It’s the time of year when people get sick. Running noses, nasal stuffiness and chest congestion are the common symptoms of becoming sick during this time of year when the temperature plunges and November rains come pouring in.
Many people want the quick fix to relieve symptoms that deplete our energies, so they run to their doctor wanting a prescription for relief. However, this isn’t the way to go. The simple fact is those old remedies that we’d make fun of our grandparents using actually works and here’s one you shouldn’t overlook: mustard plaster.
My first exposure to this was when I was about 10 years old and my mother put it on me despite my angered protests. It was something I believe she learned from her mother who used it on her when she was young. The one thing I will never forget is that it worked better than anything the doctor prescribed and there’s a reason why. The science behind it explains why using a mustard plaster relieves chest congestion.
Mustard irritates the small hair-like follicles called cilia in the lining of the lungs. This irritation moves the cilia, which in turn, move any debris out of the lungs.
The recipe calls for ½ teaspoon dry mustard, 1 tablespoon flour, approximately two tablespoons of warm water and a dry towel, t-shirt or flannel material. Mix the ingredients together until it forms into a paste. Spread that mixture over the towel or whatever you’re using and put it in the microwave for about 50 seconds. Then place the heated towel on your chest and let it rest there for about an hour.
Now there are some precautions to consider. It can burn your skin, so don’t keep the mustard plaster sitting on your chest for too long. Also, if you use too much mustard in the mix it will burn your skin. There are different variants of this recipe, but it is pretty much the same. For example, if you use hot water instead of heating the towel, that is a possibility, but don’t use boiling water. Some recipes also call for ground mustard seed.
It’s a quick fix that will save you the expense of a doctor’s visit.