Health Benefits

Mustard is an EXCELLENT choice for treating a wide variety of health issues. I woke up this morning feeling the effects of Austin allergies and my hard workout yesterday, so today is the day to try out these home remedies.

For a sore throat, mix one tablespoon yellow mustard + juice of half of a lemon + one tablespoon of salt + one tablespoon of honey + one half cup cup boiling water + one cap of mouthwash.

Here’s what my mixture looks like:

Appetizing, huh?
Appetizing, huh? (Photo: Devin Turnham)
How I felt right before gargling with the concoction. (Photo: Devin Turnham)
How I felt right before gargling with the concoction. (Photo: Devin Turnham)

Take a sip and gargle for a few seconds before spitting out the mixture. Repeat the steps five to eight more times.

After the gargling is complete, enjoy the relief! The concoction does not taste as bad as it sounds. The half cup of water dilutes the other ingredients to a bearable amount. The main flavors I tasted were honey, lemon and mouthwash- not particularly appetizing, but not unbearable. My throat was scratchy from Austin allergies this morning and does indeed feel less sore after gargling. I recommend this approach!

Cheers! (Photo: Devin Turnham)
Cheers! (Photo: Devin Turnham)

For a nose in need, rub some mustard on your chest, and place a hot, damp cloth on top of the mustard. Within a few minutes, your sinuses will clear.

This also actually worked! I effectively blew my nose after a few minutes with the hot towel, and my head feels less congested now.

Mustard and towel on my chest. Strange, but it actually helped!
Mustard and towel on my chest. Strange, but it actually helped! (Photo: Devin Turnham)

Sore muscles can easily be cured with two tablespoons yellow mustard + one teaspoon Epsom salt in running bath water. The mustard heightens the effectiveness of the Epsom salt. (A word for the wise- take a quick shower afterwards so that you don’t smell like mustard!)

I enjoyed my mustard/Epsom bath, though I got tired of smelling mustard after a few minutes. As for effectiveness, I highly recommend it. I felt refreshed, and did some light stretching afterwards and felt immediate relief.

Sore feet follow a similar remedy. Combine one tablespoon mustard with one pan of hot water. Stir to dissolve the mustard and soak your feet for 10 minutes.

Funny appearance, serious relief. (Photo: Devin Turnham)
Funny appearance, serious relief. (Photo: Devin Turnham)

I felt like a new woman after my foot soak! I highly recommend this tactic for a quick pick-me-up after a long day.

Mustard also helps with burns. Place the burned area under cool, running water to relieve the immediate pain. Spread a thick layer of mustard over the affected area, and the pain will dissolve within a few minutes. I’m unwilling to needlessly burn myself to try it out, but the National Mustard Museum swears by this remedy. Next time you accidentally grab a hot pan, reach for your yellow mustard and let me know how it turned out!

Mustard Beauty

Run out of self-care products? Never fear! When beauty products run out, save yourself a trip to the store and stretch your budget by harnessing the beautifying power of mustard.

French’s yellow mustard works great as a face mask! Test mustard on the inside of your wrist to ensure that you’re not allergic. After testing, spread a thin layer of mustard over your face for ten minutes, then rinse.

Did I just put yellow mustard all over my face?
Did I just put yellow mustard all over my face? (Photo: Devin Turnham)

While I had the mask on, my eyes got a bit watery and irritated. My skin was noticeably redder, but after washing it off, my skin felt tingly, refreshed and glowy.The naturally active ingredients in mustard work to increase blood flow in your face, providing a healthy glow while smoothing out bumps and blotchiness. It really did work!

I can't believe this actually worked! Thanks to the mustard mask, my skin is smooth and even. (Photo: Devin Turnham)
I can’t believe this actually worked! Thanks to the mustard mask, my skin is smooth and even. (Photo: Devin Turnham)

Sunburns are no fun, but some say the remedy for this ailment lies in the refrigerator. Mix equal parts yellow mustard and aloe vera and spread it on the affected area. The aloe vera soothes skin, while mustard contains carotene and lutien, which contain age-defying antioxidant properties. Naturally occurring sulphur wards off potential skin infections.

My left forearm has a light sunburn from hanging my arm out the driver’s-side window of my car. I put a circle of the aloe vera/mustard mixture on my arm to compare the effects against untreated skin. I saw no change, but next time you get a sunburn, try this out and comment how it works out for you!

Circle of mustard on my sunburned forearm. (Photo: Devin Turnham)
Circle of mustard on my sunburned forearm. (Photo: Devin Turnham)

Many claim that mustard oil (NOT yellow mustard!) serves as an excellent deep conditioner. Pour a generous amount in your palm and massage into hair at night. Cover your oil-laden hair with a shower cap or towel and leave it for 30 minutes. Shower and experience shinier, softer, healthier hair due to the fatty acids in the oil.

From a scientific standpoint, mustard oil is a derivative of mustard seed, which contains selenium, zinc, and beta-carotene. It also contains vitamins A, D, E and K. Mustard oil encourages hair growth due to its naturally occurring vitamin A, and the oil strengthens hair strands and prevents hair loss through calcium and omega-3 fatty acids.

Warning: Mustard oil at work! (Photo: Devin Turnham)
Mustard oil at work beneath this blue towel! (Photo: Devin Turnham)

I applied and washed out the mask, put my wet hair in braids and slept on it.  My high hopes for the hair mask were dashed when I woke up with dried out, frizzy hair.

The result of an unsuccessful mustard oil hair mask.
The result of an unsuccessful mustard oil hair mask. (Photo: Devin Turnham)


Yellow mustard has many uses outside, specifically for removing foul car scents and preventing weed growth.

Questioning what to when you hit Pepe le Pew? Whether you hit a skunk or the two-year-old vomited on the tires, mustard is the solution to preventing the vehicular infiltration of the pungent and odious. Mix one and a half cups of yellow mustard with three gallons of almost-boiling water, stir at a rapid pace, and splash it on the tires and underneath the car.

I hit a skunk a few weeks ago, and my frantic quest for a remedy led me to this article that details the aforementioned solution. It worked wonders for me, and the skunk smell is almost completely gone!

My stinky car, with the mixture beside it. (Photo: Devin Turnham)
My less-stinky car, with a puddle of mustard mixture around the tire. (Photo: Devin Turnham)

(In other news, this trick also works for smelly tupperware. Just swish a mustard/water mixture around inside the tupperware and rinse.)

A tupperware filled with mustard solution. (Photo: Devin Turnham)
A tupperware filled with mustard solution. (Photo: Devin Turnham)

At this point, you might be wondering to yourself, “How does mustard remove such foul odors?”

I’m glad you asked.

A main ingredient in mustard is a vinegar called rubefacient, which causes increased friction at the molecular level, thus generating heat that penetrates a pre-existing scent in the air and replaces it with a different scent (in our case, it is the delectable, mouthwatering scent of mustard, which will fade with time.) Read more about the science of mustard here.

On a different note, if four-legged critters are helping themselves to your backyard vegetable garden, the solution lies in your refrigerator. Squirt yellow mustard into a pie pan and spread it around. Hang the pan on a post in the garden to keep critters at bay. For extra fun, draw a face on the tin pan, and now you’ve got a custom-made, uniquely-scented scarecrow!

I grow a few spices in a backyard planter, and have had trouble with critters eating my basil leaves. I have not seen any bites taken out of my leaves since placing my mustard pan in the garden last week!

Mustard in my garden keeps the critters away. (Photo: Devin Turnham)
Mustard in my garden keeps the critters away. (Photo: Devin Turnham) 

How have you used mustard to solve your outdoor issues? Did you try one of my solutions and achieve a different result? Let me know with a comment below!

About me

Well hello, hello, hello!

Devin Turnham here, and, to borrow verbiage from Disney’s “High School Musical,”

“I’ve got a confession, my own secret obsession, and I’m ready to let it show.”

Mustard is my passion.

Devin delighting in her condiment of choice. (Photo: Devin Turnham)

I put it on pretty much EVERYTHING.

If you don’t believe me, or think I’m exaggerating, keep reading:

You know… You can tell a lot about a woman from the contents of her fridge.
You know… You can tell a lot about a woman by the contents of her fridge. (Photo: Devin Turnham)
Notice: mustard dipping sauce for sweet potato and chicken; mustard-turned-dressing atop a salad.
Recent text from a friend. Notice the use of mustard for both dipping and dressing. (Photo: Devin Turnham)

Since I’ve exhausted almost all culinary possibilities with mustard, I want to understand other practical uses for such a wonderful condiment. My hope is that my quirky writing style leaves you amused, my out-of-the-box suggestions leave you enlightened, and the union of the two will stir your affections for mustard in ways you never thought possible.