Product Primer: Po Sum On

Product Primer: Po Sum On

"Po Sum On", Pour some on?:

The name of this product sounds like a mispronunciation of "pour some on", which seems appropriate enough and is easy to remember. 

But, this is the Cantonese pronunciation for what is called in mandarin Bao Xin An You, or "Protect the Heat's Peace" Oil.  

Po Sum On is easily one of the most recognizable and familiar Chinese Medicine products on the market.  

Po Sum On should be the very first item to stock in your Chinese Medicine cabinet.

What is it?:

Po Sum On is an example of a warming liniment for improving circulation.  Improving circulation is a critical factor in healing.  Po Sum On also has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin.

Po Sum On is used to treat joint and muscle aches, used for osteoarthritis, neuralgia (nerve pain), and traumatic injuries (such as sprains).


Peppermint Oil
Tea (seed) Oil
Dragon's Blood
Cinnamon Oil


Ingredient Effects:

  • Peppermint Oil - This is a well-known antispasmodic (spasm relief) and analgesic (pain relief).  Peppermint oil has also been used to alleviate headache, back pain, neuralgia when applied externally, and intestinal spasms when taken internally.
  • The main active ingredient in Peppermint Oil is Menthol, which comprises up to 30% of the total essential oils from the peppermint plant.  
  • Most topical analgesics rely on herbs containing menthol, with a total content of around 2%.  Po Sum On contains nearly 15% menthol, making it quite potent.
  • When applied on the skin, menthol at first causes a cooling sensation, followed by a warming sensation as the blood flow increases.

  • Tea (seed) Oil - Tea oil comes mainly from the seeds of the tea plant.  It has a light color and fragrance, and a consistency like olive oil.  This oil acts as a carrier oil in Po Sum On.
  • Tea Oil has many culinary uses as it boasts very low levels of saturated fats, no trans-fats, and contains high levels of omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids.

  • Dragon's Blood - Dragon's Blood is the resin from Daemonorops draco, which is commonly used to promote blood circulation and tissue regeneration while relieving pain.

  • Cinnamon Oil - This is a warming stimulant to circulation and an analgesic.

  • Scute, Licorice - Both these herbs alleviate skin inflammation


Side Effects:

There are no known side effects for using Po Sum On topically (on the skin, external use only).

Although one should seek medical attention if a severe allergic reaction occurs. 


How to use/Directions:

Simply massage the oil into muscles to relieve pain and provide deep penetrating warmth.

May be used 3 to 4 times daily. For external use only.



For more than a hundred years, with its well-known Medicated Oil and Healing Balm, Po Sum On has been an integral part of Hong Kong people’s life and has become a must-have in every household’s medicine cabinet.  

Back In the early 20th century during which Chinese and Western proprietary medicine had yet to become commonplace, medicine prescription was a tiresome process for patients, regardless of the severity of illness.

When ailments struck, whether it be a cold and fever, bronchial cough, dizziness or abdominal pain, patients had to first seek a doctor in Chinese medicine, get prescribed medicine from a herbal shop, then bring the herbs back to their home for herbal decoction.  This was a very labor-intensive process.

Appreciating the difficulty, Mr. Kwok Chu Nam, founder of Po Sum On and an expert in Chinese herbal medicine, developed a topical oil with a fine blend of medicinal herbs to treat a variety of ailments, naming it the “Po Sum On Medicated Oil”, an oil to assure the well-being of the whole family.

The product’s therapeutic effectiveness was proven, and in 1907, the “Po Sum On Medicine Factory” was officially registered as a Hong Kong manufacturer, with its first shop opening at Li Yuen Street West, Central.

In 1910, the company adopted the image of a bouncing, happy-looking, heart-warming Chinese boy (Tóngzǐ) as its registered trademark, a symbol of lasting prosperity and joy in traditional Chinese culture.

In the ensuring years, Po Sum On’s operations expanded throughout Southeast Asia, establishing outlets and factories in Guangzhou, Vietnam and Macau.

The brand continues to grow in the 1950s and beyond, reaching every corner of the world from Taiwan to Australia, North America and Europe.

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