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Botanical Name:Brassica alba
Synonym: Sinapis alba
Common Name :Mustard, Sarson
Habitat :Mild white mustard (Sinapis hirta) grows wild in North Africa, the Middle East and Mediterranean Europe and has spread farther by long cultivation; brown or Indian mustard (Brassica juncea), originally from the foothills of the Himalaya, is grown commercially in the UK, Canada, Denmark and the US; black mustard (Brassica nigra) in Argentina, Chile, the US and some European countries. Canada grows 90% of all the mustard seed for the international market. The Canadian province of Saskatchewan produces almost half of the world’s supply of mustard seed.
Both white and brown mustard are grown as spring-sown annual crops whose dry seeds are harvested in early autumn. From very small seedlings, the plants grow rapidly and enter a phase of dense flowering; the blooms have an intense yellow colour. The plants reach their full height of 1.5 to 2 m (5 to 61/2 feet) as their flowers fade and after numerous green seedpods appear on their branches. The pods of brown mustard contain up to 20 seeds each, those of white mustard contain up to 8 seeds. Mustard plants are easy and inexpensive to grow; they flourish on many different types of soil, suffer from unusually few insect pests or plant diseases, and tolerate extremes of weather without serious harm.
Edible Uses:Mustards are several plant species in the genera Brassica and Sinapis whose small mustard seeds are used as a spice and, by grinding and mixing them with water, vinegar or other liquids, are turned into the condiment known as mustard. The seeds are also pressed to make mustard oil, and the edible leaves can be eaten as mustard greens.
Mustard, any of several herbs belonging to the mustard family of plants, Brassicaceae (Cruciferae), or the condiment made from these plants’ pungent seeds. The leaves and swollen leaf stems of mustard plants are also used, as greens, or potherbs. The principal types are white, or yellow, mustard (Sinapis alba), a plant of Mediterranean origin; and brown, or Indian, mustard (Brassica juncea), which is of Himalayan origin. The latter species has almost entirely replaced the formerly used black mustard (Brassica nigra), which was unsuitable for mechanized cropping and which now occurs mainly as an introduced weed.
The use of mustard seeds as a spice has been known from the earliest recorded times and is described in Indian and Sumerian texts dating back to 3000 bc. Mustard plants are mentioned frequently in Greek and Roman writings and in the Bible. In the New Testament, the tiny mustard seed is a symbol of faith. Mustard seed was used medicinally by Hippocrates, among other ancient physicians. During the 20th century, the use of mustard as a spice or condiment has grown to the extent that it is by far the largest spice by volume in world trade. Mustard is unusual among spices in that it is mainly grown in the temperate regions of the world, principally on the Canadian and American Great Plains, in Hungary and in Britain, and in lesser amounts in other countries. In the main producing countries, the crop production of mustard is fully mechanized.
Mustard seeds, both white and brown, are nearly globular in shape, finely pitted, odourless when whole, and pungent-tasting. White mustard seeds are light yellow in colour and about 2.5 mm (1/10 inch) in diameter; brown mustard seeds are about the same size but are a darker yellow in colour. The seeds of both types contain similar constituents: about 30 to 40 percent vegetable oil, a slightly smaller proportion of protein, and a strong enzyme called myrosin. When dry or when ground into a flour, the seeds are odourless, but when the seed is chewed or when the flour is mixed with water, a chemical reaction between two of the constituents within mustard, an enzyme and a glucoside, produces an oil that is not present as such in the plant. In brown mustard this action yields the volatile oil of mustard, which has a pungent, irritating odour and an acrid taste. In white mustard the result is sinalbin mustard oil, a nonvolatile oil that has very little odour but produces a sensation of heat on the tongue.
As a condiment, mustard is sold in three forms: as seeds, as dry powder that is freshly mixed with water for each serving to obtain the most aroma and flavour, and prepared as a paste with other spices or herbs, vinegar or wine, and starch or flour to tone down the sharpness. The differing flavours of white and brown mustard are used in different condiments; the pungent brown is used in French-type paste mustards, and the white is used in milder American- or German-type pastes, while both types are used in English mustard products. Mustard is widely used as a condiment with various foods, particularly cold meats, sausages, and salad dressings. It is also used as an ingredient in mayonnaises, sauces, and pickles. Mustard plasters were formerly used in medicine for their counterirritant properties in treating chest colds and other ailments.
Mustard Seed has long been relied upon to improve the digestive system and to promote a healthy appetite. As an irritant, Mustard stimulates the gastric mucous membrane and increases the flow of gastric juices (also having some effect on pancreatic secretions), all of which help to advance good digestion. Herbalists have also used Mustard Seed to relieve obstinate hiccups.
The mucilage content in Mustard Seed may help to calm an upset stomach due to acid indigestion and also produces a laxative action.
Mustard Seed is a stimulant that warms and invigorates the circulatory system. It helps to dilate blood vessels, encourages blood flow and is also said to aid in the metabolism of fat in the body.
Mustard See is also considered a diaphoretic, an agent that helps to increase perspiration, which can lower fever and cleanse toxins from the body through the skin. This factor is also useful for colds and flu.
One of the oldest uses of Mustard Seed has been as an emetic, a medicine that provokes vomiting. This is especially valuable when used in narcotic poisoning when it is desirable to empty the stomach without the accompanying depletion and depression of the system.
Used externally, Mustard Seeds are famous for their rubefacient properties by dilating the blood vessels and increasing the blood flow toward the surface of the skin, warming and reddening the affected area and encouraging the removal of toxins. Poultices and Mustard plasters are a tried-and-true remedy to relieve the pain of arthritic joints, rheumatism, sciatica, neuralgia, neck pain, backache, “charley horse” and muscle pain.
Mustard Seed’s topical use also extends to the relief of respiratory infections when used in baths, poultices and mustard plasters. Mustard Seed helps treat bronchitis, chest congestion, pneumonia, croup and pleurisy.
Although some varieties of mustard plants were well-established crops in Hellenistic and Roman times, Zohary and Hopf note that: “There are almost no archeological records available for any of these crops.” Wild forms of mustard and its relatives the radish and turnip can be found over west Asia and Europe, suggesting that their domestication took place somewhere in that area. However, Zohary and Hopf conclude: “Suggestions as to the origins of these plants are necessarily based on linguistic considerations.”
There has been recent research into varieties of mustards that have a high oil content for use in the production of biodiesel, a renewable liquid fuel similar to diesel fuel. The biodiesel made from mustard oil has good cold flow properties and cetane ratings. The leftover meal after pressing out the oil has also been found to be an effective pesticide.
An interesting genetic relationship between many species of mustard has been observed, and is described as the Triangle of U.
Brown mustard, which is related to rapeseed, is grown as a source of vegetable oil and is an important crop for this purpose in northern India, Pakistan, China, southern Russia, and Kazakhstan. The oil is used for food or for industrial purposes, with the residual cake used for animal feed.
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
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