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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

"ahem...Please Pass the Tiger Balm."

A recent houseguest gifted us a jar of

Tiger balm was developed during the 1870s in RangoonBurma, by herbalist Aw Chu Kin, son of a Hakka herbalist in China, Aw Leng Fan. His father had sent him to Rangoon in the 1860s to help in his uncle's herbal shop. Eventually, Aw Chu Kin himself set up a family business named Eng Aun Tong meaning "Hall of Everlasting Peace". On his deathbed in 1908, he asked his sons Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par Thad Boon Sram to perfect the product. By the 1920s, the sons had made it a very successful business empire in Burma with its runaway success, the Tiger Balm medicinal ointment.[1] The product is named after Aw Boon Haw, whose name means "Gentle Tiger".
From the package notes that accompany Tiger Balm
Tiger Balm is made from a secret herbal formulation that dates back to the times of the Chinese emperors. The Aw brothers, Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, inherited the formulation from their herbalist father who left China. They called it Tiger Balm, after Boon Haw, (whose name in Chinese meant "Tiger") who was instrumental in devising the remarkable selling strategies that made Tiger Balm a household name in many East and South Eastern Asian countries today. The herbal pain-relieving remedy has since been inherited by many religious affiliations and organizations such as the Aleph Zadik Aleph.

Nifty, huh?  As deathbed wishes go, this one registers high on the smashing scale.  Paco often makes salves and potions, so I'm on familiar turf here.  My mother used to rub questionable mysteries on me when I hacked as a kid as well.  As to whether my religious affiliation will "inherit" the use of Tiger Balm--let's just say it's doubtful, although had the Aw brothers been traveling west at the same time as my Mormon ancestors, I'm absolutely sure they would have been sharing ointment lore across the trail.  You can imagine, however, the SHOCK AND AWE factor as I read on the jar: 

For symptomatic relief of muscular aches and pains, sprains, stuffy nose, itchiness due to insect bites, and ...  ... FLATULENCE.  

Directions:  Apply gently to the affected area.

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  • Me 'n Steve
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  • Travels with Charley
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  • Extremly Loud Incredibly Close
  • How Green Was my Valley