Benefits of Menthol w/ DIY Muscle Rub Recipe

"...I’d like to share an all-natural, homemade product that I’ve been making for years. I’ve sold it and used it myself as a massage balm, but it can be used to help alleviate a wide variety of ailments. The main ingredient used in this product is menthol crystals. Menthol Crystals have a cooling and refreshing aroma that, when added to a base, give any products a tingling and awakening sensation when applied..."

Common ingredients can be harmful

Nowadays, there’s a chemical based body product for just about any condition you can think of.  Whether it’s to lighten, moisturize or restore your skin, the cosmetic industry has made available every kind of compound you can think of, full of alcohols, parabens, minerals, petroleum and a wide range of other destructive additives (barely pronounceable) that consequently do more damage than repair.  Many of the chemicals used in products promoted as “natural” are actually very harsh and corrosive.  


Mineral oils (often advertised as petroleum jelly also known as liquid petroleum/petroleum or paraffin oil) for example are by-product of the distillation that is made from the petroleum you put in your car. This compound is popular in the cosmetic industry because while mineral based products such as Vaseline or even Baby Oil may make your skin feel smoother to the touch, they create a barrier between your pores and the outside.  The idea behind these products is to give you results you’re looking for by locking moisture in. 


However, what ends up happening is the moisture that is being locked in by a barrier of minerals just so happens to be filled with bacteria or toxins that aren’t able to exit the body naturally.  These products prevent anything from entering and more importantly exiting the pores.  As a result, the bacteria or toxins that are resting in our pores create all kinds of skin issues including breakouts, rashes, and dermatitis issues of the scalp. 


All of the ingredients listed in many, readily available body/hair care products have long term effects that we may not attribute to the daily usage of a cream or soap.  Let’s keep in mind that we’re like a big sponge – everything we apply to our skin gets absorbed into the body.  

If you wouldn’t consume these ingredients, perhaps it’s worth educating ourselves about other solutions we can find.  

a natural alternative

Fortunately, for those of us who seek an alternative, there’s always nature to turn to.  For every obstacle we encounter, we can always look to nature for the solution to overcome it.  All of the chemical based ingredients we find are simply attempts at copying what nature produces already. 


If we wish to keep things simple, we can just gather and combine these ingredients ourselves and benefit from the results we are looking for without any adverse effects.  I’d like to share an all-natural, homemade product that I’ve been making for years. I’ve sold it and used it myself as a massage balm, but it can be used to help alleviate a wide variety of ailments.  The main ingredient used in this product is menthol crystals. 


Menthol Crystals have a cooling and refreshing aroma that, when added to a base, give any products a tingling and awakening sensation when applied.  Although menthol crystals can be made synthetically, when derived naturally they come from mint oils such as corn mint or peppermint.  This is my preferred version which I happen to find organic and fair trade. 


It is a waxy, crystalline substance, clear or white in color, which is solid at room temperature and melts slightly above.  They aren’t difficult to find, in fact you can generally find them at any company that sells essential oils or carrier oils in bulk.  I’d suggest ordering them online for best pricing, depending on how you wish to use them.  In this article, I’ll provide a recipe that is easy to make, very effective and with little clean up involved.  

Now for the benefits...

First, let’s talk about why the use of menthol crystals in any body-care product is a plus.  The properties of menthol, when added to complementary base oils and butters have very useful healing benefits.  It’s an ingredient that’s commonly found in toothpastes, mouthwashes and chewing gums because of the immediate cooling, refreshing and soothing sensation it provides.  


In addition, it tends to alleviate throat and mouth irritation, nausea and even digestive issues.  When menthol is added to hair care products such as shampoos and conditioners, it opens the pores and provides a refreshing tingle on the scalp that, especially during hot seasons, is quite wonderful.  When fresh out of the shower or bath, applying it will bring an intense cooling sensation, which worked wonders for me in the Meritah (Africa) heat. These same effects can be very useful in dealing with other conditions as well.


  • Inflammation/swelling –  Commonly resulting in muscle aches and pains, this menthol based balm helps to soothe and restore tired, sore muscles and achy joints including muscle cramps and sprains.  


  • Headaches/migraines – Applying this balm to the temples can bring relief from swelling/inflammation causing headaches or migraines.  Peppermint oil is also a popular application, however, menthol is the active ingredient in peppermint. 


  • Sinuses/respiration – This product is excellent for respiratory support.  You can apply it to the chest to relieve aches and improve respiration.  Apply (a very small amount, remember it is very strong) inside nostrils to clear sinuses immediately.

Let's make our own!

What You’ll Need:


First, you will want to gather your carrier/base oils and/or butters.  This is what will comprise the consistency and texture of your overall product.  Now, the ingredients may vary depending on what your preferences are.  The good thing about the simplicity of this product is that the base can be versatile so you can be creative, just keep in mind the properties of each ingredient you use (melting temp, scent, uses) so that you get the consistency you’re looking for.


  1. Some basic ingredients to start with include: 
  1. Shea Butter – Excellent base for any body/hair care product.  It is a very stable product with many benefits on its own.  It works to eliminate dark spots, dry skin, eczema, sore muscles, scars, stretch marks and can be used as an effective body massage.  Its is full of vitamins and antioxidants make it incredibly nourishing for the skin and helps to protect the body’s natural oils.  It protects against sunburn in the summer and protects against dry/cracked skin in the winter.  Shea butter combines well with any oil and doesn’t have an imposing scent when blended with other oils.


  1. Coconut Oil (fractionated) – This will help level out the consistency of the shea butter for a smoother, lighter, more spreadable balm.  I tend to use fractionated coconut oil when combining a variety of scents because it doesn’t have the coconut smell.  Make sure to use an organic brand that doesn’t use bleach or chemicals in the refining process. 


  1. Infusion (optional) – I tend to use infused oils in all of the products I make.  It’s an effective way to obtain the benefits of several different herbs by simply adding the infusion to any product.  Infusions also have a long shelf life and the longer the herbs remain in your carrier oil, the more concentrated your infusion becomes.


  1. Menthol Crystals – Have at least 4 oz. on hand, the quantity you add may vary based on how much balm you want to make.

  • Essential Oils – Camphor, Cajeput, Clove, peppermint/eucalyptus – all compliment each other and have similar effects, providing heating/cooling sensations during use.  




  1. I don’t use exact measurements when making for myself, but generally the quantities are the same for any size product you wish to make.  This recipe is for about 8oz., but you’ll most likely end up with a few ounces extra.


  1. Heat 4 oz. of shea butter. Use little heat.  Once your shea butter is melted, turn off the heat.  I find that cooking my oils tends to diminish the richness of its content.  If it’s a warm day, you can simply put your shea butter in the sun.  Even though the base will get warm, all the antioxidants and nutrients are still rich and present in each ingredient.  


  1. Add 3oz. off coconut oil.  If, while stirring the coconut oil in, you notice that your oils combined are very clear, add a little more shea butter.  Sometimes you may have to just eyeball it.  The main thing is, you don’t want your base to be too thin before you add the essential oils or it won’t set.


  1. Add your essential oils.  All of them should combine at least 1oz. You can add as much or as little of each one as you’d like the properties of each essential oil are very beneficial and have unique, aromatic scents.  


  1. Add 2oz. of menthol crystals.  Stir your base until menthol crystals dissolve.  It should still be hot and won’t require re-heating.


  1. Pour into the container and freeze for about an hour, after removing from the freezer if it turns to liquid quickly, add more shea butter.  However, if it melts some, it’s ok.  Make sure it’s completely frozen before you take it out the freezer. .  Let stand for a couple days.  It will reset on its own in a cool (not cold), dry place.


Once you have your product ready, you can use as often or as little as you’d like.  You may have a little more than 8oz., so share with a friend!  It’s likely you’ll have many of your E.O.’s and other oils left over from your product asking session.  It is not recommended that this product is used on babies due to the strength of the ingredients.  


I encourage you to use the remaining ingredients to make the same balm in the future, or create a mixture of your own that’s suitable for your needs.  Each of the ingredients has a number of uses that you can explore and benefit from.  There is a natural alternative for whatever product, balm or pomade you purchase in the store.  If you have the time and interest, it’s certainly worth the effort, the saved money and the genuine results you’re looking for.  



Understand your user experience

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