Liniment (or embrocation), from the
Latin linere, to anoint, is a
medicated topical preparation for application to the skin. Sometimes
called balms or heat rubs, liniments are of a similar or lesser
viscosity than lotions and are rubbed in to create friction, unlike
lotions, ointments or creams, but patches, sticks and sprays are
Liniments are typically sold to relieve pain and stiffness, such as
from sore muscular aches and strains, or arthritis. These are
typically formulated from alcohol, acetone, or similar quickly
evaporating solvents and contain counterirritant aromatic chemical
compounds such as methyl salicilate, benzoin resin, menthol, or
capsaicin. They produce a feeling of warmth within the muscle of the
area they are applied to, typically acting as rubefacients via a
Liniments have been around since antiquity.
The methyl salicylate that is the active analgesic ingredient in some
heat-rub products can be toxic if they are used in excess. Heating
pads are also not recommended for use with heat rubs, as the added
warmth may cause overabsorption of the active ingredients.
An old bottle of AA Hyde
Opodeldoc is a formulation invented by the
Liniment is a very old rubbing mixture or liniment. It was used
for a long period of time (1880-1935 minimum) as a way of
relieving pain caused by lumbago (lower back pain), sciatica,
neuralgia, rheumatism, stiffness after exercise and other conditions.
It was made from aconite, belladonna, and chloroform, leading to its
name. However, there have been numerous examples of poisoning from
the mixture, resulting in at least one death.
Bengay, spelled Ben-Gay before 1995, is a liniment used to temporarily
relieve muscle and joint pain associated with arthritis, bruises,
simple backaches, sprains and strains. It was developed in France by
Dr. Jules Bengué, and brought to America in 1898. The name Bengué
was anglicized to Bengay. It was originally produced by Pfizer
Consumer Healthcare, which was acquired by Johnson &
Flex-power is a liniment that claims to use nanotechnology in its
IcyHot is a line of liniments produced and marketed by Chattem, now a
subsidiary of Sanofi
Ointment was introduced in December 1894 by a US company
founded by Albert Alexander Hyde. In 1975 a Japanese pharmaceutical
company, Rohto Pharmaceutical Co., bought the rights to market the
product and in 1988 it bought the entire
Mentholatum company. The
ointment also has a brand, "Deep Heat".
RUB A535 (also known as Antiphlogistine) is a liniment introduced in
1919 and manufactured by Church & Dwight in Canada. It is not
well-known outside of Canada, and is not sold in the United
A 1914 advertisement
Tiger Balm was developed during the 1870s in Rangoon, Burma, by
herbalist Aw Chu Kin, son of a Hakka herbalist in China, Aw Leng Fan
and brought to market by his sons. Made of
Menthol (16%), and Oil of
Minard's Liniment: Dr. Levi Minard from Hants County, Nova Scotia,
branded as "The King of Pain", created this preparation which he
developed in the 1860s from camphor, ammonia water, and medical
turpentine. Its use was popular in Eastern Canada.
Use on horses
Liniments are commonly used on horses following exercise, applied
either by rubbing on full-strength, especially on the legs; or applied
in a diluted form, usually added to a bucket of water and sponged on
the body. They are used in hot weather to help cool down a horse after
working, the alcohol cooling through rapid evaporation, and
counterirritant oils dilating capillaries in the skin, increasing the
amount of blood releasing heat from the body.
Many horse liniment formulas in diluted form have been used on humans,
though products for horses which contain
DMSO are not suitable for
human use, as
DMSO carries the topical product into the
bloodstream. Horse liniment ingredients such as menthol,
chloroxylenol, or iodine are also used in different formulas in
products used by humans.
Absorbine, a horse liniment product manufactured by W.F. Young, Inc.,
was reformulated for humans and marketed as Absorbine Jr. The
company also acquired other liniment brands including Bigeloil and
RefreshMint. The equine version of Absorbine is sometimes used by
humans, though its benefits in humans may be because the smell of
menthol releases serotonin, or due to a placebo effect.
Earl Sloan was a US entrepreneur who made his initial fortune selling
his father's horse liniment formula beginning in the period following
the Civil War. Sloan's liniment, with capsicum as a key ingredient,
was also marketed for human use. He later sold his company to the
predecessor of Warner–Lambert, which was purchased in 2000 by
Look up liniment in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
^ "Liniment". The Free Dictionary.
^ "Liniment". UK. Oxford Dictionaries.
Muscle Cream Caused NYC Teen's Death”, USA Today, retrieved
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doi:10.1136/bmj.1.1002.424. PMC 2239646 .
^ Sinha, R P.; Mitra, S K.; Roy, P K. (1967-03-16). "
poisoning". Journal of the Indian Medical Association. 48 (6):
278–9. PMID 6038536.
^ Weir, Archibald (February 15, 1896). "Fatal Case Of Poisoning By
A.B.C. Liniment". The British Medical Journal. 1 (1833): 399–400.
^ Fisher, O D. (November 1954). "Accidental Poisoning of Children in
Belfast: A Report of two years' experience at the Royal Belfast
Hospital for Sick Children". Ulster Med J. 23 (2): 124–131.
PMC 2480209 . PMID 20476409.
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^ Strickland, Eliza (25 January 2006). "Nice Nanostuff, But Is It
Safe?". East Bay Express. Archived from the original on 19 April
^ "USAT Partners with Flex-Power". USA Triathlon. 13 December 2006.
Archived from the original on 30 November 2007. Retrieved
^ Icy Hot Products
^ Icy Hot - Chempedia
^ Springville Journal Staff. January 30, 2015 The
thanks WNY residents for success Archived 2016-07-30 at the Wayback
^ Tiger Balm: Heritage, archived from the original on 2009-08-31,
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^ a b
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-07-02. Retrieved
Routes of administration, dosage forms
Time release technology
Osmotic delivery system (OROS)
Effervescent powder or tablet
Syrup Concentrate for dilution and/or addition of carbonated water
Buccal (sublabial), sublingual
Orally disintegrating tablet
Orally disintegrating tablet (ODT)
Effervescent buccal tablet
Dry-powder inhaler (DPI)
Metered-dose inhaler (MDI)
Oxygen mask and Nasal cannula
Relative analgesia machine
Mucoadhesive microdisc (microsphere tablet)
Pessary (vaginal suppository)
Intrauterine device (IUD)
DMSO drug solution
Electrophoretic dermal delivery system
Contact (rubbed into break in the skin)
Central nervous system
Patient-Controlled Analgesia pump