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Horse Health: Common & Historical Horse Liniment Ingredients and Their Functions

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There are a few common ingredients you will run into when browsing the contents of horse liniments or any other veterinary liniment (like Sore No-More). It is always good to know what is in your horse health products to make sure you know exactly what you are giving your horse and why. We are all about education at Arenus Animal Health and have assembled a list of formerly and currently used liniment ingredients and their uses.

Snake Oil

Though snake oil is not used anymore, it is an important part of the history of horse health and liniment use today. Snake oil helped to popularize the use of topical pain relief in people so that it could ultimately be perfected for horses. Snake oil, believe it or not, is a real product that was used in 18th century China. It consists of mostly fat from the Chinese water snake and contains anti-inflammatory properties. Snake oil was popular in the 1700s for pain relief and swelling. Because many treatments from human medicine translate to veterinary medicine, it’s likely that snake oil was also used for muscle relief to keep animals from getting too sore to work.


Menthol is used in a wide variety of modern products. Menthol is known for the chilled/cold feeling it invokes whether eaten, inhaled, or applied topically. Menthol has been used for many years and is still a prominent ingredient in many cough drops, cold medicines, and menthol rubs for horses and people alike.

While Menthol is included in many liniments on the market, the Sore No-More formulas omit it due to the stringent policies FEI competitors have to abide by when showing. Additionally, menthol can have many adverse effects like burning and blistering, especially when it is used under wraps and pads or on sensitive skinned horses. All Sore No-More formulas are menthol free for this reason.

Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is an ingredient you will occasionally see in liniment formulations. Witch hazel is widely known for its soothing properties and is commonly used in other topical pain relief products like diaper rash ointments.

This hydrosol, or floral water, is a natural astringent. It helps to relieve irritation due to minor cuts, scrapes, abrasions and insect bites. Using witch hazel as a base instead of alcohol in Sore No-More makes it less harsh than alcohol-based products. Additionally, it has anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory qualities which makes it an excellent ingredient in Sore No-More liniments and other products like toners and lotions.

Sore-No-More always has your horses best interest in mind and is proud to use witch hazel instead of alcohol as a base for its formulas, click here to learn more.


Arnica is well known for its role in reducing pain and swelling and plays an important role in many liniments and topicals, including Sore No-More. Arnica has been trusted throughout history to relieve inflammation and pain associated with arthritis and soft tissue injury and is gentle enough to be used in our Sore No-More formulations.

Arnica is found in many great horse health products sold by Arenus Animal Health, check out our products here!


Rosemary is another common ingredient used in liniments for muscle relief. Many liniment formulations (like Sore No-More) contain rosemary, and it is wildly popular because it is very easily absorbed into the skin and, when massaged in vigorously, creates a warming effect. Conversely, when gently rubbed into the skin, it creates a cooling effect, making it a versatile and pivotal ingredient in horse liniments.


Many horse liniments on the market contain capsaicin. This ingredient is commonly used in human medicine to relieve pain and inflammation from joints. However, due to the sensitive nature of a horse’s skin, capsaicin can have harmful side effects when used in horse liniment such as burning, blistering and irritation.

Additionally, capsaicin is included in most regulatory zero tolerance lists (like the FEI and USEF), making products that contain it unsafe for competitors to use during shows.

All Sore No-More formulas are capsaicin free, providing peace of mind for high-level competitors across the world.

Learn more about capsaicin free Sore No-More liniments here!

Parents like to know exactly what is in the food their children eat and the medicine they take, so why should it be any different with your horse? Your horse is part of your family, make sure you know exactly what’s in the horse health products that you are giving them and what they are designed to do.

At Arenus Animal Health, we pride ourselves on providing you with the knowledge and information you need to be clear on exactly what goes into our horse supplements and veterinary liniment, as well as why we included them.

To learn more about the ingredients in Sore No-More, why they are included, and what they do, check out our blog.

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