plasters were used to treat many varied disorders in the days before
modern medicine. Besides being used as a painkiller for backache, they
were also used to treat coughs and infections of the chest and lungs.
mustard plaster works by creating heat, drawing toxins out of the
body and by being a source of nutrients that can be absorbed through
Assemble all the equipment beforehand. You will need:
Pieces of thin cotton cloth,
preferably from old rags that you
can throw away after using. You will need either 2 square pieces of
cloth the size of the skin you want to cover, or 1 rectangular piece of
cloth, double the size you want to cover. You can use flanneletter from
an old pair of pajamas, nightie, or diaper/nappie. For a chest plaster,
cut a piece about 12" x 6".
means of holding
the cloth against the skin:
you are putting the plaster on the chest, a tight-fitting old
T-shirt would do.
Old socks and gloves to hold on hands.
Long strips of cloth or an Ace
elastic bandage for arms and legs
A towel warmed up in the dryer and
folded up and put over th plaster if
the person is lying down.
Mustard powder. You can use either store-bought mustard powder or
Something to spread the paste onto the cloth
disposable work surface, that is, something to put the cloth on
while you are spreading the paste on it that can be thrown out
afterwards. I used a section of newspaper inside a plastic bag. You can
also use waxed paper or a disposable underpad.
of mustard powder to
flour will determine how much heat the plaster will give, and therefore
how often it will need to be checked to make sure it is not burning the
skin and whether or not it can be used overnight, on a child or on
1:8 Very weak, safe overnight (1/4 teaspoon mustard powder to 2
1:6 Mild, suitable for children, safe overnight for adult with normal
skin. (Mix 1/2
teaspoon of mustard seed powder with 1 tablespoon of flour. Should
cover a 6"x6" square area.)
1:4 Strong. Good for relieving chest congestion due to colds, use only during day or set alarm clock if using at
1:3 Very strong. Adults only, not
suitable for children. Check frequently for signs of redness.
When using a strong plaster, it is OK for skin to turn pink, even red,
but it should not turn raw or angry-looking or blister. Remove plaster
immediately if it shows any of these signs.
Mix mustard and flour together. Add
warm water to make a thin paste, not quite as thick as pancake batter.
Spread the paste onto the piece of cloth and then cover it with another
piece of cloth.
sure the skin is dry, place the plaster on the desired area.
Check frequently to make sure there is no allergic reaction. Remove
when skin begins to turn red, usually after 10-20 minutes using a 1:4
ratio. Do not leave on any longer than 30 minutes at a time. After
removing the plaster it is best if the person can remain in bed and
sleep for a couple hours. May be repeated after 2 hours, up to 3 times
Adult, chest plaster:
1 square foot. Cloth size 12"x24", put paste on half the cloth, and
fold over the other half..1 tablespoon mustard powder and 4 tablespoons
flour. When making a chest plaster, you may want to have a hot ceramic
plate nearby to put the plaster on briefly to warm it up before putting
it on the skin. This is only for comfort purposes and is not necessary
for the plaster to work.
Back of hand:
approximately 2 pieces of 4"x4" cloth, 1/8 teaspoon mustard powder, 1