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Irritant, stimulant, diuretic, emetic. Mustard is used in the form of poultices for external application near the seat of inward inflammation, chiefly in pneumonia, bronchitis and other diseases of the respiratory organs. It relieves congestion of various organs by drawing the blood to the surface, as in head affections, and is of service in the alleviation of neuralgia and other pains and spasms.
Mustard Leaves, used instead of poultices, consist of the mustard seeds, deprived of fixed oil, but retaining the pungency-producing substances and made to adhere to paper.
Oil of Mustard is a powerful irritant and rubefacient, and when applied to the skin in its pure state, produces almost instant vesication, but when dissolved in rectified spirit, or spirit of camphor, or employed in the form of the Compound Liniment of Mustard of the British Pharmacopoeia, is a very useful application for chilblains, chronic rheumatism, colic, etc.
Hot water poured on bruised Black Mustard seeds makes a stimulating footbath and helps to throw off a cold or dispel a headache. It also acts as an excellent fomentation.
Internally, Mustard is useful as a regular and mild aperient, being at the same time an alterative. If a tablespoonful of Mustard flour be added to a glass of tepid water, it operates briskly as a stimulating and sure emetic. In cases of hiccough, a teaspoonful of Mustard flour in a teacupful of boiling water is effective. The dose may be repeated in ten minutes if needed.
The bland oil expressed from the hulls of the seeds, after the flour has been sifted away, promotes the growth of the hair and may be used with benefit externally for rheumatism.
Whitehead's Essence of Mustard is made with spirits of turpentine and rosemary, with which camphor and the farina of Black Mustard seed are mixed. This oil is very little affected by frost or the atmosphere, and is therefore specially prized by clock-makers and makers of instruments of precision.
Parkinson says that Mustard 'is of good use, being fresh, for Epilepticke persons . . . if it be applyed hot inwardly and outwardly.'
Culpepper considered Mustard good for snake poison if taken in time, and tells us that mustard seed powder, mixed with honey in balls, taken every morning fasting, will clear the voice, and that:
'the drowsy forgetful evil, to use it both inwardly and outwardly, to rub the nostrils, forehead and temples, to warm and quicken the spirits . . . the decoction of the seeds ... resists the malignity of mushrooms.... Being chewed in the mouth it oftentimes helps the tooth-ache. It is also used to help the falling off the hair. The seed bruised, mixed with honey, and applied, or made up with wax, takes away the marks and black and blue spots of bruises or the like . . . it helps also the crick in the neck....'