Herbal poultices were relied on in our grandparent’s day to ward off more life threatening afflictions like pleurisy, bronchitis and pneumonia. An old stand-by was the Mustard poultice which was thought to “burn out” a pulmonary infection.
The 1867 British Pharmacopoeia lists the instructions for making a Cataplasm sinapsis or poultice. Two and a half ounces of powdered linseed (Flax Seed) is mixed with two and a half ounces of powdered Mustard and hot water is added to make a paste. Put the linseed, into a coffee grinder for a minute to bruise the seed sufficiently to improve its drawing qualities.
Mustard can be obtained at the grocery store where it is still sold in little tin boxes. This mixture is then applied to a clean cotton cloth and placed face down on the chest over the lung and bronchial area. Do not leave it on the skin too long. Three to five minutes is enough for the first treatment. Make sure that all Mustard is washed off. Keep the patient warm during the whole process.
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