Making a Herbal Liniment

A natural herbal liniment can be used to safely relieve muscle aches and pains. Making your own at home is not difficult.

Homemade liniments are made by infusing herbs in a base like oils. The finished oil can be used to rub into the skin to help heal bruises, arthritis, rheumatism, sprains and over worked muscles.

A lot of recipes recommend using rubbing alcohol as the liniment base. Rubbing alcohol is flammable and can irritate the skin. Inhalation of the fumes can cause drowsiness, shortness of breath and other complications. Given all these precautions why would you use it as a liniment base to rub on your skin?

Natural options are the use of nourishing oils. Almond and grape seed oils are my favorite for making herbal liniment. They provide healing properties of their own.

Witch Hazel Extract helps with ache and other skin aliments and is another natural base for herbal liniments.

Bases for Herbal Liniment

Sweet Almond Oil can be use by itself or mixed with other oils. It absorbs into the skin for soft and smooth skin and is slow to go rancid. Almond oil helps relieve skin irritations, inflammation and relieves muscular aches and itching. It has very good emollient properties.  

Grape seed oil is rich in vitamin E an antioxidant, has a low rancid factor and is economical. It can be purchased in the local grocery store. Grape seed oil helps in healing and is good used as a rubbing liniment.

Witch Hazel Extract (Hamamelis virginiana) produced from the leaves and bark of the North American Witch Hazel shrub. Relieves itching, swelling and heals bruises.

Healing Herbs for Herbal Liniments

Comfrey (Symphytum uplandicum x); parts used: leaves and root. Has antioxidant properties and soothes painful joints.

Cayenne (Capsicum frutescens); parts used: Fruit. Topical applications for pain relief, diabetic neuropathy and arthritis. Aids in treating herpes, shingles and rheumatism.

Mullein (Verbaascum thapsus); parts used: leaves, flowers. Infused in oil mullein makes a good wound healer that helps ear infections and hemorrhoids.

Plantain ( Plantago spp.); parts used: seeds, leaves. Plantain helps to relieve pain of insect bites and is a wonderful remedy for cuts, and skin infections.

Calendula (calendula officinalis); parts used: flowers. Calendula has antiseptic and antifungal properties. Used in infusions, creams and ointments. Heals wounds, detoxifies.

Arnica (arnica montana); parts used: Root, flowers. Arnica is used externally for bruising, and trauma to skin that is unbroken.

Chickweed ( Stellaria media); parts used: leaves. Cooling, antiseptic herb used to treat inflammations, relieve itching, blisters, boils, and abscesses.

White Willow Bark (Salix alba); parts used: bark. Used for the treatment of pain (particularly low back pain and osteoarthritis), headache, and inflammatory conditions, such as bursitis and tendonitis.

Peppermint, Mints (Mentha piperita); parts used: Leaves. Used for muscle pain.

The liniment recipes below can be made with infused oils by following the directions for making infused oils. You can infuse your oils for each liniment recipe by adding the herbs to your oils and then use the hot process or cold process method.

I like to infuse the herbs all together for each recipe. After the oils are infused and strained, add the essential oils.


Joint Pain Liniment

¼ cup dried St Johns wort

¼ cup dried comfrey leaves

20-40 drops of Lavender essential oil

Ear oil and liniment

1 bulb of garlic about 6 cloves

¼ cup dried mullein flowers

1/8 cup dried willow bark

Small batches of oil can be infused over a double broiler. I use a 2 quart glass casserole dish placed over a pan of simmering water.

Cover and let simmer for 2 to 3 hours. Remove the dish from the heat and let the oil cool down until you can comfortably touch it. Strain through a cotton cloth and bottle. Add 4 drops of Benzion essential oil to help preserve and extend the shelf live.

Herbal liniment can be stored in a plastic container with a flip lid for easier usage or any glass container in a cool dark cupboard. For a cool liniment store your oil in the fridge.

Herbal oils can also be made into salves for cuts and bruises. They make good first aid creams.

Try combinations of healing herbs and make some recipes of your own. 

› Herbal Liniment