Horse liniment can be rubbed onto sore muscles and joints in humans, but the formula must contain only human-grade ingredients, says Chapman's Premium, a brand made with FDA-approved ingredients. Some horse liniments contain ingredients that are not safe for use on humans.
Horse liniments that only contain ingredients that have been tested and determined safe for human use can help treat numerous conditions in people, including arthritis, sore muscles, stiff joints, swelling, sprains, bruises, muscle spasms and insect bites, says Chapman's Premium.
The liniment is applied directly using clean fingers and rubbed onto the affected area. Some brands can be applied using a spray. Before using the liniment, make sure the skin is clean and free of any moisturizers or other topical preparation, since these products act as a barrier and prevent the horse liniment from being absorbed, rendering its active ingredients less effective, says Chapman's Premium. Human-safe horse liniment can be applied two or three times a day.
Ingredients commonly found in horse liniments that are not safe for humans include dimethylsulfoxide, an industrial solvent, states Chapman's Premium. The FDA says that ointments and other topical formulations can penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream. Horse liniments are not tested by the FDA and are not FDA-approved for human use.