Greetings friends. Today’s home herbal remedy is herbal oils and liniments. These are among some of the most common methods to use home herbal medicine and among the most effective. Both of these products are used for the outside (external) parts of the body and are not ingested (eaten or swallowed). I have included these two methods together as they relate to each other quite closely and often herbal oils are used in the creation of liniments.
Liniments are herbal extracts that are rubbed on the skin for treating strained muscles, ligaments, bruises, arthritis and other inflammations. Liniments usually include stimulating herbs such as cayenne to warm the area and help increase circulation. Antispasmodic herbs like chamomile are also used to help relax the muscles. Liniments may be made from alcohol, vinegar or oil. The application of alcohol can be somewhat cooling, while the liquid will evaporate quickly and leave the herbal principals on the skin. You can use grain alcohol like vodka or gin similar to making tinctures[link] or a food grade ethyl-alcohol used for external applications. Rubbing alcohol may used for externally applied liniments but is poisonous if taken internally. Vinegar acts as a natural astringent and as a preservative. It may be used directly or diluted to 50% strength with water. Oils are useful for extracting herbs with aromatic oils and for applications where one wishes to massage the area being treated.
Herbal oils are a method of extracting the active principals of herbs into an oil. Used on the outside of the body like liniments, they are good for sore and aching muscles, cuts and stings and of course are wonderful for massage. When I was first learning massage therapy, I used to make my own oils this way and massage my kids as little babies; they loved it. Spices, mints and other strong smelling herbs are especially good to use in oils. The best herbs to use are those whose properties are strongly related to their essential oils like Lavender. Powdered herbs make oils feel gritty so use fresh cut herbs instead. Generally their are two kinds of oils used; one is soothing, emollient and healing and the other is warming and stimulating. Oils which are soothing and healing are usually made with herbs such as comfrey, calendula, sage, lemon balm and lavender or similar herbs. These herbal oils can be used over the entire body or just on the specific areas needing treatment. Oils which are warming and stimulating are made by adding pure essential oils such as cinnamon, thyme, cajuput, camphor, eucalyptus, peppermint and ginger to name a few. These herbal oils are generally used of specific areas where treatment is needed. The best carrier oils to use are olive oil or sesame oil because these warm the skin and keep longer. A few other oils you can add in smaller amounts are apricot, almond and avocado. You can experiment a little to find your favourite combinations. Be sure to add a little Vitamin E oil needs to be added to act as a preservative.
Well, that’s it friends. Enjoy crafting some home herbal liniments and oils. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as using something you have made yourself.
Until next time, be well, naturally.
Craig Hitchens – Natural Health Practitioner
My own clinical knowledge
“Herbs of Life” authored by Lesley Tierra, pg 180-183
Alternative & Natural Health Disclaimer:
The information contained in this article is accurate at the time of posting but may change thereafter. The information provided on the various natural health subjects from this website of www.craighitchenstherapies.com is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as any form of medical advice. The information in the article this disclaimer is linked from is not meant to treat, diagnose, prescribe or cure any ailment. Always check with your health professional before taking any products or following any advice that you believe may conflict with other forms of health care. Always consult your health care professional before you start, stop or change anything that has been previously prescribed. Certain herbs and holistic remedies are unsuitable to take if you are pregnant or nursing and must always be cleared by your health professional before use.