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Anyone have homemade embrocation recipes?(14 posts)

Anyone have homemade embrocation recipes?hrv
Feb 18, 2003 8:12 AM
First race is next weekend and temps expected to be 45 - 50 with chance of rain/wind. Haven't gotten around to getting embrocations yet and was wondering if I can make my own that would sort of work? Don't think the local bike shops carry any.

Mix cayenne pepper with Ben-gay, or massage oil then top with vaseline? Salsa from the local taco vendor?!

Also, any product suggestions/links for the 'proper' embrocants would be appreciated.

Camphor Oil? Don't rub your eyes during the race! (I did) nmSpunout
Feb 18, 2003 9:18 AM
leg/arm warmers? nmBruno S
Feb 18, 2003 10:56 AM
if it's raining, they're worse than useless (nm)lonefrontranger
Feb 18, 2003 11:12 AM
no, but the cayenne is a startlonefrontranger
Feb 18, 2003 11:11 AM
Capsaicin is what makes hot peppers hot. The pure oil is often used in South American countries as a rheumatism / arthritis rub. I will warn you though, it's a very aggressive warming agent and I don't care for super hot embrocations.

Common embrocation ingredients:

- Capsaicin (cayenne pepper / hot pepper oil)
- Peppermint Oil
- Wintergreen Oil
- Eucalyptus / camphor oil / menthol
- Aloe Vera (to counteract the drying effects of all the other stuff)
- Alcohol (to help penetrate)
- Ginger
- Salicylates (anti-inflammatory, the main ingredient in aspirin); these are of little use topically

I have heard of homebrew embrocations using DMSO as a 'carrier' agent (to help the stuff penetrate to the joints), although I'd be very leery of using this personally. DMSO tends to carry anything through the skin along with it, meaning you really gotta want what's on your skin in your bloodstream.

Sportsbalm and Sixtufit are the most commonly used cycling-specific ones used in the U.S. Excel carries Sixtufit, and I think Lee's or Harris carries Sportsbalm. Here's a link to a fairly comprehensive list:

Any liniment or sportsbalm will do about the same thing, it's just up to you how hot you like your balm. This may take some experimentation. I'd suggest starting on the conservative side.

I personally use a ginger-based embrocation called "Badger Balm", obtained locally from a bath and beauty shop.
and wax overDougSloan
Feb 18, 2003 1:07 PM
At least with the Born products, using a waxey coating over the balm makes it last longer and counters the wind and rain a bit.

Thanks! Got the Badger Balm...hrv
Feb 19, 2003 9:42 AM
because I didn't have time to start a lab experiment at home! Plus, I lived in the Badger state, Wisconsin, for many years (even though the stuff is made in New Hampshire), and it still occupies a place in my heart (or head: cheesehead, that is!).

Man, that Sixtufit stuff is spendy! I'll definitely try to whip up some homemade potions after seeing what they cost. I do have many of the ingredients at home anyways.

Thanks again,
cool, and if it's wet you'll want Vaseline in additionlonefrontranger
Feb 19, 2003 8:39 PM
The Badger Balm is great stuff and I much prefer the smell over other products. My SO even likes it altho he jokes it makes him smell like a candle shop.

The balm itself will penetrate and rub in - that's cool, you want it to do that. If it's wet and cold though, you will need an insulating layer over top, which means grease, which means Vaseline, in liberal quantities. See my tips in the "joys of grease" thread here: lonefrontranger "cold weather traning" 6/17/02 11:22am
"wet"... "Vaseline"... must... not... respond... will not... argshirt
Feb 20, 2003 1:47 PM
oh, yeah - speaking of which, how's your busted bum doing...lonefrontranger
Feb 20, 2003 7:49 PM
Sorry, that just deserved a response in kind :)

Really - how's the season starting off for you? Youall California boys should be racing by now, I'm guessing.

Me: 2 hours pretty decent ride today, followed by a trip to the massage guy that I've been simultaneously anticipating and dreading all week, if that makes any sense. I'm starting build phase and my legs felt like they'd been well beaten by a baseball bat - before going to the soigneur, that is. Now they just feel like cooked pasta.
My bum is Fine. How's yours???shirt
Feb 26, 2003 9:17 AM
Not only are we California boys racing, but we're pretty much winning as well. Okay, I haven't raced yet at all and I'm sitting in an office in Manhattan right now, but my TEAM is doing really well.

Hotel gym bikes suck.

Some like it Hot [cayenne is a start]char
Feb 20, 2003 10:19 PM
HRV: I've read the posts and see you've picked up the Badger Balm, I haven't seen this stuff so let us know how it works for you. I've also heard of Cramer Atomic Balm, but I have never seen it. Here's some other stuff available at your local Rx that I've been using, in fact just made a round of purchases on the way home [riding] from work.

Go to the Arthritis Aisle of the pharmacy and you will see a wide variety of potions and lotions. What works for myself as mentioned by LFR is the stuff that has capsaicin. Two products I've been using are Zostrix and Capzasin-HP, they have .025% and up to .075% capsaicin depending on which strength you buy.

They are not "cheap" but you really don't use that much, less than a glob of toothpaste per body part. When you use this stuff remember "Don't touch me there." Use alchohol/dishwashing soap to wipe your fingers of this biochem stuff. I get about 2 months out of $15-20 tube, so its not that excessive and that's riding 150-200 miles/week winter. Summertime, I use more, its a wee bit chili with the fog.

Flexall: 454 foggetaboutit

Tiger Balm: Got the camphor smell, but no longer uses capsaicin. Good for an intro to try out. Asian markets may have "original recipe." I got mine from a Vietnamese store, no english on label a sure sign of quality in potions, i.e. unregulated.

There are many others, but most don't have the "Some Like it Hot" stuff in the ingredients, just look at the labels at the products offered.

more on capsaicinlonefrontranger
Feb 21, 2003 7:55 AM
The Badger Balm actually does have a bit of extract of cayenne in it, but it's not as intense as some of the others I've used.

A caution: if you are a contact lens user (as I am) I SERIOUSLY recommend you use latex gloves when applying any kind of super-hot balms. I've nuked my eyes up to 2 days after using capsaicin products, regardless of how carefully I washed my hands. Getting this stuff in your eye feels like your own private holocaust.
re: Anyone have homemade embrocation recipes?jw25
Feb 24, 2003 10:40 AM
Just want to add a few here. I've just started using embrocation-type rubs this winter, so my experiences are limited.
Tiger balm, whatever strength you want (I used the ultra) is great for post-ride massaging of sore muscles. It will work before rides, but I find it fades pretty fast.
Olbas sport oil is another good post-ride, and I'll use it in the warmer months. It smells better than most camphor/methyl salicylate rubs (the Ben-Gay scent), but isn't as warming, either. It's hard to find - try a health-food store.
And here's a strange one - Theraflu vapor stick. I've got the menthol scent, but they have an herbal that's tempting. I got this for it's intended use, and found it to be very warming. Plus it comes in a stick, so you can apply it without getting any on your fingers. Embrocation and contacts do not play nicely together. It smells mediciney, but isn't so strong your eyes water.
The Badger Balm mentioned is tempting - it smells good, and should be good to the skin.
I've tried the Icy-hot stick, and found it to be a little too cooling, plus it has that nice lineminty smell, but the stick form is very very nice. Being wax-based, it also repels water better than the Theraflu stick.
I'll probably break down and get some Qoleum soon, as well. I'm a little leary of slathering some of this on freshly shaved legs, but hey, the Euros do it all the time, so why can't we?