I have been slowly starting a medicinal herb garden, so this spring, I have some herbs to make my first herbal remedies, other than teas, teas, teas.
I looked through my herbal books for what to use on sore muscles. Really, sore muscles need rest, but there is also tissue to heal, inflammation to reduce, and pain to relieve. Comfrey does the job very well of aiding the healing of muscles, as well as bones. Mullein can help reduce swelling, and relieve joint pain. Mint is a muscle relaxant, as well as having a pleasing aroma. Rosemary reduces inflammation. And Clove relieves pain. Sounds good to me.
To make the salve I started with a base of 8 ounces high-quality home rendered lard (although most prefer to use high quality olive oil or other vegetable oil). While the lard warmed on the stove, I finely chopped 1 1/2 ounces fresh Comfrey leaf, 1/2 ounce fresh Mullein leaf, 1/2 ounce fresh Mint leaf, and added the fresh herbs to the oil, along a heaping tablespoon dried Rosemary, and a dozen whole Cloves. To release the volatile oils of the herbs, mash the herbs with the back of a spoon every few minutes, and keep the pot covered in between, so that the oils do not escape. Keep a close eye on the hot oil, and gently cook it over a low heat for two hours. Cover and let cool for 8 hours. In the case of vegetable oil, you will be able to filter the herbs through a muslin cloth, being sure to squeeze every last drop of oil from the herbs. In the case of lard, re-melt the fat, just to the liquid stage, then filter as above into a wide mouth half-pint glass jar. In the case of vegetable oil, re-heat the filtered oil to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, and add 1/2 ounce of melted beeswax, stir well, and pour into your jar. The salve is ready to use as soon as it has cooled. Massage it well into the skin for deep tissue relief. It provides relief for about 6 hours, and can be applied 3 or more times a day. For extra pain relief, we use it in combination with Arnica cream.
8 ounces of fresh herbs were used to make the liniment. I used 5 ounces finely chopped Comfrey leaf, 2 ounces finely chopped Mullein leaf, and 1 ounce finely chopped Mint. Place the herbs in a jar with a well-fitting lid (like a wide mouth quart mason jar), and fill just to cover with Apple Cider Vinegar, about 1 1/2 cups. Liniments can also be made with alcohol, but Apple Cider vinegar has it's own benefits for sore or fatigued muscles. It is basically a herb vinegar, allowing the herbs to soak in the vinegar for at least a week, or up to a month. Place the jar in a dark place, like a cupboard or cabinet where the temperature will be consistent, and shake the jar vigorously twice a day. When you are ready to use your liniment, filter the herbs, and if desired, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil for a softer, massage oil consistency. If you add the oil, be sure to shake the liniment before each use. We use the liniment as a preventative, before doing heavy work or exercise. Apply it directly to the major muscle groups and rub it into the skin, it absorbs quickly. It also provides a more instant relief to sore muscles, working in combination with the deep tissue salve to rejuvenate and regenerate sore, strained muscles.