One of the most frequently useful of all domestic remedies. When anybody is suffering pain, or, indeed, illness of any kind, if you do not know what to do, put on a mustard-plaster, near the seat of the trouble. Should you not find where that is, put the mustard-plaster on the middle of the back. If properly attended to, it can do no harm ; and in ninety-nine cases in a hundred it will do some good ; sometimes a great deal of good.
To make one, mix from one to three or four tablespoonfuls of mustard (either white or black, so called) with the same amount of wheat or Indian flour. Mix these with enough hot water to make a paste. Then, on a hot plate, near the person who is to have it on, lay a piece of soft old muslin, or thin flannel, twice as large as the plaster is to be; but spread the mustard and flour paste only on half of the rag. This done, double the other half over it, and stitch the edges together, all around; or, turn the edges over instead, to keep the stuff in. It may be put on at once, while warm, and left on until it is felt to burn quite smartly, if the patient is conscious. If not, it must be looked under, in a quarter of an hour or so, and, if the skin is decidedly red, take it off. As soon as it is removed, lard, tallow, cold cream, or vaseline should be gently rubbed over it, or a fresh rag spread with one of them may be laid upon the part. We never intend to raise a blister with mustard, it is too severe. The aim is just to heat the skin very actively, mostly for its use as a counter-irritant, to relieve some irritation of an internal organ.
Ready-made mustard-plasters can be had now of pharmacists, and are very convenient. One of them has only to be dipped for a moment or two in hot water, and it is ready to apply at once. It is well always to have a supply of these in the house.
flush and Mustard Poultices are often very useful in inflammatory and other painful affections. They are made with one part of mustard to four parts of mush (of Indian meal) mixed, and applied hot on the chest or abdomen, as required, and covered with oiled silk, or oiled paper, or rubber cloth, to retain the moisture. Such a poultice may stay on for hours, keeping up a moderate and bearable excitement of the skin (warming and counter-irritant) much longer than could be borne with a strong mustard-plaster. 516