Burns are common and painful. If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen it’s likely that you have been burned a few times by the stove or oven, hot pots and pans, or even steam. Unfortunately, burns can occur both inside and outside the home.
There are many different types of burns, from electrical burns to skin burning due to contact with something cold for a prolonged period of time. Unless you have serious burns, you can treat burns at home and without using medication. First and second degree burns usually only damage the skin and keeping the wound clean, especially if blisters form and burst is important.
Third and fourth-degree burns, however, do deep damage, coming into contact with the bone, nerves, and blood vessels. These burns are very serious and medical attention is needed immediately (1).
When it comes to home remedies for burns, using mustard is probably not the first thing that you would think of. But there are many who swear by it.
Why Does Mustard Help Burns?
When looking for medical and scientific research regarding using mustard on burns as a treatment, there are no studies. Having said this, just because there were no studies done on it, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t, in fact, help.
Many have tried it and discussed it on various forums saying it soothed the pain and even minimized scarring and redness. Let’s take a look at how mustard may be an effective treatment for burns:
Mustard seeds have anti-inflammatory properties which appear to be due to the sulfur content.
Mustard oil has antibacterial properties which help to keep the burn free from infection.
Although this study was done in mice and the mustard was combined with capsazepine (synthetic capsaicin which is a compound in chili peppers), it may be why people find mustard so soothing. Mustard oil doesn’t just relieve inflammation, but pain too.
Mustard Burn Treatment Remedies
If you have a minor burn first run some cool or cold water over it for a few minutes. After that, you can try one of the following mustard burn remedies. You can use any type of mustard, though a mild mustard is more appropriate.
Note: Major burns should not receive any home treatment, call 911 instead.
1. Plain Mustard
Who would have thought that it would be as easy as simply putting mustard on a burn? Put some mustard on the burn and leave it on for about an hour or until it dries and then rinse. You can do this several times a day.
2. Mustard and Gauze
Apply mustard to the burn and cover it with gauze or a band-aid large enough not to stick to your burn or the surrounding skin close to the burn.
If the burn is on your hand you can even use a sterile disposable glove.
Leave it on for 8-12 hours before rinsing off.
3. Mustard Powder and Carrier Oil
The powder is quite potent so you will only need to use a little. Just also be aware that greasy substances can trap heat in the skin, so this remedy may be better to use at a later stage when your burn has completely cooled and not immediately after a burn. It can take a few hours or even an entire day for the burn to cool completely:
Add a pinch of mustard powder to a tablespoon of carrier oil, alternatively, you can add 2 drops of mustard essential oil.
Mix it together and apply to the burn for an hour or so before rinsing it off or leave it on overnight covered with gauze or a large band-aid.
Good carrier oils to use:
Peach kernel oil (great for sensitive skin)
Mustard oil is also used for cooking, especially in Indian cuisine. If you have mustard oil for cooking you can also apply a thin layer of that. If it irritates your skin, rather dilute it with a carrier oil, aloe vera gel, or honey.
4. Mustard and Honey
Raw and manuka honey have antibacterial properties and also soothe the burns (2). Processed honey is often higher in high fructose corn syrup than actual honey and the added heat strips the honey of its health properties which is why you should use raw or manuka honey. This may also help to dilute the mustard a bit if you have sensitive skin:
Mix equal parts of mustard and honey together, or if you prefer, you can use a bit more honey and a little less mustard. If you use mustard powder, use only a pinch. If you are using mustard essential oil, only add 2 drops per tablespoon of honey.
Put the honey mustard paste on your burn and leave it for an hour before washing it off. You can also leave it on as with the plain mustard.
5. Mustard and Aloe Vera Gel
Cut off an aloe leaf if you have the plant and squeeze out the gel. You can also use store-bought aloe vera gel but make sure that it’s pure without harmful chemicals.
Add an equal amount (or slightly less if you have sensitive skin) of mustard and mix it together.
Apply to your burn and leave it on for an hour before rinsing it. You can also leave it on for a couple of hours or overnight covered in gauze.
6. Mustard Rinse
This is great for cleaning your burn:
Add a tablespoon of mustard or a ½ teaspoon to a teaspoon of the mustard powder (depending on the amount of water you use) to a bowl of water.
Mix it well and dab it onto the burn using a cotton ball (making sure that it’s not the type to leave fibers behind) or clean cloth.
Rinse it with plain water when done and dry it gently.
Tips and Precautions
Mustard can cause problems, especially the oil and powder which are very concentrated. There are cases recorded of mustard and mustard oil being applied to the skin as other remedies and resulting in burns to the skin (5). To be on the safe side, only use mustard as an overnight treatment if your skin handles the mustard well (6).
If the pain worsens after applying mustard, rather rinse it off and try a different remedy for your burn.
If you are using mustard essential oil, never put it on your skin or burn undiluted, it is very strong. You can dilute it with a carrier oil, aloe vera gel, or honey first.
Never use ice on your burns as this can further damage your skin and prevent blood circulation. Even very cold water can do this to a burn so use cool water, but not ice cold water.
If your burn becomes infected or worsens go see your doctor for treatment, especially if you become feverish or there is pus or lots of swelling.
To prevent future burns as much as possible, invest in some oven mitts or heat resistant gloves.
Make sure that pot and pan handles are not sticking out where they can be knocked and cause a spill or fall off the stove.
Keep small children away from the stove, oven, barbecue, and fire.
Buy a long set of tongs for use when barbecuing.
Dress appropriately when going out into the snow or ice.
Keep in mind that ice, in particularly dry ice, can also cause burns. Never use ice directly on your skin as a cold compress, wrap it in a cloth first.
Keep plug sockets closed with a plug or cover designed to do so and take care of any exposed wires in your home, electronics, and cables. For home electrical wiring, it may be best to call an electrician.
Jane Scott grew up on a farm in California and is a crossover between a country girl and an evangelist for healthier living. She’s a nutritionist who preaches that healthy living need not be complicated.
She believes that by exercising regularly, eating mostly non-processed foods (with plenty of vegetables), and using home remedies for the small things and doctor’s advice for the big things, almost anybody can feel great and live a happier and healthier life. She’s excited to share her knowledge of natural remedies and healthier living on HRFL.
In her spare time, Jane enjoys cooking and watching bad rom-coms. She also loves nuts, and is a bit of a nut herself when it comes to Yoga, which she’s a little too obsessed with in the opinion of her friends and family.