An herbal liniment is a medicinal liquid formulated with herbs in a base of rubbing alcohol, Witch Hazel, or oil. It is firmly rubbed into the skin to provide temporary, fast-acting pain relief for sore and inflamed joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It may also alleviate some of the discomfort of arthritis, bursitis, circulation problems, old injuries, rheumatism, sprains, strains, bumps, and bruises.
Liniments are extremely practical, having been used for thousands of years, often giving necessary short-term relief from pain, discomfort and stiffness within minutes. For those with joint health issues (stiffness, inflammation, pain), an effective liniment is invaluable. Athletes and outdoor recreation enthusiasts, from runners to gardeners, often use a liniment before and after exercise to keep muscles and joints loose and flexible. It goes without saying: Every medicine chest should have a bottle of liniment.
We have taken great care in formulating our Cortesia Quick Relief Liniment. The selected organic herbs are known for their individual and synergistic therapeutic value. They are steeped in a Witch Hazel and Isopropyl Alcohol base for many weeks for optimal distillation of each herb’s chemical constituents. We hand-bottle each liniment on demand from the steeping menstrum base to ensure highest and freshest therapeutic qualities.
Although liniments are not designed to provide long-term relief from chronic pain or discomfort, they work especially well when combined with herbal salves and/or tinctures, which are more lasting over time in their healing effects. We discuss this healing strategy thoroughly below.
HOW CORTESIA QUICK RELIEF LINIMENT WORKS
A liniment has two main components working together: the base (“carrier”) and the herbs. The most effective base is alcohol, specifically Isopropyl Alcohol and/or Witch Hazel. The alcohol enables deep skin absorption and a thorough delivery of the medicinal herbs. (Note: Many over-the-counter liniments have very high alcohol content and only a small percentage of penetrating herbs. Such high alcohol content can cause an allergic reaction, i.e. a skin rash, hives, redness, itching, dryness, or slight burning sensation).
Our liniment does not contain oil, is non-staining, does not dry out or irritate the skin, and is easy to spray on. We use double-distilled organic Witch Hazel that is only 14% alcohol, combined with Isopropyl Alcohol, therefore assuring safe use on skin without irritation.
The herbal component of our liniment has been carefully created to maximize each herb’s therapeutic qualities. The intent is not only to provide short-term relief, but also to allow the alcohol base to carry the herbs deeper into sub-dermal and tissues layers for broader and longer-lasting effectiveness. For this reason, the formulation of our Cortesia Quick Relief Liniment works excellently when accompanied by the use of a deep penetrating salve (like our Cortesia Acute & Chronic Injury Salve), and/or a tincture.
When a liniment is sprayed onto the skin, it is important to firmly (as best as possible without causing pain to tender areas) rub the area for a few minutes. The alcohol will quickly evaporate from the skin, but the rubbing will move the herbs into the cellular levels and increase blood circulation. Increased flexibility or relief in the affected area will be felt within moments and should last up to an hour or more. You can do this procedure before and/or after activity, as needed throughout the day.
HERBAL INGREDIENTS IN CORTESIA QUICK RELIEF LINIMENT
There are many possible ingredients that can be used in a liniment. Indeed, for many centuries, liniments have been the cornerstone of folk remedies and have been subjected to much experimentation of herbal ingredients. Ideally, the different herbs will work together synergistically to treat a variety of conditions. For example, Solomon’s Seal root works particularly well when combined with Horsetail. Similarly, Rosemary essential oil (made from the flowers) draws out different healing properties than Rosemary tincture, but when combined, the oil and the tincture become especially effective.
Some herbs are warming and some are cooling. A liniment, therefore, can be formulated to be only warming or cooling, or both at the same time, as described below.
Warming Properties of a Liniment
Certain herbs act as warming, circulatory stimulants. Such plants are especially helpful for arthritis and chronic injuries that may be characterized by pain and stiffness aggravated by exertion and/or cold weather. Warming herbs are very useful in a liniment because they stimulate local blood circulation and thus aid in kick-starting the body’s own healing response to an injury, whether it be chronic or acute. Examples of warning herbs are cayenne, rosemary, ginger, and black pepper.
Cooling Properties of a Liniment
Cooling herbs are useful for hot, inflamed conditions, and moderate swelling and inflammation. These herbs are useful for relief of sprains, tendonitis and ligament issues, bruises, or traumatic injury, such as a bone fracture, all of which cause inflammation of surrounding tissues. Peppermint and menthol are examples of cooling herbs.
Here is a list of the herbs we use in our liniment, and their therapeutic effectiveness.
Witch Hazel base: All-purpose anti-inflammatory, soothing and cooling, also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. It is an excellent natural herbal carrier for the other herbal ingredients. We use double-distilled organic Witch Hazel that is 86% WH and only 14% alcohol.
Isopropyl Alcohol: Acts as a co-carrier for the other herbal constituents and rapidly evaporates from the skin after it has done its job. The 91% alcohol content insures the best extraction of the therapeutic constituents of herbs we use and the deepest possible penetration of the finished liniment. An all-purpose antiseptic and disinfectant, Isopropyl Alcohol is often used for rubdowns after physical exertion and for general massage purposes.
Solomon’s Seal (polygonatum biflorum): Works to harmonize, feed, lubricate, and tighten or loosen (as needed) tendons, ligaments, muscles, attachments, and joints. It is a valuable connective tissue anti-inflammatory, and is known to help moderate the symptoms of osteoarthritis, repetitive use injuries, and connective tissue damage.
Comfrey Root (symphytum officinale): As a vulnerary, it kick-starts the body’s localized natural healing processes almost immediately. Exceptional ability to heal wounds, ulcers, and fractures, and moderate pain. Aids in rapid cell regeneration and bone repair, promotes healing of damaged tendons, ligaments, and swollen or inflamed tissue. Good for soothing a sore back, aching feet, or reducing the pain of arthritis or rheumatism.
Calendula (calendula officinalis): As an anti-inflammatory and vulnerary, it is excellent for bruises, strains, skin inflammations, burns, sunburn, and external wounds that are tender, red, and swollen.
St. John’s Wort (hypericum perforatum): Relaxes sore muscles and aids in healing the protective layer (myelin sheath) around the nerve core fibers. It is effective for general pain relief, as an anti-inflammatory, and to speed the healing of varicose veins, bruises, and burns.
Rosemary Essential Oil (from flowers – rosmarinus officinalis): Helps strengthen the capillaries and has a rejuvenating and toning effect on the skin. Useful for mild muscular pain, rheumatism, circulation problems, excess cellulite, and arthritis. Contains camphor, a stimulant that increases body heat in cold, tense, and arthritic joints. Eases stiffness in the body caused by fluid retention in muscles and other soft tissues. Also combats poor circulation by increasing the blood flow around the body. Suitable for dry, mature skin. Adds a pleasing fragrance to the liniment.
Rosemary Leaf (rosmarinus officinalis): Among a host of medicinal uses with a long history of use, rosemary is instrumental for relieving muscle pain, stimulating the circulatory and nervous systems, and promoting increased blood and lymph flow. The terpenoids in rosemary, such as rosmarinic acid, rosmanol, carnosol and ursolic acid provide effective anti-inflammatory benefits. The rosmarinic acid within rosemary also functions as a wide-ranging antioxidant and helps fight free radical damage.
Arnica (arnica montana): Helps remove congestion by dilating the blood vessels, supporting the circulatory system in more effective disposal of waste tissue and reconstruction of healthy tissue. It is an effective pain reliever and anti-inflammatory, and is useful for muscle spasms, bruises, sprains, and strains.
Cayenne Pepper (capsicum annuum): Reduces inflammation, soothes stiffness and pain. It is considered a warming ingredient because it helps stimulate local blood circulation to bring vital energy and healing to the affected area. Cayenne is a catalyst for Comfrey, helping the skin to absorb the Comfrey.
Horsetail (equisetum arvense): Horsetail’s high silica content helps to rebuild damaged cartilage and structures. It strengthens connective tissue, bones, cartilage, mucous membranes, arteries, skin, and other tissue. It is especially useful for misaligned joints restricted in their movement, as may be the case with arthritis or joint injuries.
Menthol Crystals: A cooling ingredient that is refreshing, aromatic, and helps relieve muscular aches and pains. Extracted from mint, menthol is widely used in health and beauty aids.
THE 3-STEP METHOD:
COMBINING A LINIMENT, SALVE & TINCTURE FOR DEEP HEALING
When using herbal interventions or products such as a tincture, salve or liniment, we believe that a 3-Step Method is the best way to address many of the types of acute and chronic injuries mentioned above. (Note: This approach should never take the place of other practical strategies such as rest, support or elevation of injury, increasing water intake, adjustment of diet and nutrition, etc.)
Apply Cortesia Quick-Relief Liniment topically several times daily, as needed, in area(s) where pain or discomfort is occurring. Apply morning, afternoon, and evening OR before and after periods of activity and again before bed. This will provide short-term relief so that certain activities are less painful or so that you can get to sleep. It is important to firmly rub the liniment for several minutes to stimulate blood circulation in the effected tissue or joint area. This works very well for arthritic conditions or joint issues to increase flexibility. Of course, use lighter pressure for a sprain, bruise, very sore muscle, or painful area.
Apply Cortesia Acute and Chronic Injury Salve externally to injured area twice daily, morning and evening (apply after the liniment). Wrap or bandage as needed to protect clothing. This is an important long-term method of healing for strains, sprains, aches, symptoms of arthritis, damaged muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, etc. It perfectly compliments the liniment.
Note: After applying a liniment or salve, it is very useful to simply lay your hand(s) lightly over the affected area for a few minutes. This form of “touch healing therapy” is therapeutic (see our article Solomon’s Seal and the Healing Effects of Touch to understand more). You can feel the warm or cooling sensation of your injury; you can also mentally visualize healing currents.
Consider taking Cortesia Solomon’s Seal Tincture internally several times daily. Solomon’s Seal works to harmonize, feed, lubricate, and tighten or loosen (as needed) tendons, ligaments, muscles, attachments, and joints. It is a valuable connective tissue anti-inflammatory, and is known to help moderate the symptoms of osteoarthritis, repetitive use injuries, and connective tissue damage. Depending on your injury or condition, one of our Solomon’s Seal Formulas (described elsewhere on this site) may be appropriate — for example, the #1 Arthritis & Joint Repair, the #2 Bone-Building & Bone Repair, the #3 Cartilage & Tissue Repair, the #4 Pain & Tension Relief, or the #6 All-in-One Deep Healing Formula.
We strongly believe that every medicine chest should include an effective liniment for short-term relief, and a deeper penetrating topical salve for longer therapeutic value. These externally applied interventions are invaluable for a host of conditions and injuries, as mentioned at the beginning of this article.
A tincture, taken internally, works very quickly to be absorbed into the bloodstream and transported to an effected area for deep cellular healing. We have dedicated years to understanding and witnessing the broad effectiveness of the herb Solomon’s Seal, used alone or synergistically with other complementary herbs, on a number of health conditions and injuries. For this reason we believe it too deserves a welcome place in one’s medicine cabinet.
Not everyone may be inclined to use a liniment, topical salve and/or tincture together to alleviate a health condition or injury. However, their combined therapeutic effectiveness, as discussed above, should not be undervalued.
Of course, any therapeutic intervention must also include a committed review of one’s lifestyle choices in the areas of diet, nutrition, exercise, rest, stress, loving relationships, and even one’s faith or spiritual system of belief. The blessings of health and healing to you, always.
For further information about our Solomon’s Seal tinctures, salves, liniment and tea, please visit our website: www.solomonsseal.net