Skunk oil is an oil that is obtained from the two lateral glands that run the length of a skunk's back. Skunks store fats in these glands for use during hibernation or semi-hibernation in warmer climates. Skunk oil has minimal odor.
Skunk oil was used by the Native Americans as a healing balm or as a liniment. When rendered from the glands, over a low heat, it has the consistency of an SAE10 motor oil and the feel of coal oil when applied to the skin. It gives a warming sensation as a mild liniment would. The early explorers and fur buyers, especially in Canada, found that the oil was a very useful addition to their medical kits and paid the natives a premium price for it.
- Fur trade review 25, 1897: 517
- Irving P. Fox (1905), The Spatula 12: 32