Forgotten remedies – Mustard Seeds

       There are two species of mustard: one with white seeds (Sinapis alba), which has milder effects (but it’s also weaker from therapeutic point of view), and one with black seeds (Sinapis nigra), with a strong spicy taste and extremely irritating for skin, which is usually prefered in therapy. Both are extensively used in folk medicine, especially as external broncho-pulmonary applications, as it is a very efficient remedy.
       Further, lets see some ways of preparation and some therapeutic uses for both species of mustard.

Mustard flour:
       The flour is obtainded by grinding seeds with an electric coffe grinder. Keep it in dark colored containers and in cool places. Usually, it is prefered to use the mustard flour in the first 2-3 weeks since preparation. After this period of time its medicinal properties are gradually diminishing. It is administered internally with milk or wine, and externally is used to prepare poultices.

Mustard poultice:
       Mix 3-4 tablespoons of mustard flour with water and stir it to form a paste, which is then put in a cloth bag and applied on the affected area. Try to hold it in one spot until the skin redness appears along with a slight burning sensation.
       For children over 6 years old, the poultice is made from 3 spoons of mustard flour and 3 spoons of flour obtained by grinding flax seeds.
       For children under 6 years old the mustard poultices are contraindicated.

Therapeutic indications of mustard:
       Chronic constipation – Take 1-2 spoons of white mustard seeds on an empty stomach, swallowing them with water. It is an effective treatment, but contraindicated to people who suffer from irritable bowel.
       Poisonings – Mix one spoon of black mustard flour in a glass of water and take in on an empty stomach. This mix causes you vomit almost instantaneously which will eliminate toxic materials from the stomach.
       Lack of appetite – Put a quarter teaspoon of black mustard flour in a glass of milk and drink it with a quarter – half an hour before meals .

External applications with mustard:
       Bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia – Apply a black mustard flour poultice on the chest. Keep it as long as the burning sensation is bearable, then remove it and cover the treated area with a warm material.
       Rheumatic pain, neuralgia – In the hot bath water put a small bag with 100-200 grams of black mustard seeds. Let it there for about 10 minutes, then take it out. General baths for about ten minutes are made with this water. It is also a valid treatment in chronic asthma, in pains on different locations caused by prolonged exposure to cold or air currents.

Precautions and contraindications in treatment with mustard:
       The children under 6 years old are extremely sensitive to treatment with black mustard, which can give severe intoxications.
       The prolonged administration of mustard, black or white, becomes irritating and toxic, especially to people with dyspepsia, with sensitive stomach or colon, and people who are suffering from urrinary irritations.

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