How to Add DMSO to Liniment

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A liniments is a liquid with an alcohol or oil base, which is designed to be applied directly to the skin to deliver therapeutic agents. Alcohol-based liniments are popular with horse owners and are commonly used to help a hot horse cool off. The topical application delivers medication directly to the capillaries. In response, the capillaries dilate as the alcohol evaporates, cooling the horse in the process. DMSO is a pine-based solvent that can be added to liniment to promote the healing of damaged tissue. It can help stop muscle ache and relieve joint pains. DMSO is readily available in health food stores, farming supply stores and tack shops, and comes in liquid or gel form. For application directly to the horse, gel is the better choice; for use in liniment, you’ll want liquid. The DMSO acts as a carrying agent, taking medication directly to the tissue. Making liniment is simple and requires few ingredients. To make your own cooling/healing DMSO liniment, follow the instructions below.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 oz. powdered goldenseal
  • 2 oz. powdered myrrh
  • 1/3 cup DMSO
  • 2 cups rubbing alcohol
  • Glass jar with lid
  • Paper bag
  • Muslin
  • Labels
  • Marker

Combine all ingredients in a sterilized glass jar. Twist the lid tightly into place. Shake the jar, mixing the ingredients thoroughly. Place the sealed jar in a paper bag and roll the top of the bag down to block out the light.

Store the jar in a warm, dark place for 7 to 10 days, shaking once per day.

Strain the liquid through muslin to remove any undissolved herbs. Before disposing of the used herbs, give the muslin a squeeze to remove any remaining liquid.

Pour the liniment into a clean jar. Seal the lid and label, “DMSO Liniment--For External Use Only.” Store out of direct sunlight.

Pour 1 cup of DMSO liniment into a bucket and add 2 cups of water. Apply to the horse with a sponge. Or apply full strength for a more intense treatment.

Tips & Warnings

  • The warming effect of the liniment can be enhanced by wrapping the application area. If you prefer a commercially prepared liniment, add one part DMSO to five parts liniment. Be sure to chose a preparation that is alcohol-based.
  • Always wear gloves when handling DMSO. Liniment should never be applied to near the head or groin of the horse. A horse that has recently been body clipped may be an unsuitable candidate for liniment treatment.

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