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Medicated Mustard Plaster, 1886

Image courtesy: Johnson & Johnson Archives

Mustard plasters were one of Johnson & Johnson’s first products. A popular remedy for minor aches and pains starting in the 19th century, these plasters used the active ingredient in mustard to deliver treatment through the skin by an adhesive patch. Despite the plaster’s popularity, mustard was notoriously unstable, causing the product to have a very short shelf life. Johnson & Johnson was the first to make the product more stable and to mass-produce the plaster in air-tight packaging. In changing its composition and packaging, the company extended its shelf life.