Botanical Name: Brassica juncea crispifolia
Species: B. juncea
Common Names: Curled Mustard
Habitat: The plant is abduntly grows in the orioental Countries.
Brassica juncea crispifolia is a annual plant, growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a fast rate.. It is in flower from June to August, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile. This species has been cultivated as a food crop for many hundreds of years and, in that time, several quite distinct forms have arisen. The nomenclature of these forms is confused, to say the least, and by no means universally accepted. We have followed the treatment used by GRIN, though it is very likely to be revised in the future.
Succeeds in full sun in most well-drained moisture-retentive fertile soils. Prefers a heavy soil and some shade. Dislikes very hot weather. Plants tolerate high rainfall and, although fairly deep rooted, are not very drought resistant. A form of B. juncea with curled leaves that has been selected in the Orient for its edibility. There are some named varieties. Plants in this group are fairly cold-tolerant and often stand the winter, they are then slow to bolt and can supply a good crop of leaves in the spring. Plants have a rooting depth of between 90 – 120 cm. A good bee plant.
Leaves – raw or cooked. A peppery flavour that can range from mild to hot, this is one of the most highly prized cooked vegetables in the Orient. The leaves can also be finely shredded and added to mixed salads. The protein extracted from the leaves mixes well with banana pulp and is well adapted as a pie filling. Flowers and young flowering stems – raw or cooked. Sweet and succulent. An edible semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed. The seed contains 25 – 30% oil. The seed is used as a mustard flavouring. It is the source of ‘brown mustard’, a prepared mustard that is milder than that produced from other species. Pungency of mustard develops when cold water is added to the ground-up seed – an enzyme (myrosin) acts on a glycoside (sinigrin) to produce a sulphur compound. The reaction takes 10 – 15 minutes. Mixing with hot water or vinegar, or adding salt, inhibits the enzyme and produces a mild bitter mustard. Black mustard comes from B. nigra and white mustard from Sinapis alba. The seed is also used whole in curries and pickles. They are often heated in oil to destroy their pungency and give them a nutty flavour. Sprouted seeds can be added to salads.
Reported to be anodyne, aperitif, diuretic, emetic, rubefacient, and stimulant, the plant is a folk remedy for arthritis, foot ache, lumbago, and rheumatism. The seed is used in the treatment of tumors in China. In Korea, the seeds are used in the treatment of abscesses, colds, lumbago, rheumatism, and stomach disorders. The root is used as a galactagogue in Africa. Ingestion may impart a body odor repellent to mosquitoes. Mustard oil is used in the treatment of skin eruptions and ulcers. Believed to be aperient and tonic, the volatile oil is used as a counterirritant and stimulant. In Java the plant is used as an antisyphilitic emmenagogue. Leaves applied to the forehead are said to relieve headache. The Chinese eat the leaves in soups for bladder, inflammation or haemorrhage.
There is some evidence that if this plant is grown as a green manure, it is effective in reducing soil-borne root rots in pea crops. This is attributed to chemicals that are given off as the plants decay.
An oil obtained from the seeds can have a high content of erucic acid. There have been some health concerns over the consumption of high levels of erucic acid n humans, though this is still controversial. At present (2012), several countries only allow cultivars with low erucic acid levels to be used for food.