Surprising Uses for Mustard – 15 of Them!!

Being stranded due to a massive winter storm during a weekend writing retreat has its benefits . . . I have an extra day to write without interruption, I’ll be able to sleep in a little tomorrow morning, which is a rare and wonderful thing, and I got the 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 worthwhile stuff was on to keep me company as I ate my dinner.  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 eschewing the same promise of muscle relief, so it seems legit.

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 is!).  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.***


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, as direct contact with mustard bothers some people’s skin, 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, stirring well to insure 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, just 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 then 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 well.

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 (who knew?), which animals such as 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.***  Though I wonder if this would make you all yellowish!


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 and can be found here)

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