What are the Different Types of Liniment Oil?

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  • Written By: Sonal Panse
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 July 2019
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Less viscous than an ointment and similar in viscosity to a lotion, a liniment oil is generally rubbed or massaged on various parts of the body to relieve assorted aches and pains. While these are convenient and effective enough as painkilling liniment remedies, some people prefer to go for herbal homemade liniment. These types of liniment are prepared using natural ingredients, each selected to enhance the analgesic liniment properties.

Generally, a homemade liniment is a mix of essential oils, carrier oils and a thickening wax. The essential oils are obtained from stimulating herbs like eucalyptus, cayenne, lobelia, sweet marjoram, vetiver and menthol. The herbs are first crushed and soaked in a medium, usually olive oil; any other vegetable oil will work equally well. The essential oils are collected and added to a grain alcohol. Rum and vodka can be used for this purpose, but not rubbing alcohol if the liniment oil is to be kept all-natural.


Essential oils are used since they heat up when rubbed over the affected area, warming the skin and improving the blood circulation; this can relax the muscles and reduce the ache. Carrier oils include the unrefined, organic oils of olive, almond, jojoba, primrose and avocado. These oils are added to help bring down any inflammation and to soothe the skin; the essential oils are strong and, if used on their own, they are likely to cause skin irritation. The wax is added to thicken the liniment for easy application. The liniment oil, thus prepared, is stored in a glass bottle with an airtight cap.

Natural ingredients make for a soothing liniment that is perfectly safe to use. It can be rubbed on the forehead, massaged on the back or applied to aching teeth. It can be used to treat insect bites, burns, bruises and sprained muscles. Apart from humans, the liniment oil can also be used to treat animals, such as horses. The liniment oil will promote healing, without causing any kind of adverse reactions.

On the other hand, commercial preparations must be used strictly according to the printed instructions or according to a physician prescribed liniment dosage. Commercial liniments contain chemicals that may prove to be harmful if used in excess. Unless the manufacturer specifically recommends it, it is advisable not to take commercial liniment oils internally.


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Post 2

@Pippinwhite -- Capsicum? Really? Man, that's unreal. I guess it's along the same lines as a hot mustard poultice or something, though, which is another old home remedy for aching muscles, or chest congestion.

Thanks for the heads-up, though. If I ever think I need liniment oil, I'll definitely check the label for capsicum. Does it smell as bad as Ben-Gay or Icy Hot? That stuff stinks. I think it's the camphor in it. Could be the eucalyptus, but probably the camphor, since it smells like congestion salve you put under your nose when you have a cold. Smells like old people.

Post 1

I've heard of liniment all my life, but I'd never used any until my husband pulled a muscle in his back. I got some from the locally owned drugstore and put it on his back. He said it helped, eventually, but burned like fire! I looked at the ingredients, and lo and behold, it had capsicum in it! That's the stuff that makes hot peppers hot! I wish it had said something on the front label. I might have gotten something else.

So my tip for choosing any kind of liniment is to read the label and make sure it doesn't have too much capsicum in it! That stuff is harsh!

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