China-Gel is distributed by China-Gel LLC and is a made Illinois. It is marketed as "an herbal topical pain reliever that incorporates modern technology with ancient pain relieving concepts of Chinese medicine helping to relieve muscle and joint pain and enhance healing."
It was developed by Dr. Paul M. Tullio, a chiropractor who studied acupuncture and the science of herbs in the treatment of human ailments and the control of pain.
China-gel includes several herbs such as lavender, which helps mask the strong odor of the active ingridents listed next.
CHINA-GEL ACTIVE INGREDIENTS
CAMPHOR This waxy solid has a strong aromatic odor. It is found in the wood of the evergreen tree Cinnamomum camphora; Dryobalanops aromatica; Ocotea usambarensis; and dried rosemary leaves (Rosmarinus officinalis).
It is a large contributor to the product's scent, but it is also easily absorbed through skin and produces a cool-feeling like menthol.
Speaking of menthol, this organic compound is made synthetically or obtained from mint oils.
Menthol stimulates the transient receptor potential channel melastatin 8 (TRPM8). This receptor is responsible for the well-known cooling sensation it provokes when inhaled, eaten, or applied to the skin.
Menthol also has weak analgesic (pain-killing) effects due to select activation of the κ-opioid receptor. This receptor is a protein that mediates a variety of effects including changing our perception of pain, consciousness, motor control, and mood.
CHINA-GEL SIDE EFFECTS
There are no known major side effects for using China-Gel topically (on the skin, external use only). Although one should seek medical attention if severe allergic reaction occurs. Not a good idea to use on broken or damaged skin, and be sure to keep it clear of the eyes - ouch.
I found an established body of research that may suggest the use of menthol and camphor for mild pain relief. Given the very low risk and very limited side effects, it would seem worth a try for individuals seeking a complementary and/or off-the-shelf product for pain relief.
You can purchase China-Gel at most major pharmacies. You can also purchase it on Amazon.