Balm is a household drug and contains herbs and several drugs. It has a soft, liquid texture and is available in yellow, white and other colors based on its ingredients. It is fragrant and is commonly used to relieve the symptoms of dizziness, faint, car sick, seasick, nausea and vomiting, and to apply for massage the muscles in order to relieve the symptoms of pain, swelling, fatigue, bruise and insect bites.
History of Balm
According to the history of the balm, it was originated in the Southeast Asian countries. By studying the history of balm in Thailand, there found word “Ya Mong” (same meaning as balm in English). It was first mentioned in the article of the document published on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Haw Par Brothers International Limited, which owns and produces “Tiger Balm”, the world’s first product using the word” Balm “.
Picture from www.tigerbalm.com
The article describes an event in 1800 when a Chinese herbal doctor, Aw Chu Kin, set out to seek his fortune in Myanmar that was ruled by England at that time. He opened a small shop selling herbal medicines in Burma for many years and had three sons, consisting of the oldest brother named Boon Leong followed by Boon Haw and Boon Par, but the eldest brother, Boon Leong, died while he was still a child.
Boon Haw and Boon Par grew and studied at an English school, but Boon Haw was specifically unruly so he was sent back to China while Boon Par learnt and inherited the subject of herbs from his father alone. This is a medical recipe that was passed down from the Chinese Palace, especially the medical recipe used to relieve external pain and general nausea, vomiting and dizziness. When his father died, he continued his father’s business.
At that time, Boon Par learnt the western medicine and researched to improve his own medical mixtures and properties and finally obtained a new product that was the original recipe of balm. Initially, this balm was produced and sold in small square glass bottles and used to relieve external pain, nausea and dizziness. It was popular at the time.
Later, Boon Par sent a letter to his brother, Boon Haw, by asking him to return to assist his business. Since Boon Haw was enterprising with good leadership, as well as Boon Par was experienced about herbs, the drug packed in small square glass bottles was widely known in Myanmar.
After World War 1, they emigrated from Myanmar to operate their business in Singapore. Their business grew and exported their products to various countries around the world. In Thailand, all types of Balm products were often referred to as Balm and the word “Mong” reflects the name of the products originated in Myanmar.
Currently, countries in Asia have produced and sold this balm under several new names. For example, in Thailand there are the productions of balm in many brands, such as Tiger, Golden Cup, and Ling Tue Look Tor.
Ingredients of Balm
1. Camphor flake is a white flake with a hot effect and helps relief of conjunctivitis, expectoration and carminative.
2. Menthol is a white crystalline with fragrance.
3. Borneol is a white flake with fragrance and is used to inhale and relieve dizziness as well as to apply to relieve pain, fatigue and sprain.
4. Paraffin is used as an ingredient of balm to harden the ingredient’s oil.
5. Vaseline is used as an ingredient of balm to prevent the balm content from clotting on contact with air as well as to create the lubricity and ease of massage.
– Wintergreen oil is extracted from the seeds of wintergreen. It is clear and fragrant and can be used to relieve muscle pain, fatigue and sprain.
– Cinnamon oil reduces colic, distension and carminative.
– Clove oil relieves stomach ache and expectoration.
– Eucalyptus oil reduces cold, expectoration, carminative, cures asthma, and chases mosquitoes and insects.
In addition, there may be additional drugs, such as methyl salicylate, for relaxing muscles and relieving pain.
Picture from www.mountainroseblog.com
Camphor is a crystal inserted in the wood of a general camphor tree. It is often in the cracks of the wood and is mostly found in the root’s core followed by in the trunk’s core. The tree’s lower parts near its base have more camphor than the upper parts while the leaves and young shoots have less camphor. Young leaves have less camphor mature ones. Camphor powder is a small round flake with dry white color and may catch to each other as a clump that may break easily. When it is left in the air, it will vaporize completely. It tastes hot and palatable.
Properties of Camphor
Camphor has a tropical taste and is used to apply and rub to cure pain, sprain, swelling, spasm, joint pain, nerve pain, cracked skin, insect bites, and chronic skin diseases. It is also a mild infection anesthesia and is used to discharge sweat, sputum, urine and body air as well as to relieve fever and cold. In addition, it serves to enrich body elements, sexual desire and heart function and is used as an ingredient in a variety of balms, such as Thepjit Balm, and as a local anesthetic and sedative. Moreover, it is used to relieve seizure, nerve pain, joint swelling, muscle spasm, sprain, stomachache and diarrhea and is used to promote lymphatic discharge, blood circulation, and sexual desire enrichment. Furthermore, it is used to discharge sweat and sputum as well as used for enrichment of body elements, treatment of eye diseases, distribution of body air, and discharge of fart. It can also be mixed as hot wax to neutralize the chronic inflammation, pain of muscles, shoulders, chest, tendons and skin, and to cure cracked skin in the winter and poisonous insect bites. Finally, it can be placed in a room or closet to chase the mosquitoes and insects.
Menthol is also called as peppermint camphor and is a white crystalline organic compound with a strong and cool fragrance. Upon inhalation, you will feel cold and sparkling around your mucous membranes of the nose and throat. Its smell and taste like those of peppermint plants, spearmint and other plants of the mentha family. The common name of this plant species is mint and currently there are over 25 species of mint, including peppermint. This plant species can produce essential oil by means of a complex bio-chemical process and this essential oil is known as mint oil, which contains about 40 different substances but most are menthol.
Benefits and Properties of Menthol
– Used in pharmaceutical applications, such as balm, cough syrup, stomachache relief, rubbing oils, itching relief, cold relief, and inhalers.
– Used in cosmetic products, such as cream, sachet, scented soap, lotion and shampoo.
– Use as flavor, such as candy, toothpaste, chewing gum and cigarette.
Generally, Borneol is divided into two types: natural and synthetic Borneols. Both of them are volatile, flammable and soluble in alcohol, petroleum ether and chloroform but insoluble or poorly soluble in water, and has a melting point of 205-209 ° C with a slightly pungent and cool fragrance.
Natural or genuine Borneol is extracted from the following natural plants:
1. Borneol is derived from the sublimation of the rubber of the tree with the scientific name as Dryobalanops Aromatic Gaertn in the family of Dipterocarpaceae. It is a large tree with a height of up to 70 meters with many branches and single leaves. These leaves are located at the top of the tree while the lower leaves are opposite. The leaves are ovate with a smooth edge and red for younger ones. Its flowers are grown at the ends of branches and leaves while its fruits are dry with one seed each. The rubber obtained from the sublimation is transparently crystalline, small, hexagon, and brittle. Borneol has a denser content and quicker sublimation than menthol. It is combustible with much glare and smoke but no ash.
2. Borneol is extracted from the camphor tree with the scientific name as Cinnamomum Camphora (L.) Presl. in the family of Lauraceae.
3. Borneol is extracted from Ngai camphor tree with the scientific name as Blumea balsamifera (L.) DC in the family of Asteraceae.
Synthetic or artificial Borneol is derived from the reduction of dl-camphor into dl-Borneol.
Properties of Borneol
Borneol has a spicy and bitter taste with fragrance. It is a cold drug that acts on the heart and lungs. Its properties include enrichment of heart, relief of hot toxin in the body, penetration of all seven outposts, stimulation of brain and breathing, relief of nausea, dizziness and weak heartbeat, refreshment, and relief of nervousness causing drowsiness, cankered or sore mouth, swollen gums, and inflamed ears and throat. Moreover, it is used to discharge sweat, sputum, body air and fart, and relieve tonsillitis, colic, abdominal distension, stomachache, wounds of venereal diseases, and fresh wounds and blisters. It can also be used as antiseptic for skin diseases and pain, swelling and inflammation relief as well as be used to discharge sweat and sputum, stimulate brain and breathing, and enrich heart. Finally, it is used to relieve anxiety causing drowsiness, dizziness, vertigo and weak heartbeat, cause refreshment, burping and fart, cure colic, stomachache, and fresh, chronic, venereal and tumor wounds.
– Borneol can be used to cure cough and bronchitis by mixing two 2 grams of Borneol and 3 grams of wax as balm and applying it on neck and throat to help relieve such symptoms.
– Refining leaves and young shoots of Nad with steam will result in crystallized Borneol that can be used as a medicine to relieve diarrhea and abdominal pain, discharge body air, or used to apply onto the wound to cure inflammation, bruises and eczema.
– It is used to relieve rash by grinding 3 grams of Borneol and menthol and 30 grams of slippery powder together and applying it onto the skin.
4. Paraffin wax
Paraffin wax is fat refined from petroleum in the group of Alkane Hydrocarbon. It has a formula CnH2n + 2 and a clear and odorless with no taste like wax. Its melting point is 47-64 ° C. It is insoluble in water but soluble in ether, benzene and certain types of ester. Pure paraffin has a good thermal insulation. Normally, paraffin wax is not for direct food contact because it may be contaminated into the food. When ingesting food contaminated with large amounts of this substance, it may cause toxicity to the body. Paraffin wax is also applied to coat many kinds of containers as well as used in production of candles and cosmetics industry.
Vaseline is petroleum jelly that took place in 1859 in Pennsylvania, United States, when discovering the raw material used to make this jelly called rod wax from an oil rig. Later a young chemist, Robert Chesebrough, discovered how to extract such raw material to have a light color and eliminate the residues. He patented his method and presented his product widely.
He burned the material with fire and acid. Later, he used his product for treatment in order to demonstrate its wonder. In 1870, he opened his first manufacturing facility for petroleum jelly and named his product as Vaseline.
Vaseline mixed with balm will help well retain the moisture of balm and prevent the balm from hardening if exposed to low temperatures. Also, it can enhance a property of balm that helps maintain moisture to the skin.
Indications of Balm
1. Inhale to relieve dizziness and dizzy.
2. Rub the muscles to relieve painful and bruised muscles.
3. Apply on the skin to reduce pain and swelling from insect bites.
Precautions of Balm
1. It should be used in an appropriate amount because it could easily cause burns if it is excessively used.
2. Contacting with eyes should be avoided because it can cause severe eye irritation and may cause blindness
3. Inhalation in excessive amounts may cause drowsiness, headache, confusion, blurred vision, and muscle weakness. In addition, a continuous inhalation for a long time may cause effects on the respiratory system.
4. It should not be used with infants.
5. It should be used only when necessary and never be continuously inhaled for a long time. In case of abnormal symptoms after using the balm, stop using it and consult a doctor immediately.
How to make a balm
Tools and materials
1. 3 grams of camphor powder. It has a hot taste and can nourish body elements, treat conjunctivitis, and expel sputum and body air.
2. 12 grams of menthol crystal. It is a white crystalline with cool fragrance.
3. 3 grams of Borneo camphor. It is a small flake with opaque white color and cool fragrance and is inhaled to relieve nausea and externally applied to cure sprains.
4. 15 grams of paraffin wax. It is mixed to help solidify the oil.
5. 50 grams of petrolatum. It makes the oil slippery and easy for applying.
6. 5 grams of Prai oil. It is yellow oil that can cure swelling, sprains and aches and expel body air.
7. 5 grams of methyl salicylate. It is clear oil with pungent odor and can relieve aches and sprains.
8. 2 grams of peppermint oil. It is oil with clear white color and cool fragrance and is inhaled to relieve vertigo, dizziness and fatigue.
9. 2 grams of cassia oil. It is fragrant oil and can relieve colic and expel body air.
10. 2 grams of clove oil. It is clear and fragrant oil that can cure upset stomach and expel sputum.
Essential oils can be obtained from local and available herbs.
How to make Prai oil
1. Ten grams of fresh Prai are sliced and fried in olive oil for about 10 minutes and then moved out off the stove.
2. Prai oil is then filtered to remove its waste and only yellow oil is used.
How to make balm
1. Slice paraffin wax into thin sheets.
2. Boil paraffin wax in a pot with light fire to melt it.
3. Put and stir petrolatum homogeneously.
4. Put and stir camphor powder, menthol crystal and Borneo camphor to melt them and move them out off the stove.
5. Put and stir Prai oil.
6. Put and stir methyl salicylate, peppermint oil, cassia oil and clove oil.
7. Scoop hot oil into a glass bottle, let it cool, and close its lid.
1. During making this sprain treatment balm, water or sweat should not be dropped into the pot because the water may cause the ingredients in the hot pot to disperse.
2. Paraffin wax should be dissolved by light fire because too strong fire may cause fire in the pot while boiling.
3. When making Prai oil, vegetable oil can be used instead of olive oil.
4. Balm should be kept away from direct sunlight.
5. Producers may pack their sprain treatment balms in exotic bottles or containers in order to make them attractive to buy.