Sunday, April 24, 2011

Spa Girl is hot on Mustard...

Everyone around me it seems is battling a cold or flu lately, including me, a nasty little bug imported from Texas.  And whenever I get a cold it generally goes straight to my chest.
I have felt so miserable I decided to try an old remedy my mom, and mostly likely her mom before her used for colds and flu, an old fashion mustard plaster.
What is the magic of mustard you ask...
The ancient Greeks believed that Mustard was the gift of the Greek god of healing, Asclepious, to mankind. The Chinese used it thousands of years ago. Mustard has been used across the globe as a spice or a medicinal plant. It has been used in war times for healing wounds, and during epidemics, for ailments such as stomach disorders, toothaches, and scorpion bites. The color of mustard can range from yellowish white to black. Mustard is loaded with nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorous, manganese, magnesium, iron, dietary fiber, calcium, protein, and zinc.
Mustard contains chemical compounds which are effective expectorants and `warming’ agents and mustard tea is great for relieving aches and pains, fever and colds. Mustard plasters have been used to help with asthma and bronchitis.
Mustard has an interesting history dating back over 5,000 years. Mustard Seeds come from different areas of Europe and Asia; white originating in the eastern Mediterranean regions, brown from the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains, and black from the Middle East. Used in ancient Greece for their culinary properties, the Romans inventing paste from the ground seeds and both cultures used mustard for medicinal purposes. It is one of the most popular spices traded in the world today.

Here is my moms recipe...

Mom's Mustard Plaster

8 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. soda
Water or mineral oil (I use water)

Mix together and add enough warm water or mineral oil so it's like the consistency of icing. Spread this on 1/2 of piece of cotton material then fold other half of material over mixture. Apply to chest area for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and cover area with a warm cloth.  Repeat twice a day front and back for best results. Caution must be taken to not burn the skin, so check every few minutes and remove if your skin is becoming red.

Here are some other great remedies for homemade cough and cold season:

Ginger Tea
  • 1 inch or so fresh ginger root, sliced thin or grated
  • 1/2 a fresh lemon, sliced (peel & all)
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed
  • ~2 c water
  • Very generous spoonful honey
Place water, ginger, lemon, & garlic in saucepan; bring to boil, then turn down heat and simmer gently for 20 min. Strain into mugs and add lots of honey. The tea *will* get stronger if you let it sit! Most invigorating!
The garlic adds a bit of bitterness, but the honey masks that. This tea is very soothing to the throat and warms and opens the chest and nasal passages. Plus there are all those vitamins and other good things! I now make this tea at the first sign of a cold, which helps me fight it off. I find it more effective than the commercial hot lemon remedies, and of course cheaper!Contributed by Kim Goddard,
Simple Cough Syrup
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup warm water
Combine lemon juice and honey in a bowl. Slowly stir in the water. Store in a covered jar in the refrigerator - take 1-2 tbsp as needed for cough.
To soothe a sore throat, add 1 tbsp of mixture to a cup of comfrey root, chamomile or rosemary tea.
 Cranberry Soup
  • 1 cup cranberries
  • 2 cups water
  • Honey to taste
  • 1 tbsp potato starch
Heat cranberries and water together until cranberry skins open. Strain and add honey to taste. Bring mixture close to a boil, then remove from heat. In a separate bowl, mix starch with 2 tbsp cold water. Slowly add this mixture to the cranberry juice - stir vigorously.

Return mixture to heat and bring to full boil, stirring until it thickens and becomes slightly transparent. Store in refrigerator in a covered container. Serve w/ warm cream. Soothes colds, and is a good source of vitamins C and B.
Hyssop Cough Syrup
Licorice flavoured, soothes sore throats.
  • 2 tbsp dried hyssop (f tops) or 1/3 cup fresh hyssop (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 tsp aniseed
In a saucepan combine honey and water. Stir until the mixture is consistency of pancake syrup. Bring slowly to a boil (over a medium heat). Skim off any scum that rises to the surface.
Use 1-2 tbsp water to moisten the dried hyssop. Crush the aniseed. Stir both into the honey. Cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, uncover, and allow to cool. While the mixture is still a little warm, strain into a jar. When completely cooled, screw on the lid. Should keep for 1 week.
 Glycerine Lemon Cough Syrup
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp glycerine
  • 2 tbsp honey
Heat the lemon by boiling it in water for 10 minutes. Cut in half and squeeze out the juice. Add the glycerine and honey. Take 1 tsp as needed.
Marshmallow Cough Syrup
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice or juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 tsp chopped dried marshmallow root
In a small saucepan, bring the marshmallow root and water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain liquid into another saucepan (should result in about 1 cup). Over a low heat, slowly stir in the sugar until it becomes thick and granules completely dissolve. (Stir in more water if the mixture becomes too thick.) Remove from heat and stir in the orange juice. Transfer to a container and allow to cool before covering tightly.
 Wild Cherry Cough Syrup
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (scant)
  • 1 tsp wild cherry bark
  • 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 tsp chopped dried marshmallow root
Make a decoction of the cherry bark and marshmallow root. (Boil in water for about 4 minutes. Steep the mixture with the cover on the pot for a few minutes.) Slowly stir in the sugar and cream of tartar, simmer until the mixture becomes thick and sugar granules completely dissolve. Transfer to a container and allow to cool before covering tightly.
 Lemon Cayenne Throat Soother 
Mix 1 tsp honey with 1 tsp lemon juice and dash of cayenne pepper. Take like cough syrup. This does not prevent cough, but does relieve throat pain in two ways. First, the honey and lemon coat the throat. Second, the cayenne pepper brings blood cells needed to fight off infection to the throat area.

Contributed by Beth,

More about Mustard:

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