A mustard plaster is a poultice of mustard seed powder spread inside a protective dressing and applied to the body to stimulate healing. It can be used to warm muscle tissues and for chronic aches and pains. It was once part of conventional medical treatment, and available in prepared versions in pharmacies. It fell from favor in the 20th century and is now only used as a home remedy.
How it works
An enzymatic reaction in the wet mustard powder produces a chemical called allyl isothiocyanate, which is absorbed through the skin as a transdermal drug. It provides warmth and functions as a counterirritant, meaning that it stimulates nerve endings in the skin and thereby distracts the body from deeper-seated pain.
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- Small, Ernest (2009). Top 100 Food Plants. NRC Research Press. p. 347. ISBN 9780660198583.
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- Roger M. Grace (2005-02-17). "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Mustard Plasters". Metropolitan News-Enterprise. Retrieved 2007-07-16.