The uses of Thai liniment are well documented among such athletes as boxers and martial arts fighters, though this common ointment is also used by non-combative athletes as well. Liniment uses include treating bruises, muscle pain, and sprains. There are several types to choose from, including zheng gu shui liniment, tiger balm liniment, and some people choose to create their own homemade versions, too. Traditionally, these liniments were imported from Thailand and are famous for their analgesic and cooling, soothing properties. Most types of Thai liniments are available in liquid or spray form for easy application.
In commercial Thai liniment, the herbs added to the mixture are responsible for relieving pain and aiding in the reduction of muscle strains and bruises. Almost every type of liniment has camphor and eucalyptus oil for cooling effects. While each recipe for this soothing liniment is different, they are all formulated to provide quick relief after a workout or fight and are often used as part of a post-event massage. Liniment dosage is usually unlimited, though it is recommended to be aware of possible skin irritation.
One very popular type of Thai liniment is zheng gu shui liniment made with menthol and camphor. This liniment has long been a staple of traditional Chinese medicine and other holistic practitioners. In addition to offering cooling and pain-relieving properties, it is also associated with improving blood flow to aching or damaged muscle tissue and is suggested for relieving the discomfort of arthritis. Some holistic healers also suggest zheng gu shui liniment for encouraging regrowth of bone tissue.
Another type of Thai liniment often used among athletes and any one needing relief from muscle pain and discomfort is tiger balm liniment. It is often used to treat problems such as headaches, backaches, and other types of tissue pain. This type of liniment works quickly and can be used over a large area of the body if needed. Along with camphor and menthol, lavender oil and eucalyptus oil are common ingredients in tiger balm liniment.
Some people choose to make their own Thai liniment for convenience and to ensure the quality of the ingredients used. Homemade recipes usually start with a rubbing alcohol base and include herbs such as powdered myrrh for its astringent properties and goldenseal for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Homemade liniment also often includes a small amount of cayenne pepper, as it encourages blood flow to injured areas due to its stimulating capsaicin element.