A bout with flu has left me with a lingering, and highly annoying, tickly throat and cough. Known affectionately by my British friends as “that yellow American crap”, common ballpark mustard seems to soothe. The health benefits of mustard are apparently not unknown.
Two weeks after my poetic rant at flu (http://authspot.com/poetry/oh-dreaded-flu-bug-haiku/), I still have a tickly throat and annoying cough. My only respite is if I sit very still and don’t talk to anybody. Even that doesn’t work all the time. I was beginning to abuse lemon sherbets and pear drops because my daily Soothers habit was getting too expensive. A surprise discovery of good old American French’s Mustard could be all that stands between me and a life of crime.
I was using it as a condiment, just like normal people, when I noticed my throat was not as irritable as I have come to regard as ‘normal’. I started putting more and more of it in sandwiches. Seeking a bigger hit, I started taking it by the teaspoonful. I’m up to half a bottle a day.
Remembering that mustard poultices used to be a cold remedy when placed on the chest, I conducted a Google search to see if there actually were any recognized benefits of mustard, or was I really experiencing a placebo effect. The first item I came across was a recipe for a mustard gargle, published by Adam Dachis (http://lifehacker.com/5849884/soothe-a-sore-throat-with-mustard). I have all the ingredients on hand, so I may give that one a whirl later.
The Encyclopedia of Spices (http://www.theepicentre.com/Spices/mustard.html) indicates that the ancient Greeks were well aware of its healing properties. They believed that it was a gift from Asclepious, god of healing.
At high concentrations, mustard oil is a powerful irritant that can blister skin. At lower strengths, however, it produces a warming sensation when used as a poultice or plaster. It has been prescribed for a number of ailments over the years, including epilepsy, bites, stings, bruises, muscular aches and pains and, well, well, respiratory problems!
Of course, this article should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor if you have any of the symptoms described above.
Good health, and good hot dogs!