63 Years of Excellence – The Full History of TYT and Its Herbal Empire

Made with 100% natural and pure herbs, TYT’s flagship products — Herbal Medicated Oil, Confinement Herbal Bath, and Baby Herbal Bath — are undoubtedly the best health solutions for the entire family. That’s the reason why TYT is still loved and trusted by generations of Malaysians today.

With the main focus on women’s health, TYT has a range of products specially catered for each stage most women go through in life: pregnancy, confinement, and motherhood.

Ka Chow Chim and Her Wonderful Recipe

TYT got its start with its founder, Madam Ooi Kim Sow, four generations ago. 

Born into a family of traditional Chinese physicians from China, Madam Ooi got an early start in her career. Her mother, Hong Yang Ma, was famous in the area for her miraculous acupuncture and herbal knowledge. Madam Ooi learned from her mother and was always fondly referred to as ‘Ka Chow Chim’ wherever she went.

In 1924, when Madam Ooi arrived on the shores of Malaya, little did she know that she would start a nationwide remedy empire. She settled in a quaint little Penang kampung and easily befriended the locals despite not knowing much of Bahasa Malaysia.

Madam Ooi found out that her neighbours couldn’t afford to send their sick children to the doctor’s. She then remembered her mother’s recipe for a medicated oil that would help. So, she replaced the alcohol base with baby-safe palm oil and distributed them to her community. It wasn’t long before her neighbours started singing praises of this wonder medicated oil. Soon, neighbouring communities also got to know about ‘Ka Chow Chim’ and her wonder oil.

Very quickly, Madam Ooi became the kampung’s Chinese doctor and opened a small centre where the locals brought their sick children to get treated. 

Madam Ooi, Ka Chow Chim
Madam Ooi, Ka Chow Chim

The Start of an Empire

Madam Ooi passed her oil recipe to her children to continue with the tradition. At that time, her son Choo Boon Hock wasn’t interested because he was busy running his bicycle repair shop. However, as motorcycles began rising in popularity, his customers quickly dwindled in numbers. He then started thinking about his mother’s oil formula safely stashed away in a corner.

Choo Boon Hock set out to learn the tricks of the trade from a sinseh in another Chinese medicine hall. Coming from an English-speaking background, his first challenge was learning the Chinese language in order to understand the trade better.

The late Choo Boon Hock in his Chinese medicine hall
The late Choo Boon Hock in his Chinese medicine hall

Eventually, Choo Boon Hock learned enough to open up his own Chinese medicine hall in 1957. He named it Hong Yang Hoo Teow Yang Tang. Hong Yang Hoo is the name of a valley in China famous for its abundance of medicinal herbs. On the other hand, Teow Yang Tang is the name of his mother’s family’s Chinese medicine hall back in China.

In the 60s, it was quite uncommon for a male sinseh to treat little babies. So, Choo Boon Hock got his wife to help with treating the babies and little kids who came along.

Most of his customers were from the Malay population. Through engaging in friendly conversations with them, he learned that the Malays often used two other ingredients in their treatments, lemongrass and sirih. That’s what inspired him to upgrade his oil recipe. He included these 2 local ingredients and improved the process of extracting oils from the other ingredients. Thus, he changed the dark, oily formula into a more transparent, non-oily formula. He branded his new and improved oil ‘Double Sword’ (Cap Dua Pedang) and it was an instant hit amongst his patients and customers.

The First Herbal Medicated Oil
The first Herbal Medicated Oil

Out of the Woods

Choo Boon Hock was not content with keeping his brand within the confines of his kampung. When his son turned 18, Choo Boon Hock decided to bring his oil to other parts of Malaysia. With his son at the driver’s seat of an old-fashioned Volkswagen van, he introduced his ‘Double Sword’ oil to Perak, Johor, Kelantan, and the rest of Peninsular Malaysia. 

Back then, the easiest and most efficient way of promoting a brand was to attach a hailer onto the top of the van before making their way into the markets and kampungs for weeks at a time. At first, they could only sell a few bottles, but business picked up. Soon enough, father and son would be sending along truckloads of oil to fulfil the increasing demand for their oil.

Peddling bottles of oil from the back of a van in the olden days
Peddling bottles of oil from the back of a van in the olden days

As the years went on, Choo Boon Hock passed the reins to his son Choo Boo Teong. He stayed back at home to continue making the oil whilst the rest of the family helped with the bottling, labelling, and packaging.

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

When Choo Boo Teong’s daughter, June Choo, took over from her father in 1999, she quickly noticed a few issues. The first being there wasn’t a recognisable brand identity for the oil. Consumers all over were calling the Double Sword brand by other names, like ‘scissors’ or ‘keris’ brand. The second problem being sales were starting to dip. After a bit of digging, she realised that the newer generation of the Chinese population wasn’t buying and using their oil anymore because it didn’t seem ‘modern’ enough for them. It was their parents and grandparents who were greatly fond of the oil and made up the majority of Hong Yang Hoo’s sales.

June then made a drastic decision to enter the Malay market. The main reason her father and grandfather hadn’t ventured there yet was due to their lack of understanding of the Malay language. Now, however, June felt more ready than ever to tackle this new territory, starting with Kedah. The Malay population was known to enjoy massages at home from their spouses. Therefore, the chances of them accepting this wonder oil were very high.

The first thing June did was to rebrand ‘Double Sword’ as ‘TYT’, the abbreviation of Teow Yang Tang. She then gave the packaging a modern makeover and contacted Malay radio stations and her distributors to help push the product to Malay consumers. 

June’s daring break into the Malay market yielded results within a few months when the popularity of the TYT Herbal Medicated Oil soared. She then realised that she needed to come up with new products to sustain and keep the business going. Drawing inspiration from a baby expo, June put together the Confinement Herbal Bath with herbs from her Chinese medical hall in a convenient bath sachet. It became immensely popular with her customers as soon as the product hit the shelves in 2002.

June Choo, the 4th generation owner of Hong Yang Hoo
June Choo, the 4th generation owner of Hong Yang Hoo

TYT and Its Road to Nationwide Recognition

Ever since then, TYT began rolling out new products every few years based on the customers’ and distributors’ suggestions. The Roll-On Herbal Medicated Oil came about in 2004, followed by the Herbal Foot Bath in 2010, the Baby Herbal Bath in 2011, and the Confinement Herbal Bath with Ginger in 2013. All these products proudly obtained their Halal Certification in 2014 by JAKIM Malaysia.

TYT has a range of herbal medicated oils and bath products
TYT’s range of herbal medicated oils and bath products

As of now, TYT’s range of products has won many awards from various reputable organisations over the past few years. They include the Parents’ Choice Awards 2018 for Best Herbal Bath and Best Herbal Medicated Oil, Sin Chew’s Malaysia Health & Wellness Brand Awards 2018 and 2019 for Best Traditional Medicine (Herbal Medicated Oil and Baby Herbal Bath), and the 28 Days International Natal Care Awards 2019 for Favourite Natal Care Product/Service, Best Medicated Bath Formula (Confinement Herbal Bath), and Best Multi-purpose Herbal Oil (Herbal Medicated Oil).

TYT continues to flourish as the years go by. In 2018, the launch of the 3 flavours (Original, Lemongrass, and Red Dates) of Cold-Pressed Ginger drinks, formerly known as Ginger Tea, marked TYT’s official venture into the food and beverage business. These ginger drinks have now quickly become another flagship product besides the Herbal Medicated Oil. Furthermore, the 28-Day Confinement Healing Soup and Postnatal Massage service were also launched in December 2019 in partnership with another licensed Chinese physician in Penang.

What’s the Future for TYT?

With customers from all over Malaysia and overseas like Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, and even Italy, TYT hopes to expand its business to Indonesia next. New products and services are also in planning, with only the comfort, safety, and convenience of our customers in mind. Nature is always the first ingredient on the list of all our products. The next time you come across a TYT product, either online or in a brick-and-mortar store, you’ll know for sure that it contains only the freshest and most natural ingredients in it. It’s safe for people from all walks of life — babies, expectant mummies, as well as the elderly. We care for your family, because we’re family too.

In addition to that, TYT has been looking at biodegradable packaging that causes no adverse effects to the environment without compromising on the quality of the Herbal Medicated Oil. The company aims to go green and use biodegradable packaging for all products within the next few years.

TYT is also starting to shift focus more on expectant mothers and their journey of motherhood. Staying true to our new slogan ‘Caring for Mothers’, there’ll be more products, services, and programs introduced, specially curated for new mothers to help them through the ups and downs. With this, TYT aims to be the leading experts for pre-natal, post-natal, and baby care in Malaysia within the next couple of years. Think mothers, think TYT.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply