Herbal Remedies Tip #9 – How to make a mustard plaster for coughs and bronchitis

mustard powder A mustard plaster? What the heck is that, you may be wondering…and even if I knew (your mind continues), wouldn’t it be messy and probably ineffective anyway? Well, I don’t know. But I like the idea of it, and I’m going to try it too! You can use a mustard plaster to bring warmth and circulation to the chest when battling persistent coughs or bronchitis. No one in my house has had a persistent cough or bronchitis in as long as my memory can stretch, but you never know. And the herbalists I trust the most, including MD Aviva Jill Romm, certainly advocate their use. As Dr. Romm indicates, the increased blood flow reduces coughing and speeds healing (Romm 2003). And yes, this is perfectly fine to use with children over three years of age. In fact, that’s who she suggests it be used for, though of course it’s useful for adults too.The only caveat is that mustard plasters must be used with those who have the ability to communicate with you if it becomes uncomfortable, so the individual must be awake and able to communicate clearly.

Aviva states that the process may seem elaborate or complicated, but after doing it once it will be simple. The relief your child will get will make it all worthwhile.

Supplies:
1/4 cup dried mustard
2 cotton kitchen towels
large bath towel
hot tap water
large bowl
warm, wet washcloth
salve or petroleum jelly

Instructions:
1. Lay out one kitchen towel on a flat surface. Spread the mustard powder onto the towel, leaving a 1 inch border around the edge uncovered. Next, fold the bottom border upward over the edge of the powder to keep the powder from following out. Place the second towel over the first one, and starting from each of the short edges, roll the edges to the center, forming a scroll.
2. Place the scroll in the bowl and cover it wiht very hot water. Bring the bowl and all the other supplies into your child’s room. Be certain there are no drafts in the room.
3. Place the large bath towel open on a pillow, take off the child’s shirt, and liberally apply the salve or petroleum jelly onto the nipples to protect them from getting blistered or burned.
4. Thoroughly wring the water out of the mustard filled towel when it is cool enough to be handled. Unroll the mustard bandage to the folded edge. With teh folded edge at the bottom, place against the child’s chest and as far aroudn the back as it will reach. The child should quickly lie back on the bath towel, which you then wrap over the plaster. Cover the child with blankets.
5. To prevent burns, remove the plaster immediately when the child says it feels hot or is stinging. This may be after only a few minutes. After removing the plaster, wash the area with the damp washcloth and cover the child with blankets to prevent chill. Never leave the plaster on a child under the age of eight for more than 5 minutes. Adults can tolerate it for a maximum of 20 minutes. Do not repeat more than twice a day for two days, and discontinue if the area becomes red. Never leave a child unattended while the plaster is on.

Okay….so try it out and please, please, please…tell me how it goes!

Ref: Romm, Aviva Jill (2003) Naturally Healthy Babies and Children: A Commonsense Guide to Herbal Remedies, Nutrition, and HealthNaturally Healthy Babies and Children: A commonsense guide to Herbal Remedies, Nutrition, and Health. Ten Speed Press: Berkeley.

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9 Responses to Herbal Remedies Tip #9 – How to make a mustard plaster for coughs and bronchitis

  1. Barb Macleod says:

    what do you do with the used mustard poultice, can it be used again

  2. Melinda McCorkel says:

    I have a seven year old who struggles with asthmatic bronchitis every winter. He takes treatments with a nebulizer….though this winter it seems not to be helping as much. I read about mustard plasters but couldn’t find directions for how to make them. I tried this with your directions and noticed improvement the next morning. I did do it the next day and have since taken a break per your instructions. When can I do it again? How long of a break do I need to take before I can do it again.

    • lilithsapothecary says:

      well, that is certainly good news! I’m glad it showed some improvement. The main thing is to make sure it doesn’t cause too much irritation on the skin. The whole point is that it improves circulation so you just want to make sure his skin has calmed down enough (if reddened) to handle the next treatment. But I think that you can probably give it a day or two rest and then continue for two more days. Is that what you mean? Email me at lilithsapothecary@gmail.com if you have more questions :-)
      Sarah

  3. Jami says:

    I tried it on my son. He has a persistent cough that is turning into bronchitis. After 1 treatment his cough is already better. I feel so empowered. We are on our way to being healthy…

    • lilithsapothecary says:

      Fantastic Jami! I’m so glad this worked for you and I really do wish you the best. Really great news :-)

  4. brandi says:

    I wad just curious if you could do the pack on your face??? I am having sinus issues really bad already and love the mustard plaster

  5. Seri Hamm says:

    Kristy – check this. My grandparents did it to me & while it was horrid, it was actually effective

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