When aches and pains strike, use a homemade herbal liniment for quick relief.
MOTHER readers send in their best tips.
A decade ago, due to budget constraints as well as a
natural penchant for wanting to be self-sufficient and
thrifty, I started searching for some inexpensive, easily
made herbal therapies. The primary recipe whose
effectiveness has stood the test of time is my herbal
liniment. We use it most often for sore muscles and any
kind of cut or skin eruption. It also works for athlete's
foot. Apply frequently, saturating the affected area
thoroughly. (If dripped on clothing, it's yellow color
usually washes out.) The liniment can be kept in the
refrigerator to be used as a cold poultice for withdrawing
heat from an inflamed area. Just saturate a clean, soft
cloth and apply frequently. For a hot poultice, soak a
cloth with liniment, put it in a bowl, and microwave for
one minute. Apply often, to relax spasms from sore muscles
I have heard that this liniment is helpful for
arthritis. Also, one friend told me that it's the only
thing that brings her son relief from fire ant bites, to
which he is highly allergic. Evidently, it works better
than his prescription medication.
My most dramatic
personal experiment was with sore throats and mouth sores.
Let me say at the outset, this stuff tastes vile! For small
mouth sores or toothaches, you can dab it on with a cotton
swab or rub it on, but for sore throats, what really works
best is the tough-minded approach. Pour a tablespoon or so
in your mouth and swish it around the affected area and
spit it out. I could not believe how fast it works.
of caution: do not swallow the liniment! It
contains rubbing alcohol and is not to be ingested. And
don't get it in your eyes.
The recipe couldn't be simpler.
1 oz. powdered myrrh (an excellent astringent)
1/2 oz. powdered goldenseal (has anti-inflammatory and
1/4 oz. cayenne pepper (powerful stimulant and astringent)
1 pint rubbing alcohol
Mix together and let stand seven days. Shake well every
day. You can strain the liniment through damp cheesecloth
if you don't like the gritty feel of ground herbs. If you
leave the herbs in, it gets even stronger. If you don't
have goldenseal, make the liniment without it.
for the prices of herbs. I found one place that was
charging $179 a pound for goldenseal! In such a case, I
would definitely make it without this herb, or else put in
just a fraction of an ounce. At today's prices (1999), it should
cost about $2 to $3 to make a pint of the liniment, if you
buy alcohol when it is 35 cents a pint.
I put a label on mine
that lists the ingredients and the following suggestions:
"Good for all pains, swellings, bruises, skin eruptions of
all kinds. If possible, apply every few minutes for an hour
or two. Useful for headaches. Apply to temples, back of
heck, and forehead. For sore throat, gargle with -a small
amount and spit out. Do not swallow. For toothache or mouth
sores, rub on or use cotton swab. Apply frequently to
athlete's foot. Do riot get in eyes."