The People's Perspective on Medicine

Mustard May Help Psoriasis as Well as Leg Cramps

Daily doses of yellow mustard helped control psoriasis plaques and itching.
A bottle of yellow mustard with white background

Q. My husband is disabled by osteoarthritis and psoriatic arthritis. He experienced frequent muscle cramping and was eating extra yellow mustard for relief.

His psoriasis has been treated for years by a dermatologist. After a few weeks of taking large amounts of mustard, he noticed his psoriasis was greatly improved.

After his muscles stopped cramping, he stopped eating mustard. His psoriasis started returning. He has now resumed taking mustard–this time for psoriasis.

A. Many readers have reported that a teaspoon or two of yellow mustard eases leg cramps, but you are the first to suggest this condiment might be helpful for psoriasis.

Your story led us to do some digging in the medical literature. A mouse study published in China demonstrated that when mustard seed was fed to rodents it suppressed psoriasis-like inflammation (Journal of Southern Medical University, Sept. 2013). Japanese scientists concluded that the results of their research provide a basis for mustard seed to be used as a promising intervention for psoriasis in the future (Journal of Dermatology, July, 2013).

Your husband’s experiment with mustard appears to confirm the preliminary research carried out in animals. Thanks for sharing his experience. Perhaps others will benefit from his discovery.

In addition to mustard seed, yellow mustard also contains turmeric, the spice that gives it its lovely golden color. As we have written previously, many readers have reported that taking turmeric can help control the symptoms of psoriasis. Perhaps yellow mustard has dual action against this autoimmune skin condition that can be quite uncomfortable.

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    About the Author
    Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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    I have a family member who has problems with leg cramps and I will tell her about the mustard! Your newspaper column appears in a local paper and after years of reading it, I subscribed to your e-mail newsletter. It’s a wonderful resource. I want to respond to the comment about venous insufficiency mentioned in the comment section of the mustard article.

    I, like Kathleen, suffer from stasis dermatitis caused by venous insufficiency in my lower legs and suffered from the terrible itching and flaky skin around my ankles. I had surgery for my varicose veins in 2006, and have been pretty miserable ever since with needing to wear surgeon-prescribed compression stockings.

    I take homeopathic remedies for other things, but had never researched for a solution for these symptoms. Two remedies are working well for me. The remedy I use for the varicosity, Hamamelis, and the remedy for the itching, Sulphur, were both available at my local grocery store that carries supplements and natural health products.

    After years of bandaids, lotions, and cortisone cremes, the dry, flaky, itchy skin is resolved and my legs are more comfortable. I still wear compression stockings, but at a lower compression grade which are more tolerable, and I do not have the constant discomfort of the unbearable itching around my ankles.

    You stated hat your husband’s doctor had him take large amounts of yellow mustard and it ened up helping his psoriasis. What was that large amount?

    In the study with mice, my understanding is that mustard seeds were used. Would eating mustard seeds be an option for humans-perhaps added to a pasta dish or chili…? It is hard for me to imagine taking a teaspoon or two of mustard -straight since I don’t use mustard that frequently.

    How was her husband taking the mustard? By teaspoon? And would it help with eczema?

    Hello,
    I suffer from stasis dermatitis caused by venous insufficiency in my lower legs. The itch can be overpowering at times. I have the rash on both lower legs. Could mustard applied to the skin help or taken internally help? The itch on my lower legs has become quite constant and I would appreciate any relief. I have used Zinc Oxide and that has helped calm the skin down as well over many years.

    I have taken mustard for leg cramps often and found it very helpful. Also I have taken turmeric capsules for back pain. If mustard would help the itch from psoriasis maybe it could help stasis dermatitis as well?

    We are not aware that mustard has any benefits against stasis dermatitis. If somebody discovers otherwise, please let us know.

    I also find mustard eaten at dinnertime prevents acid reflux during the night. I might’ve read about it in your column originally. If so, thanks so much!

    I have been struggling with psoriasis for years. Many things I have tried – shampoos, etc. keep it under a manageable state. I am anxious to see how the yellow mustard works. I will start taking the one teaspoon today (maybe on a cheese and cracker). Let me know if this is an OK amount or should I be taking more each day?

    Can you see any results yet?

    * Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^