Liniments are one of my favorite things to have on hand. They are simple to make, yet quite expensive to buy pre-made.
What is a Liniment? - it is a fast absorbing topical treatment, often for sore muscles, bruising, or coughs associated with everything from the common cold to pneumonia.
What is the base? - Generally liniments are made with either Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol), and/or Witch Hazel. They can also be made with an oil base, but for today we will stick with non-oil bases.
I am sure Isopropyl alcohol can be made by those who understand chemistry, but as this is over my head, I just buy it. It runs around .50 cents an ounce, so still very cost effective.
Store bought Witch Hazel however, can be expensive to buy. Making it is easy...
*1/2 lb witch hazel bark, prepped
*1 gal of Distilled water
Prepared as a 30 minute Decoction, then bottle in sterilized air tight bottles, around 4 to 8 oz is good. These will last up to 6 weeks as is.
The Isopropyl alcohol is then added when you make a liniment (the common store bought form of witch hazel is a liniment). Sometimes people use vodka or pure grain alcohol, but as it is absorbed directly into the body, I tend to stay away in case the liniment is used by a recovering alcoholic or for children.
Anyways...the ratios to create a liniment are
2 parts witch hazel decoction
1 part isopropyl alcohol
Turning the Witch Hazel mix into a medicinal liniment
Once mixed with the isopropyl alcohol, we are ready to make a medicinal liniment. This is made by cold infusing, choose your herbs, then;
*1 part herbs to 3 parts witch hazel mix
*Put them all in a jar with air tight lid
*Place the jar in a cool dark place and shake twice a day
*6 weeks for roots, barks, rhizome...etc
*3 weeks for flowers, leaves...etc
If you are using both, first add the roots, barks, seeds, etc, then after 3 weeks add in the leaves, flowers, etc...
There are many many recipes out there, often using cayenne pepper, but I prefer to choose herbs by symptom. I suggest looking up various symptoms of ailments your own family encounters often, and then making liniments to have on hand when they arise.
Some common basics...
In 1 cup witch hazel mix, an herbal mix of
*1 part eucalyptus
*2 part peppermint or spearmint
*1 part lavender flower
*1 part thyme
*optional - 2 part chamomile or a scent the patient is comforted by, but be sure to check the actions of the herb to be sure it does not inflame the condition.
Once the infusion is complete, add in 3 to 4 drops camphor oil per 1 oz, bottle in sterilized glass with an airtight lid. This will last up to 1 year if kept in a cool dark place, and can be rubbed onto the chest, or in small children and elderly I suggest putting it on a cloth and tucking the cloth under the shirt. It will help them with the vapors created by the body's warmth, but can be too strong for their skin directly.
This mix can also be used for sore muscles when they need to be cooled.
ALWAYS test a liniment on the inside of the forearm before using it on a large area of the skin...to be sure there is no allergic reaction.
*1 part Arnica flower
*3 parts witch hazel mix
Infuse for 3 weeks...
Adding 3 to 4 drops peppermint oil to the finished liniment is optional, but peppermint can help stimulate blood flow, so not to be used on deep or spreading bruising. It can be used where someone generally bruises easily and has the yellowing small bruises. However, the underlying problem of easy bruising needs to be addressed, so have their blood iron levels checked.
I could go on with many variations, but it is best if you learn the medicinal properties of the herbs and begin mixing your own recipes.
Please note, Liniments are NEVER to be used internally, they are only used topically, and can be harmful if ingested.
The end cost of making liniments at home, is about 1.00 per oz...but with all the prep you can see why they are upwards of 10.00 an oz to buy pre-made. I also much prefer making my own specific recipes, because they always work better than generic.
And that is all for now...I hope you enjoyed :)