The History of Absorbine

W.F.Young, Inc., makers of Absorbine, was established in 1892. Absorbine Veterinary Liniment, W.F.Y.’s first product, was invented by Mary Ida and Wilbur F. Young. The two were living in Connecticut just before the turn of last the century. Wilbur delivered cargo with a wagon and a team of horses. Mary Ida was an avid horse enthusiast and cared for all of their horses. Wilbur’s team would get tired after long days of pulling freight and often would be too sore the next day to pull cargo as effectively.

                                                       Wilbur F. Young and his team

In those days, if a horse had stiffness or soreness, a common procedure was to “blister” the skin using an acidic or otherwise caustic agent. The blistered skin would cause blood to flood the area, speeding recovery of the muscles and connective tissues underneath. This was a harsh measure and often very uncomfortable for the horse. It would also necessitate two to three days of recovery. Mary Ida and Wilbur disapproved of this practice. Mary Ida decided there must be a smarter, more humane way. She then took special care to formulate a time honored blend of aromatic and essential oils that remain a family secret to this day. They named it Absorbine Liniment.

Wilbur started using it on his team and bringing cases with him to sell on his route. People loved it because it was humane, and also because it eliminated the two to three days that it took to recover from the blistering. People could now just apply Absorbine Liniment and relieve pain in fatigued muscles and joints, without the down time from blistering.


Soft tissue management has always been a major use of liniment, but Absorbine soon became known as a medicine chest in a bottle because it has powerful antiseptic properties that help prevent bacterial and fungal infections. Farmers learned that Absorbine helped to prevent rain-rot, summer itch, tail itch and minor skin infections that are common in horses. There is a recipe right on the bottle for making a body wash for your horse that refreshes, disinfects and washes away sweat and grime from hard working horses. The product caught on quickly, and the business grew. Today, Absorbine Veterinary Liniment is sold online, in tack shops across America and around the world in the classic ochre colored bottle.

The combined effect of our liniment and the act of rubbing it onto the horse by hand creates a special synergy. The physical action of the rubbing accelerates the blood flow even more, helping the body heal itself. As an added benefit, when you rub down the horse, you are touching every part of the legs, observing any bumps, heat, swelling etc. This proven hands-on style of horse management is practiced by farriers and horse health experts around the world. They know the best way to treat any ailment is to know about it early, before it causes a domino effect on the horses health.

                                                                          Applying Absorbine By Hand

After Absorbine became widely available across America, farmers realized that the same liniment that helped their horses also helped their own aches and pains. Seeing the need, Wilbur and Mary Ida’s son Wilbur II suggested a version for people. In 1903 Absorbine Jr. was introduced, named after Wilbur Jr.

     Like Absorbine Veterinary Liniment, Absorbine Jr. helps the body heal itself by increasing blood flow to the affected area. It has the same analgesic and antiseptic properties as the veterinary liniment. It works great to relieve the itch caused by athlete’s foot. W.F. Young, Inc. actually coined the phrase “athlete’s foot”. Absorbine Jr. is now widely available at major mass-retailers and smaller pharmacies and stores.

                         Absorbine Jr. 2010

Absorbine was invented because of the compassion for horses that Wilbur and Mary Ida Young felt. They believed that although the horse was a “means to an end” for most people, they also needed to be treated humanely in return for all of their hard work. A happy healthy horse is going to work more efficiently and require less care. The old saying is still true– an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Today we carry on these same values. We believe that every product must be conceived with the horse’s health and wellbeing in mind. From our Hooflex Hoof Conditioner to Absorbine Veterinary Liniment and Gel to our UltraShield EX fly repellents and ShowSheen grooming products, your horse’s wellbeing is and always has been our first mission.

Mary Ida’s Suffolk Horse 1916

Absorbine, Absorbine Jr., Hooflex, UltraShield and ShowSheen are registered trademarks of W.F. Young, Inc.

This entry was posted in Absorbine, Fly Control, For Riders, Grooming, Hoof Care, Muscle Care, W. F. Young, Inc. and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to The History of Absorbine

  • Anonymous says:

    Absorbine has been trusted for so many generations! I have been a user since 1975 and first used it on my mosquito bites!

  • Lyle B says:

    I picked up a bottle of BIGELOIL liquid gel. The bottle states that can be used on horses and dogs. Is their any reason that a human should not use this product on himself or herself? Their is a caution area on the bottle. It does say for animal use only. Would you email me back as to why it is not to be used on humans.

    • Sean says:

      Hi Horseman322, I wrote you back about our labels and about how Bigeloil may get used by people, but that it has only ever been tested on animals. Bigeloil and Absorbine Veterinary Liniment are only approved for animal use and so that is exactly what our label reflects.

    • beetlemama says:

      Bigeloil has been used by my family since the 1960′s. My dad used to work in a golf pro shop and it was regularly used there by the golfers. My mom is now 97 years old and uses Bigeloil nightly on her muscle aches. I myself buy it by the gallon (granted, in a feed supply store) which lasts me about 1 year. I call it liquid gold because I can’t live without it! There is definitely an icy/hot feeling which is tremendous.

    • Vicki says:

      Yes. You can use it without any issues. My grandmother used it daily for her knees with great success! I use it also and so does my daughter!! Good luck!!

  • Donna says:

    Where is absorbine Sr. The horse liniment that you are now selling is missing some of its strength. It does not seem as strong and produces no heat when rubbed on to the skin. The new product is a disappointment.

    • Sean says:

      Hi Donna! Rest assured that the Absorbine Veterinary Liniment you find in the ocher bottle is the same as it’s always been. If you’d like more information, please feel free to email me at sblack@wfyoung.com and thanks for using Absorbine!

  • Marianne says:

    I am new to absorbine and have only used the gel on horses legs and. When using the liquid liniment as a rinse, does it have to be rinsed off the horse before saddling and riding the next day after use?

    • Sean says:

      Hi Marianne, sorry it took so long to reply! You do not have to worry about using our liniment body wash on your horse’s back and then saddling them the following day. As a rule of thumb, we do not recommend anyone putting a topical analgesic, like Absorbine Veterinary Liniment, onto the saddle area and then saddling up and riding shortly after. But it sounds like you know that already!

  • mike says:

    can Absorbine Veterinary Liniment Gel be used on dogs? i have a dog that has arthritis and was wondering if i could rub it on his hind quarters ?
    i use it on my knees and hips and it helps so much.

    • Sean says:

      Hi Mike, Thanks for writing in to Absorbine and for using our products! We haven’t gotten approval for Absorbine Veterinary Liniment Gel on dogs yet, so we must advise that you follow the label instructions.

      • Gabriela says:

        My dog has advance Hip Dysplasia and arhritis (if that´s possible) and can hardly walk. A few days ago he could´t walk a single block. I used Absorbine Jr. thinking if I can use it, he can… And he walked the next day. Five days later he moves around better. No skin rash or anything. I am delighted!

  • Larry says:

    Is Fitzsimmons leg paint the same as bigeloil?

    • Sean says:

      Hey Larry, we don’t make Fitzsimmons, just Bigeloil so I can’t say for certain. There is a connection in that they were originally developed by the same folks and if I were to hazard a guess, I’d say it is used in a similar way – to increase circulation where applied, but that Bigeloil is a much more mild application. Thanks for writing in! -Sean

  • Lorenzo Cerni says:

    Analgesic drugs act in various ways on the peripheral and central nervous system; they include paracetamol (acetaminophen), the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as the salicylates, narcotic drugs such as morphine, synthetic drugs with narcotic properties such as tramadol, and various others.;-;`

    My personal blog site
    <http://www.healthmedicinejournal.com/

  • Ashley Smith says:

    I have a dog that has been suffering with stiffness and pain around the shoulder area for several months that gets worse if she runs even a short distance or walks more than a couple of miles on the leash, however improves if we keep her at home for a couple of days. This is almost certainly due to an injury sustained at some point while running.

    X-Rays have shown she has no arthritis, dislocation or broken bones so it seems likely the problem is related to muscle ligaments or tendons and my bet is on the latter after all this time.

    She has been on Seraquin for months and undergone more than a dozen sessions of physiotherapy and hydrotherapy, which all helps to some extent but the problem never seems to entirely go away. The physio has identified a point between the armpit and triceps as the source of the pain but it definitely isn’t cured yet.

    Feeling rather frustrated I suddenly thought about horse liniment, so I ordered some Absorbine Liquid Embrocation, which is said to be for horse or dog tendons. Are there any best practices for the application and is there anything else you can suggest that may help?

    The dog is still only 5 years old and a natural born athlete that would run all day before this injury but she just isn’t enjoying life the way she used to. She seems to suffer worst following sudden stops or changes in direction so chasing after balls or sticks is sadly impossible.

    Thanks

    Ashley

    • Sean says:

      Hi Ashley,

      Here a few best practices for applying the product to a dog. It can be a challenge with certain coat lengths to get the liquid onto the area. In general, you’ll want to apply just enough to spread around the sore area. Avoid soaking the dog’s coat all the way through.

      -When you notice the dog is sore from recent exertion, start out with an ice pack for 15 minutes, then allow the area to warm up to normal temperature. Then proceed with the Embrocation.
      -Lift the outer coat layer back to reveal the skin below. If the dog’s coat is short, this is not necessary.
      -Apply a small amount of the liquid (approximately one teaspoon at a time) to the area, trying to get it as close to the skin as possible.
      -Let the outer coat fall back down and gently cup your hand over that area to help the liquid spread out under the coat keeping it in that area.
      -Do this in several locations to reach the whole area.

      -Before bringing your dog out for a walk, apply the product as described above to warm up the muscles and joints before they need to work. This will increase circulation to the area and help him warm up.

      Thanks for your question!!

      Sean

  • Shantae Haghighi says:

    Muscle pain is most frequently related to tension, overuse, or muscle injury from exercise or physically-demanding work. In these situations, the pain tends to involve specific muscles and starts during or just after the activity. It is usually obvious which activity is causing the pain.^^”:

    See you real soon <http://www.healthmedicinebook.com

  • Ashley says:

    Thanks for your guidance Sean. The dog is an English Staffordshire Bull Terrier and she has a very fine short coat, so there is no difficulty at all reaching that area with the Absorbine, though any amount effectively soaks the area.

    I’ve only just read your reply but I’ve been applying the Absorbine once in the morning so far before exercise and I’ve noticed significantly less limping afterwards if we stick to two normal walks a day on the leash. She might look a bit stiff later for a few steps after resting but nothing too drastic.

    My impression is that the heat from the Absorbine is helping to reduce the risk of further damage during exercise, which is half the battle because we’ve been caught in a vicious circle here for months.

    I’ve taken note of your points and I’m hoping that we can now see a full recovery in time if we can override her natural instinct to race as soon as she feels better by keeping her on the leash outdoors for the next few months.

    On a side note we have so far seen three vets and a physiotherapist that have cost us over $2500 in charges so far and I’m rather disappointed that it didn’t occur to any of them to suggest something like Absorbine to help with the healing. The next step they were recommending was an MRI scan…

    Thanks

    Ashley

    • Sean says:

      She’s probably a very energetic dog! It sounds like you have a management plan in place now with the subdued walks and all. I’m happy to hear that you were applying Absorbine beforehand. Many people apply it only after exertion, but I really like it as a preventative measure as well and it sounds like you’ve been having good results with that tactic. We wish you and your friend the very best!

      • Ashley says:

        We’ve been using the Absorbine now since the middle of June but the clear improvement came a few weeks ago when we moved to applying Absorbine 3 times a day. Once about 30 minutes before her first walk in the morning, then again around mid-afternoon and finally in the evening after her second walk.

        Following this procedure her improvement was dramatic and immediately obvious with any signs of stiffness or limping reduced by a good 90%, despite covering around 5 miles day now on the lead.

        We tried the ice a couple of times early on when she was stiff after exercise but she clearly doesn’t like it, however adopting this system with 3 applications a day is working brilliantly.

        My two questions really are if the Absorbine is actually helping to heal the tendon or is it merely masking the pain? Also is there any kind of time limit when we should stop using the product?

        Due to the longevity of her condition we are still not allowing her to run free yet in the hope this will allow the healing process to fully settle but we’ve now been on gentle walks since early April. The sudden improvement with Absorbine when applied 3 times a day was remarkable though.

        • Sean says:

          Hey Ashley, It was a great move to adjust to what was working for your dog. In terms of long term healing, the increased blood flow is widely seen as good for healing the body, and the fact that you are seeing positive results should indicate you are on the right track. It sounds like it also masking the pain for her, so we’d say both! We look at the effect of our liniment as managing pain while at the same time increasing blood flow, so there is a short term benefit and a long term benefit. You do not need to stop using the product after a certain amount of time or number of applications. Thanks so much for writing in and for using our “AVL”! -Sean

          • Ashley says:

            Thanks for the super fast reply Sean.

            It’s a tricky balance knowing if it’s safe yet to increase walking distances and you just hope that further damage isn’t being done despite the pain being masked.

            For the time being I think we’ll stick with the current plan using Absorbine three times a day for at least another couple of months and then see if she shows any negative signs as we slowly decrease the amount. If that works OK we can perhaps start slowly running again but keep applying the Absorbine for a while as a precaution. Does that make sense? I’ve heard that it can take a good 8 months of gentle exercise to properly heal a badly damaged tendon.

  • Barbara says:

    My horse has the starting of white line in her hooves would absorbine be something I should be putting on this or is there something else I could use since this is a fungus

    • Sean says:

      Hi Barbara,

      Absorbine Veterinary Liniment will help combat white line disease. The label says to apply once a week, but that is a maintenance recommendation. If you are seeing the beginnings of white line disease (black or dark colored discolorations showing on the end of the white line band) clean the hoof daily and then apply Absorbine Veterinary Liniment full strength. Pour it directly on or our new spray bottle works very nicely for this purpose as well. If the darkening accelerates consult your veterinarian and farrier.

      If it’s a more advanced case and you have a hole running up the white line, here’s something we’ve had success with on our horses:
      Carefully dig out the dirt and manure from the hole. Mix our Hooflex Thrush Remedy with granulated sugar to form a paste. Fill the hole with the paste, then make a ball of cotton and cap off the hole with the cotton so that it fits snugly. The cotton will block new dirt from entering while the Thrush Remedy kills the infection. Hooflex Thrush Remedy does not kill live tissue or sting, and the sugar is known for it’s regenerative properties. Check that the cotton ball is still in place regularly and monitor the hole as the hoof grows out naturally.

      Thanks for writing in and for using Absorbine!

      Sean

  • Glen says:

    We used the Absorbine Veterinary Liniment Gel, as told by a friend of ours, for our son who plays football and baseball. WORKED GREAT! But I’m afraid that is may contain a steroid or some form of PHD. Is this gel legit and wont haunt my son in future drug testing?

    • Sean says:

      Without knowing every ingredient that they test for, we can say that there are no steroid or similar ingredients in our product.

      Also, horses in competition are tested rigorously by strict organizations like the USEF. To give you an idea of how vigorously, they even test for ingredients like capsaicin! (the “hot” chemical in chili peppers) When used topically, Absorbine Veterinary Liniment Gel does not cause a testing problem.

      The main active ingredient of this product is Menthol. As far as we’ve seen, the ingredients do not go into the blood stream where it would cause a test to signal. So be assured that there are no steroids in our product. Thanks for writing in!

  • Jean Young says:

    Hi, I live in kinston ontario, cananda and would like to know if there are any places by me to get some more “Bigeliol”. I use it for my RH arthritis and that stuff works better than anything I have ever tried and brings such relief, saddly I am out and looking. Your reply would be apprieciated…J.

    • Sean says:

      Hello Jean, thanks for using Bigeloil! Here is the info for our distributor in Canada since we do not sell directly.
      1250 Rue Nobel Boucherville, QC J4B 5H1, Canada 1 450-641-6496 Give them a call and they will let you know if there is Bigeloil being sold near you!

  • Katy Hoyt says:

    Hello-
    I have been using Absorbine Jr. for many years. But a few back years back (when they started putting it in plastic bottles) I stopped using this product because it didn’t seem to work the same. Has the recipe changed back to what it used to be? Or does the plastic bottle have a different effect on the medicine compared to the glass bottle? I would love to use the stuff again. I have been milking a glass bottle of the stuff for many years.

    • Sean says:

      Hey Katy,

      Thanks for writing in. We did not change the formula when we went to plastic bottles. This past year we actually sold Absorbine Jr. and now we 9the keepers of this blog) only make the Absorbine Veterinary Liniment version in the 16, 32 and 128 ounce ocher bottles, found at equine tack shops. One thought is that if you are working on a very old bottle, it is getting stronger and stronger as the liquid evaporates away, leaving a higher concentration of menthol!

  • Mary says:

    Just after coming across this on the net as I was looking for a cure for a nail fungal infection and I am wondering if this would do the trick and also if it is available in Ireland,

    • Sean says:

      Our Absorbine Veterinary Liniment is called “Absorbine Liquid Embrocation” in Europe and you can find it at your local equine tack shop in the ocher colored bottle. Sorry that we don’t have more information to answer your question on nail fungus. -Sláinte!

  • Joe C. says:

    Hello Sean,

    I have been using Absorbine Jr since I was a kid 40 years ago

    It will get rid of every kind of sore, rash, or whatever, daily use even got rid of some flat warts I got on my face in the 90′s, The dermatologist wanted me to use a cream that was not recommended for the face and could remove PIGMENT !!

    Anyway, it seems the company that bought Absorbine Jr does not make the 16 oz size (or is having a problem getting it out to us)

    Is there any contaminate or anything in the Veterinary version that could be harmful to humans? At my wits end looking for my beloved Absorbine, The 4oz bottles are just too small and cost too much :(

    Joe C

  • Joe C. says:

    Is Anyone answering these questions anymore?

    Hello Sean,

    I have been using Absorbine Jr since I was a kid 40 years ago

    It will get rid of every kind of sore, rash, or whatever, daily use even got rid of some flat warts I got on my face in the 90′s, The dermatologist wanted me to use a cream that was not recommended for the face and could remove PIGMENT !!

    Anyway, it seems the company that bought Absorbine Jr does not make the 16 oz size (or is having a problem getting it out to us)

    Is there any contaminate or anything in the Veterinary version that could be harmful to humans? At my wits end looking for my beloved Absorbine, The 4oz bottles are just too small and cost too much :(

    Joe C

    • Sean says:

      Hi Joe, we are here still! Over our long history, we’ve received many letters testifying to successes for personal use of our Absorbine Veterinary Liniment. Even so, this product has been labeled for use on animals, and we cannot recommend it for people. The instructions state it is meant to be ‘rubbed in’ and there is no need to worry about contact with your skin. The active ingredient is Natural Menthol. The formula also contains our proprietary herbal tincture including Wormwood, Echinacea and Calendula.

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