Popular for many generations, we uncover the secret behind these herbal remedies. By Dawn Chen
Don’t scoff at mum’s stash of herbal remedies. Watsons pharmacist Emelyn Wong shares the science behind what these much-loved remedies contain, and the ailments they’re supposed to be best for. Now, you know why mum’s magic potions work best!
Axe Brand Universal Oil: To get relief from tummy aches
Said to relieve giddiness, headaches, travel sickness, tummy ache, and blocked nose, the medicated oil’s sharp smell comes from a blend of menthol, camphor and eucalyptus. It also has methyl salicylate. When used in high concentrations, it has a rubefacient effect as it increases blood circulation to alleviate joint and muscle aches.
Mopiko: To stop the itch of mosquito bites
When you’ve been attacked by mozzies, the itch can be unbearable. Instead of clawing at the bite, apply an ointment with soothing properties like Mopiko. It contains menthol, which gives skin a cooling sensation as it relieves itch and pain. Another ingredient, camphor, is antibacterial and prevents infections when bites become sores from scratching, as well as helps your skin heal faster.
Tiger Balm White: To ease sore muscles
Besides menthol, another pain-relieving ingredient in Tiger Balm White is cajuput oil. When applied, it creates a mild inflammation on your skin, and produces a warm sensation that distracts you from underlying muscle aches.
Zam-Buk Medicated Ointment: To get rid of bruises
One of its main active ingredients is eucalyptus oil, which has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Zam-Buk is also known for being antiseptic, thanks to camphor and thyme oils. The ointment is sticky because of colophony, a glazing agent with a waxy coating that provides surface protection for open wounds.
St Luke’s Prickly Heat Powder: To alleviate heat rash
This is an army boy’s must-have, thanks to its cooling effect. In addition to menthol and camphor, it features triclocarban, an antibacterial ingredient commonly found in soap, as well as kaolin, a mineral derived from clay. Often used to soothe diaper rash and itchiness in the nether regions, kaolin absorbs impurities and excess moisture.
Qing Cao You: To treat minor cuts
Great for minor cuts, bites, and burns, it helps speed up healing. It’s also used to relieve an itch. Also known as Double Prawn Herbal Oil, and containing menthol and camphor, its secret weapon is rhubarb extract. Besides being anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, its astringent properties help shrink body tissue around the affected area to reduce bleeding.