Volatile oils are just oil extracts from different parts of a plant or tree - like olive oil.  They are used in insect repellents, perfumes, anti-inflammatory ointments, and so forth.  


Depends on the plant.  There are too many uses of volatile oils to mention.


A common examples are chamazulene (German chamomile), lavender, eucalyptus, menthol (mint), camphor, so on...you get the idea.

Personal Experience

As a child, Tiger Balm was what we keep in the house for all sorts of ailments -from common colds, coughs, headaches, to muscle and join pain.  There are many tiger balm products, most of them contain the following: menthol, carrier oil, clove bud oil, camphor, and mint oil.  Below are a few links on Tiger Balm.  The odor is extremely strong, but it's effective.  

I took my 90 year old grandmother to visit my sister in Wisconsin.  On the plane, she decided that she felt a bit dizzy, so she took out her Kwan Loong oil without hesitation and started applying it on her forehead.  I could barely stand the odor and I felt bad for those around us.  No one said anything, for which I was thoroughly grateful.  

Here are a few links to tiger balm:

Kwan Loong Oil

Kwan Loong oil - this is what I grew up with

White flower oil - this is what I grew up with

Livestrong.com- talks about the ingredients in greater detail

Thepracticalherbalist.com - how to make tiger balm at home


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