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Is Horse Liniment Safe For Humans

Is Horse Liniment Safe For Humans? A Closer Look

Is horse liniment safe for humans? Horse liniment, a popular product among equestrians, has recently gained attention for its potential use by humans. 

However, the question arises whether horse cream is safe for human use. Many are curious about the potential risks and benefits of using this product on their bodies.

The article explores the potential side effects, proper usage guidelines, and expert opinions on its efficacy. But we’ll start by answering the question,

Is Horse Liniment Safe For Humans?

Horse liniment is specifically formulated for use on horses and is not intended for human use. It has not been tested on humans and is not approved by the FDA for human use. 

Therefore, it is not advisable to use horse liniment on people. There have been reports of allergic reactions to liniment, and some liniments contain DMSO, a substance that can be absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream and cause health complications.

What Is Horse Liniment?

Horse liniment is a product used to soothe horses’ muscles and joints. It can be found in both liquid and gel form, providing horse owners with options for application. 

The main purpose of liniment is to alleviate any discomfort or pain that the horse may be experiencing in their muscles or joints.

Some riders only apply liniment to their horses when there is a visible problem, such as swelling or soreness. The liniment can help reduce inflammation and relieve the affected area in these cases. 

On the other hand, some riders use cream as a preventative measure. They apply it regularly to their horses’ muscles and joints, even with no visible problems. 

The idea behind this approach is that consistently using liniment can help keep their horses’ muscles and joints in optimal condition. This proactive approach aims to prevent any potential issues from arising in the first place.

Uses Of Horse Liniment

Liniment can be used for a variety of reasons, including:

  1. Body wash – Horse liniment can also be diluted and used as a body wash. It can help maintain the horse’s overall hygiene and keep its coat healthy and clean. Diluting the liniment ensures that it is gentle enough for regular use while providing its benefits.
  2. To reduce swelling – Injuries or conditions such as tendonitis can lead to swelling in horses’ limbs, causing discomfort and hindering their mobility. Horse liniment can help reduce inflammation and promote healing.
  3. To address pain from arthritis – Arthritis is a common condition in older horses, causing joint pain and stiffness. The anti-inflammatory properties of liniment can help alleviate these symptoms and improve the horse’s mobility.
  4. To use as an antiseptic – You can apply it to wounds or cuts to prevent infection and promote healing. The antimicrobial properties of horse liniment help kill bacteria and keep the wound clean.
  5. To relieve muscle soreness – Horses, like humans, can experience muscle aches and stiffness, especially after intense physical activity. Applying horse liniment to the affected areas can help alleviate the soreness and promote faster recovery.

How to Use Horse Liniment for People

The first step is to select a lotion labeled safe for humans. Carefully read the ingredients listed on the label of the horse liniment. 

Look for products that contain natural herbs and essential oils, as these can provide soothing relief for muscle and joint pain. 

Steer clear of products that contain DMSO. DMSO is commonly found in some horse liniments, but the FDA does not approve it for human use in treating muscle and joint pain. To use human-safe liniment, follow the following steps;

  • Start by cleaning the area of your skin where you plan to apply the liniment. Use regular soap and water to ensure the skin is free from dirt, sweat, and other residues. Gently pat your skin dry with a clean towel.
  • Take a small amount of the horse liniment in your hand. Begin by gently massaging it into the targeted area where you’re experiencing tender muscles or aching joints.
  • As you apply the liniment, massage it into your skin with a circular or kneading motion. It can help the liniment penetrate deeper and enhance its potential soothing effects. 
  • After applying the liniment, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to prevent accidental transfer of the liniment to sensitive areas like your face or eyes.
  • Pay attention to how your skin responds. If you notice any redness, excessive irritation, or discomfort, discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional.

Following the manufacturer’s instructions is important for optimal results and safety. They might recommend how often you should reapply the liniment. 

Generally, you can consider reapplying it two to three times a day or as directed. However, be cautious not to overuse it, as excessive application might lead to skin irritation.

The Composition of Horse Liniments

Some common ingredients across several brands of liniment include:

  • Menthol 4.0% or 1.25% is a cooling agent derived from peppermint or other mint oils. Applying it to the skin creates a cooling sensation and can help alleviate minor pain and discomfort. It’s often used in topical pain relief products like muscle rubs in humans.
  • Witch Hazel – Witch hazel is an astringent derived from the witch hazel plant. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help tighten and soothe the skin.
  • Alcohol – Alcohol acts as a solvent and preservative. It can provide a cooling sensation when applied to the skin. However, excessive use can dry out and irritate the skin.
  • Most liniments use Water as a base to dilute the other ingredients and create a suitable consistency. It’s likely not to affect humans in any way.
  • Spearmint leaf oil – Spearmint leaf oil provides a mild cooling sensation and pleasant scent when applied topically.
  • Plant extracts can have anti-inflammatory, soothing, and healing properties. Calendula is often used in skincare for its skin-calming effects, while echinacea and wormwood might benefit similarly.
  • Propylene glycol – Propylene glycol is a moisturizing agent that helps hydrate skin. In some cases, it might cause skin irritation or sensitivity in humans.
  • Camphor oil of sassafras – Camphor oil is derived from the wood of the sassafras tree. It can have a cooling and numbing effect when applied to the skin.
  • Oil of spike – Oil of spike, often from lavender, has a soothing scent and can contribute to the fragrance of the liniment. Lavender oil has relaxation and calming effects.
  • Methyl Salicylate – Methyl salicylate is related to aspirin and has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. However, it can be toxic if absorbed in large amounts through the skin.
  • Salicylic acid – Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid often used in skincare products for its exfoliating properties. It can be too harsh for the skin in higher concentrations and irritate.
  • Oil of cedarwood – These essential oils have aromatic properties and potential skin-soothing effects. However, essential oils can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions in some individuals.
  • Oil of rosemary – MSM is a sulfur compound sometimes used in liniments for its potential anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. It’s also taken as a dietary supplement by some individuals.
  • The cajuput oil comes from a tree with a camphor-like scent and has potential anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects.

What Are The Dangers Of Using Animal Products On People?

Using animal products, such as those intended for animals like horses, on people poses several potential dangers and risks due to fundamental differences in anatomy, physiology, and skin sensitivity between species. 

Animal products like liniments formulated for equine use might contain higher concentrations of active ingredients, which could result in adverse reactions in humans.

To begin with, skin sensitivity varies; substances that might be well-tolerated by horses could cause allergic reactions, irritation, or even burns when applied to human skin. 

Moreover, animals and humans metabolize substances differently; what is safe for one species might not be for another.

Furthermore, the risk of toxicity arises. Some animal products contain compounds that, in concentrated forms, could be toxic when absorbed by human skin, leading to harmful effects ranging from skin irritation to systemic health issues.

Hygiene concerns also come into play. Animal liniments might not adhere to the same standards of sterility required for human use, increasing the risk of contamination and infection when applied to open wounds.


Is horse liniment safe for humans? Using horse liniment on humans is not advisable, and if you are using cream labeled safe for humans, you should approach it cautiously. 

While anecdotal reports have shown its effectiveness in relieving muscle pain and inflammation, you should only try those with ‘safe for humans’ labels.

Horse liniments typically contain menthol, camphor, and methyl salicylate, which can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions in some individuals. 

Additionally, the FDA does not regulate these liniments for human use, raising concerns about their safety. 

Therefore, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before using horse liniment on humans and to consider alternative, FDA-approved products for pain relief.

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