A mustard bath is a mixture of mustard powder and other ingredients added to a foot or full body bath. This article describes what a mustard bath is and discusses the potential benefits of mustard baths according to scientific research. It also provides tips on how to prepare a mustard bath at home and describes the potential risks and side effects of mustard baths.
What is a mustard bath?
A mustard bath is a mixture of mustard powder and hot water that a person uses to soak their feet or body. A mustard bath contains powdered mustard seed along with other ingredients, such as:
essential oils, which may include:
alkaline ingredients, such as sodium bicarbonate or baking soda.
Mustard baths make bath water alkaline through the addition of sodium bicarbonate or baking soda. Some people claim that alkaline baths are beneficial to health, although there is little scientific evidence to support this claim.
Potential Benefits of a Mustard Bath
There are very few scientific studies on the potential health benefits of mustard baths. Additionally, it is unclear whether the potential benefits are due to the mustard seed, the other ingredients, or the alkalinity of the bath water. These factors are discussed below.
Beneficial Effects of Mustard Baths
A Study by 2020 examined the effects of a mustard foot bath on respiratory tract infections. The researchers hypothesized that the warming effects of the treatment may have a positive effect on participants’ health and perceived well-being, both of which may boost participants’ immunity.
The researchers asked the participants to soak their feet in a mustard foot bath every day for 6 days. The footbath consisted of water at a temperature of 29ºC, to which the participants added 3 tablespoons soup of ground black mustard seed powder.
Participants answered a standard questionnaire on the perception of heat before and after the foot bath. Use of mustard foot bath has been associated with improvements in various categories, including the following:
According to researchers, the benefits of mustard foot baths can be attributed to the elements following:
natural compounds called “glucosinolates” present in the mustard plant, which may have antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
the thermal effects of the combination of mustard and hot water, which can have a beneficial effect on the perception of well-being.
Beneficial effects of alkaline baths
Mustard baths usually contain alkaline ingredients, such as sodium bicarbonate or baking soda. Some people use alkaline baths to treat certain skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis. A study by 2018 notes that sodium bicarbonate has antimicrobial properties that may help treat psoriatic lesions. However, this study found that application of topical sodium bicarbonate solution did not result in improvement of psoriatic lesions. However, the aforementioned study involved the use of a topical alkaline solution. It is therefore not yet known whether an alkaline bath may be more effective in treating psoriatic lesions.
Benefits of Additional Ingredients
The Purported Benefits of mustard baths may be partly attributable to other ingredients present in the preparation, such as essential oils and spices.
A randomized controlled trial carried out in 2018 with 70 participants compared the effects of a bath of feet consisting of one of the following:
hot water and mustard
hot water and ginger
hot water only
The study found that the addition of mustard and ginger increased participants’ perception of warmth in the feet, by compared to hot water alone. These results suggest that both mustard and ginger can increase the perception of heat.
Overview of research results
Preparations for mustard bath may differ in temperature and volume of water, as well as added ingredients. People can also apply different products to their skin after a mustard bath. These differences make it difficult for scientists to determine the potential health benefits of mustard baths.
Further large-scale clinical trials are needed to determine if and to what extent able mustard baths can be beneficial for treating different health conditions.
How to prepare a mustard bath at home
Many grocery stores and Specialty health food stores carry commercially manufactured mustard bath products. Different brands may contain different ingredients and instructions for preparation and use. However, manufacturers generally recommend soaking in the mixture for 29 minutes. Some also suggest taking a cold shower after soaking.
The concentration of mustard powder to water may also vary between recipes. One solution for a homemade mustard bath is to add a quarter cup to a full cup of powdered mustard to a bathtub full of hot water.
Risks and Side Effects
Since few studies have explored the use of mustard baths, it is difficult to determine the specific risks and side effects of this treatment. People with existing skin conditions should not use mustard baths in place of conventional therapies for their condition. Many conditions can get worse without proper medical treatment. For example, untreated psoriasis can lead to worsening skin symptoms and psoriatic arthritis.
A mustard bath is a preparation for a base of mustard powder and other ingredients mixed with hot water, which a person uses to soak their feet or the whole body. Manufacturers of mustard baths generally claim that their preparations can help soothe and detoxify the body, as well as promote well-being.
Existing evidence suggests that mustard baths may have a warming effect on the skin, which can enhance feelings of well-being. However, more clinical trials are needed to determine the potential health benefits and risks of mustard baths. A person can also prepare their own mustard bath using mustard powder and other essential oils of their choice. A person with an existing skin condition should consult a doctor or dermatologist before using a mustard bath. Soaking or heating the skin may exacerbate certain skin conditions.
Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the advice of a health professional.
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