Get Sore Muscle Relief with This Homemade Liniment

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Sore Muscle Relief Liniment

Homemade Liniment for Sore Muscle Relief

This past weekend my students were discussing their favorite remedies in a natural first aid kit. Each of them have to build their own over the course of their studies here at the farm and we are only a couple months away from their graduation. I was surprised by some of the contributions, mainly because while I knew the recipes, I hadn’t thought of using them in the ways my students had tried. The one that stood out to me was Kloss’s liniment.

Kloss’s liniment is a recipe that every herbalist makes at some point in his or her career. It was originally found in a book called Back to Eden, written by Jethro Kloss in 1935. The book is an important catalog of home healthcare techniques and traditional knowledge. (Find a copy for your home library here.)

I especially appreciate the information he captured about how to use varying temperatures of water in the administration of bathing as a healing technique. As we pass down knowledge of this type, often we get the cliff notes – soaking in a tub can bring down fever – but not the specifics. When people were treating themselves at home there were nuances to each technique, and in the case of water, it was important to know which temperature was required for each type of ailment.

In reading Kloss’s book, I saw much that I disagreed with on certain topics, namely soy. That being said, there is so much in the way he treated food as medicine in the book that is still worthy of being studied by today’s readers.

Herbal Kloss Liniment – A Multi-Purpose Remedy

One of the recipes in the book that stands the test of time is definitely Kloss’s liniment. I have made it for years in rubbing alcohol and used it specifically as an external remedy. Jethro originally made it in vinegar and many still do, though I wouldn’t see that you would get much benefit from the myrrh in this medium.

I have made it for some time as a wound cleanser and remedy for bleeding and had long overlooked one of its classic uses. Kloss’s liniment shines as a sore muscle relief remedy. My student who named this as her favorite remedy shared that she has had great results with it, especially after overexertion in sports or general overwork that caused soreness. She made one additional note, if you use this recipe for sore muscle relief in the evening and plan to be active the next day you will want to wash off first. Apparently, the cayenne will “activate” when you get warm and sweaty and make for quite a fiery workout!

Kloss Liniment for Sore Muscle Relief and Much More

If you make this with vodka (which can be ingested), you may use this remedy for mouthwash, sore muscle relief, bleeding, disinfection, and more!


  • 1 ounce echinacea powder  (find it here)
  • 1 ounce goldenseal powder (find it here)*
  • 1 ounce myrrh powder (find it here)
  • ¼ ounce cayenne powder
  • 1 pint rubbing alcohol (if only using externally) or 1 pint 100-proof vodka (for external/internal use)

*Note: Goldenseal is a threatened species, so it’s important to use only sustainably-sourced goldenseal. You can also substitute oregon grape root powder for goldenseal.)


  1. Add all herbal ingredients to a mason jar and cover with alcohol, leaving a little headspace.
  2. Stir to mix thoroughly. Cover with tight-fitting lid.
  3. Let this steep for 2-4 weeks, shaking or stirring often.
  4. Strain and store in amber glass bottles. (I like to add a spritzer top to one of my bottles so it can be used to spray on cuts and wounds. Regular screw caps work well if using as a liniment or mouthwash.)
  5. If using rubbing alcohol in this recipe, be sure to clearly label it FOR EXTERNAL USE ONLY.

Do you make your own first aid kit remedies? Which one is your favorite?


About Dawn Combs

Dawn is a wife, mother, farmer, author, ethnobotanist, professional speaker, and educator. She has over 20 years of ethnobotanical experience, is a certified herbalist, and has a B.A. in Botany and Humanities/Classics. Dawn is co-owner of Mockingbird Meadows Farm. Her books include Conceiving Healthy Babies and Heal Local.

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  1. Madcap says

    Does this linament help prevent muscle spasms [Charlie Horses]? Especially the ones that occur at bedtie or wake you in the night?

  2. Gina says

    Can you replace the echinacea & goldenseal powders with tinctures if making this for external use?