What is Zheng Gu Shui Liniment?

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  • Written By: Alyssa Simon
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2019
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Zheng gu shui liniment is a medicinal ointment used by some practitioners of holistic medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It is used for the temporary relief of pain and soreness in the muscles. It is also thought by some to aid blood circulation, treat arthritis pain and promote the repair of bone tissue. The words zheng gu shui mean "bone setting solution" in English. The ointment is sold in an alcohol-based liquid form and as a spray.

The main ingredients in zheng gu shui liniment are menthol and camphor. Menthol is an organic compound made from the oils of peppermint or other mint leaves. Camphor is made from the resin of the camphor laurel tree. Both substances are thought to have cooling and analgesic, or pain-relieving, properties.

Menthol and camphor work by triggering nerve endings in the skin that are receptive to cold. The cooling sensation helps to block the feeling of pain. Angelica root is another plant substance commonly added to this liniment. It is also known as dong quai and considered very useful in TCM for pain relief and the reduction of swelling.


Some people use the ointment after exercise or strenuous activity to prevent muscle pain, while others apply it to their feet after prolonged time spent standing. For minor injuries such as sprains, it is recommended that the liniment be applied twice a day to the affected area. The injury should then be wrapped in gauze. There are different thoughts on the length of time zheng gu shui liniment should be left on the affected area. The general consensus seems to be an hour for injuries to the torso and above the waist and an hour and a half for the lower half of the body.

Because the liniment is alcohol-based, the liquid evaporates quickly. It is best to keep the container cap tightly closed when not in use and to store the bottle in a cool and dry spot below 86°F (30°C). Zheng gu shui liniment should not be used on broken skin and is for external use only. It is also a severe eye irritant and dangerous if swallowed. If used more than recommended, side effects such as skin irritation can occur. The liniment is also considered flammable and should not be applied near an open flame.


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Post 2

I was having trouble with knee pain and a friend suggested I try this. She brought me some and in a short time the pain seemed to disappear. I have only used it once but intend to keep trying as it was great to finally get a good night's sleep.

Post 1

Best stuff I've ever used!

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