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Friday, February 07, 2014

From Cramps to Conditioner: 15 Surprising Uses for Mustard!!

Flower of Mustard
Being stranded due to a massive winter storm has it's benefits. . .I have an extra day to write, I got to watch the opening ceremonies for the Sochi Olympics, I will be able to sleep in a little tomorrow morning, and I had a chance to learn that you can sort some forms of muscle pain and cramps by sucking on a packet of plain yellow mustard.

Um, yeah.  You read that right!

I found out that last little fact when flipping through my hotel room's TV channels trying to see if any Olympic-y stuff was on.  I happened to pass by a Dr. Oz episode just at the moment he was telling the audience that they should carry little packs of regular old yellow mustard around with them in case of muscle strain in the back. I thought he was joking.

A quick little search on the old 'net and it was confirmed. . .plain yellow mustard (you don't have to go fancy with wholegrain or Dijon, etc.) is known to help with cramps and muscle strain.  Just a teaspoon or two taken internally (about the size of a single serve packet) is said to deal with the problem.  I'm still not sure how, but there are a lot of websites that promote it.  Along with Dr. Oz, that is.

And that piqued my interest a bit. . .so I decided to find out if there was anything else mustard was good for (besides embellishing hot dogs, that it!).  Here's a summary of the surprising things I found:

  • Back and Muscle Pain and Cramps
Eat 1-2 teaspoons of plain yellow mustard.
  • Foot Pain
Crush 2 Tablespoons of Mustard Seed and add to a foot bath.  Soak for at least 15 minutes.***
  • Colds/Congestion
Make a Mustard Plaster of 2 whipped Egg Whites, 1 teaspoon Ground Mustard Seed and enough Flour to make a paste. Spread on chest.*** 
Alternatively, take a hand towel and soak in water as hot as you can stand to touch.  Wring out and lay flat.  Starting from about three inches in from one end, squirt Yellow Mustard in a zig zag down the middle of the towel down to three inches in from the other end.  Fold in thirds longways and lay on chest for relief.
  • Achy Elbows or Joints
Make the above Mustard Plaster, apply to joint and wrap loosely with a cloth or towel for 20 minutes.***
  • Whole Body Aches
Fill a tub with the warmest water you can stand.  Mix 2/3 of a cup of mild Yellow mustard into the water, ensuring complete incorporation.  Soak for 15 minutes.***
  • Weed Prevention
Planting White Mustard Seeds in your garden can deter or inhibit the growth of weeds.  Check with your nursery first though, to make sure it doesn't affect the plants you actually want to grow, too.
  • Face Mask
Keeping well away from eyes and lips, apply a thin layer of Mild Yellow Mustard on your face (insuring you've tested first for possible sensitivity).  Leave on for 5 minutes and rinse well.
  • Remove Skunk Smell From Sprayed Cars
Add about a cup of Mustard Powder to a bucket of warm water.  Mix well and rinse your car tires, baseboards, undercarriage, etc. with the solution.
  • Soothe Sore Throat
Add 1 teaspoon each of yellow mustard, salt, and lemon juice, along with 2 teaspoons of honey, to a half cup of boiling water.  Mix well and leave until the mixture has cooled to barely warm.  Gargle and spit out.
  • Remove Odors from Bottles
Add a 1/2 Tablespoon of Yellow Mustard to a bottle and fill about 3/4 of the rest of the way with Warm Water.  Swish around for a bit and then rinse out.
  • Deep Conditioner for Hair
Massage a couple tablespoons of Mustard Oil (or a runny paste made from olive oil and mustard powder) throughout your hair, concentrating on the ends.  Wrap with plastic wrap or a shower cap and leave on for at least a few hours, or overnight.  Wash and condition as usual. 
  •  Deer Repellent 
Mustard, apparently, mimics the sweaty scent of man (?), which animals like deer do not like.  Place containers of it (tin cans, plates, plastic cups, etc.) around the area you want deer to stay clear of.
  • Re-Train Egg Eating Chickens 
I'm dubious about this one, but blow out several eggshells (or leave eggs whole-raw or hardboiled, making sure to mark them so you don't mistake them for fresh later on) and paint with a thin layer of Mustard.  Place one treated egg in each nesting box.  Chickens will, theoretically, be repelled by the mustard and stop eating their eggs.
  •  Arthritis Relief
Rub mild Yellow Mustard right into hands.***
  •  Burns 
For minor burns, rinse area with cold water to stop any further damage of skin.  Put a thick layer of Mild Yellow Mustard onto the burn and leave for at least 20 minutes, or until pain subsides.***

***NOTE:  Putting undiluted mustard directly onto the skin can lead to irritation or blisters.  Even with a plaster or bath, check to see if you are allergic by putting a small amount on your skin before applying to a large amount.  Keep out of eyes, too. . .ground mustard seeds can be strong and irritating.  Discontinue use if you are bothered in any way.

(photo courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net and can be found here)

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