homemade version of Ben-Gay

topic posted Fri, May 19, 2006 - 1:01 AM by  Amanda
Hey all! Does anyone know a recipe to make something like Ben-Gay? I'm allergic to the stuff you get in the store pretty bad. I got a nasty burn over my entire back last time I used it. I was hoping someone knew a recipe or something. Anything would be appreciated!!
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  • Re: homemade version of Ben-Gay

    Fri, May 19, 2006 - 6:46 AM
    There a few chinese options... Polar bear rub or Tiger Balm (white not red if your skin is sensitive) Always aplly very small amounts to test your skin because these can burn you too if you over apply them. You can also make your own rubs by adding a few drops of essential oil into a light oil like grapeseed, almond oil, etc. DON'T use cinnamon, it burns as well. Try a peppermint or something like that.... I do blends that are nice, a few drops of peppermint, frankinscense and lavender or tea tree. All oils will need to be tested first on you skin. When you blend your own often less is better than more, my mistake when I started was to "overdose" the massage oil with the essential oils. Just a few drops does wonders. What are you needing this for Injury? Sore muscles?
  • Re: homemade version of Ben-Gay

    Fri, May 19, 2006 - 9:18 AM

    You could try a ground ginger & brown rice scrub. It can be rather intense, but it's a traditional post-fight muay thai treatment.

    Mix the ground ginger (possibly grated fresh ginger would work, too--haven't tried it) with brown rice (oatmeal might be more gentle on the skin) and water to make a paste, then apply using a circular, scrubbing motion. After applying, let it burn as long as you can stand it, then jump in the shower and rinse off. I usually use a lukewarm-to-cool shower afterwards, which will also help with muscular soreness. As an additional benefit, you end up with really soft skin and a lingering gingery scent--MUCH better than nasty Ben-Gay or Tiger Balm!

    Exercise-related muscle soreness (it's called delayed-onset muscular soreness or DOMS) is really an inflammatory response. Using cooler showers/baths or ice on areas you know will be sore will reduce severity, and eating or drinking foods with anti-inflammatory properties will also help. Triathletes & marathoners often take ice baths after an event (so they can walk the next day), and I've known many people who eat chili (cayenne pepper), hot curries (turmeric, cayenne or paprika), and pineapple (bromelain) or papaya afterwards. I have a friend who swears by Thai food with a papaya+pineapple protein smoothie!

    Hope it helps!
  • Unsu...

    Re: homemade version of Ben-Gay

    Sat, May 20, 2006 - 12:37 AM
    st. johns wort
    peppermint (maybe/maybenot because you have sensitive skin it can burn)
    mixed in a base of your choice.

    (castor oil is best)
  • Unsu...

    Re: homemade version of Ben-Gay

    Sat, May 20, 2006 - 2:41 PM
    I made a wonderful lotion called "deep ache ointment"
    it worked wonders on my sore body while pregnant and has done wonders for my sciatica
    it's been a few years, but the gist of it was:

    coconut butter/oil with tintures of lobelia, st joans(johns) wort, and cramp bark.

    all together it was wicked expensive to make because I bought all the tintures, but if you have a local herb despensary (like gaia garden in vancouver bc) they may sell you the drops then your just paying the $12-15 for the coconut butter/oil

    • Re: homemade version of Ben-Gay

      Mon, May 22, 2006 - 7:28 AM
      I used to love Watkin's peppermint foot lotion, worked on any body part that ached. When I ran out and couldn't find it again, I found Aura Cacia's aromatherapy massage oil-Energize --- which contains peppermint oil too. Works about as well. This also contains grapeseed, apricot, almond, lemon, rosemary orange oils and vit e.
      I think it's something about the warming properties of the mint. I love it.
  • not an ointment, but...

    Mon, May 22, 2006 - 12:06 PM
    if it's to relieve muscle soreness, how about an epson salts bath? i think it's like a cup in a bath, it really helps draw out the soreness if you've overworked something.

    i wonder if it's wintergreen you're allergic to? it's in alot of muscle ointment formulations.
    • Re: not an ointment, but...

      Tue, May 23, 2006 - 2:46 AM
      Thank you ladies, I like all these ideas posted! I'm not sure what it is that I'm allergic to in it, but it burns! ^_^ I don't think I'm allergic to wintergreen though, I've used it before and haven't had any problems. But then it could be how it's used with the rest of the ingredients. I'm wondering thought if it could be the acid they used. I can't handle bromelain very well, I took it after a surgery, but pineapple in general upsets my stomach. Do they have bromelain in a cream form like arnica? The surgery was a while ago and I can't remember if they had it or not. I used the pill form then.
      • Re: not an ointment, but...

        Wed, May 24, 2006 - 3:21 AM
        Is Ben-gay that muscle ointment that's kind of icy and hot at the same time? If it is that seems like something that would be pretty easy to whip up at home. Try taking some coconut oil, maybe about a 1/2 cup, and mix in about 4 drops peppermint e.o., 2 drops ginger e.o. and 2 drops black pepper e.o. If you can't find the ginger e.o. just use 4 drops black pepper or vice versa. The pepper and ginger e.o. have a warming effect, increasing circulation to the area, while the peppermint has a relaxing and calming effect to the muscle.
        • Re: not an ointment, but...

          Wed, May 31, 2006 - 1:55 AM
          Yep, the one and same. I have all these oils at home and I think I'm going to try this one out! It sounds great.
          • Re: not an ointment, but...

            Wed, May 31, 2006 - 2:15 AM
            No problem, let me know how it works.
            • Re: not an ointment, but...

              Wed, May 31, 2006 - 10:13 PM
              Ben Gay is formulated with Menthol, which is a very potent extract of wintergreen leaves. Many people are sensitive to it in concentrated doses. It's a good topical counter-irritant, because it makes the skin feel cold/hot and diverts the nervous system, thereby reducing pain sensation in the muscles.

              Menthol also works by "opening doors", so to speak, in the dermis, and allowing other medicinals to penetrate the skin and move deeper into the tissues. This is valuable, because otherwise, some of these wouldn't move beyond the skin's surface. Liquid lecithin works the same way.

              I make a balm (not so high in menthol content as Icy Hot), with menthol, wintergreen, arnica, and St John's wort in a base of hemp seed and olive oils and beeswax. I think part of the trick is to use fresh, organic oils. I sometimes wonder if people may be reacting to some kind of farming chemicals used to grow herbs on "commercial" farms?

              But, the high menthol content is probably the culprit in your case (I'm not a doctor, but that's my hunch). Try something with less menthol and wintergreen and see what happens!


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