Some herbal preparations belong in every medicine cabinet. Many of us are looking for that one “go-to” herbal remedy that provides relief from a multitude of ailments. That’s where Jethro Kloss’ Liniment comes in.
You might not be familiar with his name (that’s where we come in) but his trusted herbal liniment recipe can benefit kids, athletes, gardeners, and weekend warriors—anyone who could use relief from aches, pains, insect bites, poison ivy, bumps, and bruises. And the best part: it’s easy to make once you source the materials. But what makes it so special, and who was Jethro Kloss?
Who is Jethro Kloss?
Born April 27, 1863, in Wisconsin, Jethro Kloss was a renowned natural health enthusiast and herbalist in his day. Greatly influenced by his Seventh-Day Adventist faith and the teachings of Ellen G. White, Kloss adhered to a natural lifestyle that included vegetarianism, hydrotherapy, and herbalism.
He devoted his life to caring for the sick, lecturing on healthy living, and research which advocated the use of soy as a viable protein source. In fact, he started his own factory to manufacture soy-based food products. He was a true pioneer in the natural health movement.
In 1935, Kloss published his book Back to Eden: A Human Interest Story of Health and Restoration to be Found in Herb, Root, and Bark. In 1939, the book was revised and expanded and this original text has sold over 5 million copies.
Although some of his remedies have since proven unwise or even toxic (Kloss was a proponent of using kerosene for wound care), the book is a great representation of what natural health and herbalism looked like in the 1800s.
But one recipe was a true success: his recipe for liniment. Although he prescribes its use for everything from pain and stye on the eye to headaches and athletic foot trouble—maladies for which science has invented other more convenient remedies—nothing surpasses it for good old aches and pains.
In her book, Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health, herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, says of Kloss’ liniment, “This is a very old, very strong recipe, and it’s one of the finest disinfectant remedies you’ll ever have on hand. … this liniment is useful for reducing inflammation of the muscles, cleansing wounds, and soothing insect bites.”
Jethro Kloss Healing Liniment
Jethro Kloss Healing Liniment
To make your own supply of Kloss’ herbal liniment, gather the following ingredients:
- 1 quart 70 percent rubbing alcohol
- 2 ounces powdered myrrh*
- 1 ounce powdered goldenseal*
- ½ ounce cayenne pepper
- *available onlineMix all these ingredients together and let stand for seven days. Shake it periodically. At the end of seven days, decant and bottle with a label which reads, “For external use only.”How to use:For headache, Kloss recommends applying the liniment to the temples, back of the neck, and forehead. For sprains, he says to apply the liniment freely and massage for 15 to 20 minutes before the swelling sets in.Repeat three to four times a day. He also says to apply the liniment for bruises and back pain.Gladstar recommends using Kloss’ Liniment for disinfecting wounds from splinters, cold sores and fever blisters, poison oak and ivy, and warts.
To make your own supply, gather the following ingredients:
Why Kloss’ Liniment Works
The herbs in Kloss’ Liniment have several healing properties:
Cayenne “serves as a catalyst to the system” and is an “excellent warming circulatory herb,” notes Gladstar.
The active component in cayenne pepper, capsaicin, is a neuropeptide releasing agent which helps to control nerve pain. It is the active ingredient in many over-the-counter analgesic formulas. No wonder Kloss wanted it included in his liniment formula.
Myrrh is the gummy resin taken from several trees of the genus Commiphora. It is best known as one of the three gifts the wise men brought the baby Jesus and has been used historically as an incense, perfume, and medicine. Its antibacterial, antifungal, and moisturizing properties make it an important ingredient for any skin or wound care preparation.
Goldenseal is the root of an endangered herb. Always make sure the goldenseal you buy is sustainably sourced. According to WebMD.com, “Goldenseal is applied to the skin for rashes, ulcers, wound infections, itching, eczema, acne, dandruff, ringworm, herpes blisters, and cold sores.”
Give this liniment a try and see if it doesn’t instantly become the go-to remedy in your herbal medicine chest you’ve been looking for!
Carol J. Alexander
Carol J. Alexander is a Virginia writer specializing in sustainable/green living, home remodeling, and lifestyle topics. She has written for over 100 national, regional, and local print publications, as well as online. She is the author of Homestead Cooking with Carol: Bountiful Make-Ahead Meals, available on Amazon Kindle and in paperback.