Got a bad cold — or worse — the flu coming on? Perhaps you know someone who’s sick and in need of a little TLC? If so, whip up this zesty and rejuvenating mustard bath. It’s a twist on the traditional mustard bath that’s been popular in England for decades, which stems from mustard’s use as a warming and stimulating herb to treat a variety of ailments from arthritic joint pain to muscle pain since ancient times.
My version includes the addition of muscle-soothing Epsom salt and mineral-rich Dead Sea salts. Instead of sodium carbonate, which is used in some commerical products and can be irritating to the skin and eyes if too much is used, I use baking soda, which is readily available and has the same skin-softening benefits. The addition of essential oils adds to its therapeutic benefits by relieving congestion, stimulating the immune system, and more.
This mustard bath will not only help fight off viruses, but also relieve achy muscles and uplift your mood. It’s useful any time of year, really. Athletes swear by a mustard bath’s ability to soothe sore muscles, because it helps break down lactic acid. And it’s very useful to do when detoxifying, especially when preceded by a dry skin brushing. Plus, it’s delightful if you just want to relax and relieve stress. Some even claim it relieves migraines and helps insomnia.
- 1/4 cup mustard seed powder
- 1/4 cup Epsom salt
- 1/4 cup Dead Sea salt
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 9 – 12 drops of essential oil (See suggestions below)
Makes 8 oz., which is enough for one bath or 4 – 6 foot baths.
The mustard bath will definitely be potent on its own, but using essential oils greatly adds to its therapeutic benefits. One of my favorite combinations to use when I think I’m getting sick is about 3 – 4 drops each of rosemary, ravensara, and Eucalyptus radiata. (See this post for an in-depth description of the last two essential oils.) It’s a very refreshing blend and always makes me feel better in no time. I also enjoy blending in some peppermint for an uplifting bath that eases mental fatigue and physical exhaustion. Other combinations work well, too, depending on the essential oils you have on hand and the therapeutic benefits you desire. Below are some of the suggested essential oils you can try and their corresponding actions.
- Eucalyptus (E. radiata or E. globulus): analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antiviral, decongestant, deodorant, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, rubefacient
- Peppermint (Mentha piperita): analgesic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, decongestant, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, nervine, stimulant, sudorific, vasoconstrictor, vermifuge
- Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica): antiseptic, antimicrobial, antiviral, expectorant, immunosimulant
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): analgesic, antidepressant, diuretic, emmenagogue, nervine, rubefacient, stimulant, sudorific, tonic
- Spike lavender (Lavandula latifolia): analgesic, antidepressant, antiseptic, decongestant, emmenagogue, rubefacient
- Sweet thyme (Thymus vulgaris linalol): antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic bactericide, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, stimulant, tonic (Note: sweet time is much gentler than regular time, so be sure to select the correct one.)
Blend all ingredients together and store in a tightly sealed glass or PET jar if not using the mixture right away. (Essential oils break down plastic, so storing it in a regular plastic container is not advised.)
To use, add the entire mixture to a hot bath and soak for at least 30 minutes. Or, add about 1/6 to 1/4 the mixture (i.e., 2 tbsp. + 2 tsp. to 4 tbsp.) to a foot bath to revive tired feet. Then rinse off with warm water, towel dry, and bundle up to stay warm and further the therapeutic actions of the mustard bath. Meanwhile, drink plenty of water. Lemon water is especially detoxifying and great for when you are fighting a virus. It’s also refreshing. For details, see my post “Zest Up Your Wellness Routine with Lemon Water.”
How It Works
- Mustard seed’s warming and diaphoretic qualities raise you body temperature and make you sweat. This helps kill germs, stimulate white blood cell production, and eliminate toxins through the skin.
- Baking soda works as a deodorizer and softens hard water by adjusting the pH.
- Epsom salt’s high magnesium content relieves sore, achy muscles.
- Dead Sea salts are full of vital minerals with many therapeutic benefits. See this post for more info.
- Bathing helps increase blood circulation and cell oxygenation.
- Essential oils have several therapeutic actions and affect not only the body, but the mind and soul as well.
Caution! If you have any illnesses, diseases, or are pregnant, consult with your physician before using this herbal bath treatment or essential oils. Some essential oils are contraindicated in certain cases. For example, you should not use eucalyptus essential oil if you are pregnant or have high blood pressure or epilepsy. For more safety information on essential oils, read this article by the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA).
Other DIY Spa Baths You May Be Interested In:
- Decadent Rose Milk Bath
- Remineralizing Spa Bath with Dead Sea Salt
- DIY Warming Winter Ginger Bath
- Revitalizing Himalayan Pink Salt Rose Bath
Other Articles Related to Cold & Flu Season You May Enjoy:
- Winter Care Eucalyptus Steam to Support Healthy Breathing
- Warm Your Spirit and Boost Your Immunity with Ginger Tea
- 5 Amazing At-Home Spa Treatments to Boost Your Immunity & Be Healthier
- Top Green Cleaning Products to Stock Up On For Cold & Flu Season
- 5 Green Cleaning Tips to Stay Healthy During Cold & Flu Season
Copyright © Karen Peltier and Well Gal, 2014 – 2015. All rights reserved.
Photo © Karen Peltier and Well Gal, 2014 – 2015.