ointments are helpful for a wide range of medical conditions. The last thing you want while traveling is to have to go shopping when you have a simple medical need. It’s far easier to pull a multi-purpose item like this out of your bag than to have to go out and read labels in other languages or describe your symptoms to a someone whose native language is not your own.
Interestingly, both products are approximately the same age. Tiger Balm is just about a decade older.
- Help with congestion
- Help with aches (that’s something I think of Tiger Balm for more than VapoRub
- Keep mosquitoes off your skin
- Clear your sinus a bit, helping with sinus headaches
- Dry up acne
- Break up a bruise
- Help with fungus such as athlete’s foot
About Vicks VapoRub
If you’re American, you likely grew up with the soothing and comforting of VapoRub on your chest when you had a cough. It has a lot of other uses as well. Although I never heard it referred to as “herbal” it does seem to be. Perhaps it has an inactive ingredient that prevents them from using the term, or maybe it’s just that the term herbal wasn’t on our radar 100 years ago when it was branded.
You can learn about what it does, how it works and how to use it on this FAQ page on the Vicks US website.
According to the Vicks UK website:
Quoting their site:
“Vicks VapoRub contains four active ingredients: Camphor, Turpentine oil, Levomenthol and Eucalyptus oil.
- Levomenthol and camphor calm a cough
- Eucalyptus oil and Levomenthol relieve nasal congestion (blocked nose)
- Eucalyptus oil relieves catarrh“
And per their history page:
“Vicks was created in the United States in the 1890’s by a pharmacist called Lunsford Richardson. Since then, Vicks has helped millions of consumers with their cold and flu symptoms across the 5 continents. Its expertise has made it the Nr 1 Selling Cough and Cold brand in the world.”
If you grew up in Hong Kong or other parts of Asia, you knew Tiger Balm. Its main ingredients are: Tiger Balm contains camphor, menthol, cajuput, oil, and clove oil.
Uses for Vicks VapoRub
Some uses for VapoRub are discussed in these articles:
- Reference.com’s alternative uses for Vicks VapoRub
- Reference.com’s unusual uses for Vicks VapoRub
- PeoplesPharmacy.com novel uses list
- Natural-holistic-health.com article about uses
About Tiger Balm
Tiger Balm is the (or one of the) world’s leading analgesic remedies.
I discovered Tiger Balm in either Thailand or Hong Kong. It was around 90 years old when I discovered it.
Per the Tiger Balm website, its inventor, Aw Chu Kin, was a Chinese herbalist who’d worked in the Chinese Emperor’s court. They don’t say this but I expect he likely created it there. Anyway, the site says he moved to Rangoon and starting to sell it in the late 1870s. It became better known when in 1908, his sons started to distribute it in Malaya, Hong Kong, Batavia, Siam and various cities in China. It was one of these sons that names it Tiger Balm.
In 1987 while traveling in Hong Kong on my first 3-year round-much-of-the-world solo travels, I visited the unique Tiger Balm Gardens. I recall a whimsical garden that was fun to explore. It was just one incarnation of the gardens, which are now demolished in favor of residential development. Sad, as is so much that we lose.
Uses for Tiger Balm
Some uses for Tiger Balm are discussed in these articles:
- Tiger Balm’s page of uses for Tiger Balm White
- Tiger Balm’s page of uses for Tiger Balm Red
- Tiger Balm’s page of uses for Tiger Balm Soft
- Tiger Balm’s page of massage techniques using these products
Packing your Vicks VapoRub or Tiger Balm
It’s been years since I have used VapoRub but as I recall, it’s creamier than Tiger Balm. I have some concern that it may melt in extreme heat.
Make sure you buy/pack only a screw-top jar. There’s too much opportunity for the pull-off lid to come off in your bag.
Tiger Balm only comes in a thick glass jar with a metal screw top. I have carried it in extreme heat and it has not melted enough to leak through the screw-top. However, I have found my container has taken on the menthol smell of the Tiger Balm, so there may be a bit of leak.
Remember, I always recommend putting your creams and shampoos in a hard-side plastic container that has a tight lid. I packed my Tiger Balm in such a container.
Buying Vicks VapoRub or Tiger Balm
Both are available in my counties.
In the USA, it comes in:
- 1.76 OZ (50 g) — comes in Regular and Lemon, but I am unfamiliar with lemon.
- 3.53 OZ (100 g)
- 6 OZ (170 g)
Tiger Balm is available in many common Pharmacy stores in the US and elsewhere. There are about four variations of Tiger Balm. I have had the original white and the red. I prefer the white even though they state that the red doesn’t stain.
There are several other Tiger Balm and Vicks products as well.