DIY Medicinal Mustard Plaster

DIY Medicinal Mustard Plaster

One way of fighting an infection is to raise our body’s temperature, such as during a fever. One old remedy for drawing out a cough or chest infection was to use a mustard plaster to mimic the heat of fever and anecdotally, many people still successfully use this warming method to help fight colds, coughs, and chest congestion. This method can be particularly helpful for young children since there are a limited number of over-the-counter medications that they can take.

This DIY mustard plaster can help to decongest phlegm and clear the airways, plus it increases circulation as a result of the heat that the mustard produces.

It is important to drink plenty of water when you use this method since you need to replace all of the water that is lost while sweating. This ensures that your body has all the resources it needs to heal itself and fight any infections.

Types of Mustard 

DIY Medicinal Mustard Plaster - Ingredients

It’s possible to harvest wild mustard seeds from mid-spring to summer and grind these up yourself, otherwise, you can use mustard powder or seeds straight from the supermarket to make this mustard plaster.

It’s not recommended to use mustard straight from the bottle, since this has added ingredients such as salt, sugar, and preservatives.


  • 3 tablespoons of flour (any type of flour will do)
  • 2 teaspoons of dried mustard powder
  • 2 tablespoons of water


Combine the flour and the mustard powder together in a bowl first, then slowly add the water to form a paste. DIY Medicinal Mustard Plaster - Method

The paste should have the consistency of pancake batter.

DIY Medicinal Mustard Plaster - Make the paste


  • DO NOT APPLY DIRECTLY TO THE SKIN. This paste should definitely not touch the skin. It can irritate the skin and can become too hot.

DIY Medicinal Mustard Plaster - Ziplock

  • Pour the paste into a zip lock bag so that there is a protective barrier between the paste and your skin and an easier clean-up afterward. Or you can use an old towel or cloth-like a traditional plaster, but this can be a bit messy. 
  • Place the bag of paste on your chest and/or back then wrap yourself up in some blankets to encourage sweating for approximately 10 minutes.
  • As the mustard plaster heats your chest and/or back your skin will redden so it must be thoroughly monitored to make sure the skin doesn’t get too hot. If it is left on for too long, the skin may even blister and burn.DIY Medicinal Mustard Plaster - Application
  • After 10 minutes (or if it becomes too hot) remove the plaster and jump in a warm shower since the combination of the mustard plaster while being wrapped up in the blankets will make you sweat profusely.


As stated above, do not apply this mustard plaster directly to your skin. You can also rub any kind of oil, such as olive oil into your skin before and after treatment to reduce the risk of any skin irritation.

Set a timer so that you don’t forget to remove the plaster after 10 minutes and monitor your skin so that it doesn’t become too hot.

Wash your hands thoroughly after preparing and using this mustard plaster to avoid getting any in your eyes or sensitive areas.

If this mustard plaster feels too intense, it can be diluted with an additional tablespoon of flour. This is especially helpful for children with sensitive skin.

This DIY mustard plaster is quick and easy to make, especially since all of the ingredients are common in the kitchen. It’s just one of many natural remedies that can help to ease a cough and congestion; just be prepared to sweat.

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  • Lois Maslen Posted September 27, 2021 3:21 pm

    How does putting the mustard paste into a plastic bag work? all you are going to experience is the heat – how does that clear the airways and help phlegm ? in the above pictures the bags on the person’s back do not look like plastic what are they?

    • Timothy Driscoll Posted September 27, 2021 4:23 pm

      I was thinking the same thing…

    • The Lost Herbs Posted September 27, 2021 4:58 pm


      A mustard plaster works by simply creating heat, drawing toxins out of the body and increasing circulation and warming the muscles due to the heat of mustard seeds.

      Mustard seeds contain sinigrin, a compound that gives mustard its spicy flavor. When mixed with water, sinigrin breaks down and creates allyl isothiocyanate.
      When applied to the skin, allyl isothiocyanate creates a warm sensation.

      The author used a zip lock bag so that there is a protective barrier between the paste and the skin. In the second picture, there are just normal plaster cloths. You can use either.

      Many blessings and good health!

    • Scott Posted September 28, 2021 12:32 pm

      If you are putting the mustard in a plastic bag and just using the heat, why not just fill a water bottle with hot water and put it on your chest.

  • G Posted September 27, 2021 4:19 pm

    Do you mean that the mustard works through plastic? What about the next picture of dried mustard patches? It looks like the lady is having them on her back?

    • The Lost Herbs Posted September 27, 2021 5:28 pm

      Hi G,

      A mustard plaster works by simply creating heat, drawing toxins out of the body and increasing circulation and warming the muscles due to the heat of mustard seeds.

      You can pour the paste into a zip lock bag so that there is a protective barrier between the paste and your skin. Or you can use an old towel or cloth-like traditional plaster, like in the picture.

      Many blessings and good health!

      • Miriam Posted September 27, 2021 6:54 pm

        Why do you keep repeating the same thing over and over again that was already in the article instead of actually answering people’s questions?
        Are you not able or willing to answer specific questions about your post?
        What ARE the mustard patches on the cardstock that are also directly on the woman’s back? And if you don’t have any of the mustard touch your skin how does it draw out toxins etc since it is not actually touching the skin?
        If you are not willing or able to answer these pertinent questions then maybe you shouldnt post about this until you know the answers.

      • The Lost Herbs Posted October 1, 2021 3:27 pm

        Hi Miriam,

        As stated in the article, you can either use a zip-lock bag or an old cloth. In the end, the method will depend on the user: the plastic bag method is handy for little kids, people with sensitive skin or if you don’t have an extra set of hands around to help you apply a cloth plaster.
        Both methods produce heat to increase circulation to help your body heal itself.
        In the plastic bag method, the healing comes primarily from the heat that it produces which can be felt through the zip-lock bag – think of it more like a DIY heat pack. In this method, your own body temperature is also trapped under the plastic and within 15 minutes of mixing the water with the mustard plaster, the chemical reaction has peaked which means the heat is unlikely to increase anymore, but it will take a while to completely cool down again due to the added heat from your body and the insulating properties of the plastic.

        The alternative method, as stated in the article, is to use an old rag or towel instead of a plastic bag. While this method is much more effective, it still has its cons; while it allows the volatile oils to be inhaled (which helps clear congestion etc), it also tends to end up on the skin, which, if left on for 5 – 10 minutes, will start to irritate the skin and produce a burning sensation due to the chemical reaction that is going on between the water and the mustard. Think of it more like a chemical burn rather than a heat burn when mustard touches your skin. It may feel like your skin is burning, but it’s actually only around 113 degrees F (45 degrees C) – the difference is that the receptors on your skin tells you its much hotter. A little bit of this burning sensation is beneficial – it expands the capillaries which increases blood circulation and triggers a whole range of metabolic processes, plus the aromatic effects are vital for clearing the airways (which I should have stated clearly in the article – I apologize for that!), but the bag method can also produce a heating effect without the risk of skin irritation and when writing these articles, I have to consider all demographics, which includes people with sensitive skin.
        The photo of the woman with the patches on her back is representing this cloth method – smearing the mustard plaster between two pieces of cloth like a sandwich, but I can see how it may be confusing.

        Many blessings and good health!

      • CS Posted September 27, 2021 8:29 pm

        but how do nutrients get through the plastic barrier?

  • Lin Posted September 27, 2021 4:51 pm


  • Nan Free Posted September 27, 2021 4:57 pm

    Me three! How can this cause heat if it’s in a plastic bag?

    • Lena Posted September 27, 2021 6:18 pm

      I agree, some homework or personal trial on this has been left out, the mustard heats your skin by irritating it, which implies contact. Plastic bags are just not on unless you put a warm poultice in it to benefit from the heat.
      Please don’t post articles like this where we just loose our time.

  • Shannon Posted September 27, 2021 6:28 pm

    I have been doing this all my life… and yes, the plastic bag will not emit the vapor smells that you also benefit from when the mustard paste has been smeared on an old dish rag/ then folded over. My other thought about the plastic bag: why would you want to heat up plastic? How healthy is that? And the paste does get very hot !

  • Mary Posted September 27, 2021 7:44 pm

    I’m assuming the heat increases the blood flow thus bringing the extra nutrients to help speed up the healing and detox process?? As nothing would penetrate the plastic. Well that’s my thoughts. Interesting anyway shall give it a go.

  • Kathleen Posted September 27, 2021 7:51 pm

    What about putting the mustard plaster on the bottom of the feet to draw out the toxins? I believe this may also be an old remedy of our ancestors, or at least, they showed it being done on the Little Women movie.

    • The Lost Herbs Posted October 1, 2021 3:11 pm

      Hi Kathleen,

      Either the bag or cloth method is just as good on the feet for increasing circulation, especially after a long day, just don’t apply it directly to the skin!

      Many blessings and good health!

      • Kay Posted October 1, 2021 11:30 pm

        Is this safe to use if you already have a fever? Or is it meant to be used if you are sick but not feverish?

  • ANN THORNBURG Posted September 27, 2021 10:01 pm

    My mother used mustard plasters when my father refused to go to the dr., and when we couldn’t afford the medical fees. She used ground mustard mixed up with crisco type vegetable shortening. This she smeared on a piece of muslim (usually an old sheet). This was placed directly on the chest or wrapped around the neck. Then she would wrap some flannel or an old towel fastened with safety pins. We would wear this sometimes for hours, or until the congestion cleared up. When the plaster was removed, we would carefully wash the skin, then wash with isopropyl alcohol to close the pores. It usually worked.

  • Kay Posted September 27, 2021 11:40 pm

    If it’s mimicking a fever, is it safe to say this should not be done if you do have a fever?

  • Sonja Watson Posted September 28, 2021 11:51 am

    The store bought patches work by getting them wet first. we buy ours on amazon. They often sell out though. This recipe is pretty convenient however, and you could just spread the plaster on yourself and then place some kind of barrier between the plaster and your blankets to avoid the mess. this really does work


  • Carol Posted September 28, 2021 12:26 pm

    If this is an example of what’s in the book, I’ll pass. Plastic bags? SMH…

  • Ted Buehring Posted September 29, 2021 12:40 am

    Mustard packs work but I prefer the method my great grandfather brought over from Western Prussia.
    Juice of 1 lemon or lime, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, 1 shoot of Schnapps, 6 oz glass. Mix everything in the glass & set aside. Take a very hot shower. Put on your pajamas. Fill the glass with warm water, drink all at once, get and get in bed and cover up whit a sheet & blanket. In the morning you will be soaking wet from sweat. Take another hot shot.

  • Shelly Posted September 29, 2021 2:26 am

    I tried this 3 times today and never could get it to heat up ~ what am I doing wrong?

  • Claire Posted October 1, 2021 11:55 pm

    I tried this today and it did not heat up.

  • Sarah Posted October 3, 2021 12:32 am

    I had heard of mustard plasters but never knew how to make one or that it was so simple. I thought your explanation was very thorough- thank you.

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