Create a Liniment

You may be wondering what a liniment is

A liniment is a defined as a medicated topical preparation that is applied to the skin.  You may also see this called a balm or heat rub, however I would argue that there is a difference.  Liniments are commonly composed of an herb(s) and have an alcohol as the medicinal-extracting property.  We’ll discuss the safety of “rubbing alcohols”, which are commonly used, later in this blog.

Liniments are applied to sore muscles, aches, strains and arthritic pains.  Liniments are not as viscose as lotions, so they’re typically not massaged into the skin.  Some people recommend rubbing into the skin to cause friction induced heat, but applying with a cloth or spray is also recommend.  We sell liniments in spray bottles unless specifically requested by the buyer to place it in a dropper bottle.  In our emergency kits, liniments come in 2 ounce nalgene bottles which are poured onto a cotton ball or cloth or directly onto the body then rubbed in for relief.

What kind of alcohol do I use?

The type of menstruum chosen is important as you’ll need to choose one that will extract the herbal constituents from the plant material.  Rubbing alcohol, 90%, is commonly used because it is extracts the medicinal properties and is both astringent and evaporates quickly from the skin.  However, there is concern about using rubbing alcohol on the body as concerns have been raised pointing rubbing alcohol as cancer-causing.  If rubbing alcohol is a concern to you, try another type of alcohol – such as vodka, which is a favorite of mine!  I prefer a grain-free vodka so the finished product is gluten-free.

What herbs do I add?

Creating the perfect herbal formula is a lot of fun!  Here’s a favorite of mine you’re welcome to create on your own.  If you’re not up to that, purchase it here from our shop.

  • 2 oz myrrh
  • 2 oz Mohonia aquifolium (Oregon grape)
  • 2 oz Echinacea angustifolia (echinacea)
  • 1/2 oz Capsicum annuum (cayenne)
  • 16 oz Isopropyl alcohol
  • Menthol crystals or 4 drops essential oil**
    • To be added to completed liniment

Step 1

Collect herbs, menstruum, Mason jar, funnel (if needed), herbs, scale, and bowlliniment-1

Step 2

  • Place bowl on scale
  • Turn scale ON and turn to OUNCES
  • Assure scale is ZEROED (see manufacturing directions)

Step 3

Add one herb at a time.  At this point, you may zero each herb or simply just add the weight of the herbs as each is 2 ounces.  Add the cayenne last since it’s the smallest weightliniment-2

Step 3

Pour mixture into Mason jar using a wide-mouthed funnel or in the jar of your choosing.  I put my herbs into smaller diameter but taller glass jars because my storage space is limited and I like to use vertical space when at all possible.  There’s pictures of both below.liniment-3


Step 4

Add menstruum to dried herbal mixture until the menstruum has covered the herbs.liniment-6

Step 5

Once filled with the menstruum, seal tight and shake vigorouslyliniment-7

Step 6

Make your labels!  At home and in the office, I use simple, inexpensive craft-paper labels. Make sure you mark:

  • The name of the preparation
  • Date you prepared the extraction
  • Date you anticipate pulling the extraction
  • and any other information you find important.  I keep a computer log of all my herbal medicines, so the information above is really the limit of what I have on the bottles that are brewingliniment-9

Step 7

  • Place jar in a warm, dry place for 4-6 weeks
  • Vigorously shake as often as possible (goal is once daily)
  • At the end of 4-6 weeks, strain liniment
    • Prepare a new jar to accept the strained liniment
    • Place a non-metallic strainer at the top of the new jar
    • Place an unbleached coffee filter in the non-metallic strainer
    • Slowly pour contents out into coffee filter
    • Turn jar upside down and place atop plant material in coffee filter
    • Leave in place until all material is out of the original glass container
    • Remove original glass container
    • Cover new container and plant material as it drains with another coffee filter or cheese cloth
    • Place liniment in a spray bottle or small jar to use as needed
    • Add menthol crystals or essential oil (will dissolve in the liniment)
    • liniment-11

How long will my liniment last?

When stored properly, the liniment will last nearly indefinitely.

Need guidance?

Post a comment below and let me know how your herbal creation is going.  Also be sure to check back and see if others comment on your post.  Need guidance?  Leave me a comment below and I’ll be happy to help answer your questions.



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