Benefits of Mustard plant
One of the oldest spices, dating back 3000 years ago, mustard has been used, since ancient times, as a medicine and an aliment. The name, "mustard", derives from the Latin word "mustum" which means "must".
Description of Mustard plantMustard appears under 3 different forms: white mustard, black mustard and brown mustard.
White mustard has its leaves covered with small, rough puff. The flowers are arranged in clusters, and the fruits have elongated, podded shapes, covered with small rough puff. In these pods, round shaped, white-yellowish coloured seeds are formed. Each pod has approximately 6 seeds.
Black mustard, unlike the white one, has red-brownish, almost black seeds of a spherical shape. Its pods are black and crowned and can contain up to 12 seeds. These are round and rigid, varying in colour, from dark coffee-coloured to black. Black mustard has a strong pungent taste.
Brown mustard, by appearance, is similar to the black one; however, its leaves are broad and rounded at the base, getting thinner towards the tip, while the pods are 3-5 cm long. Its colour varies from light to dark brown. It is much spicier than the white mustard but less spicy than the black one.
Properties and benefits of MustardBecause of the presence of mucilages, mustard has laxative effects. The white seeded mustard has milder effects, being a source of vegetal oil and an excellent source of proteins, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Combining it with warm water has the consequence of increasing arterial pressure and stimulating blood circulation. At the same time, mustard has anti-inflammatory properties.
Treatments- Mustard is a herb with various usages. Mustard baths are recommended for treating headaches, colds and cough. The consumption of one spoonful of mustard seeds 2 or 3 times a day could have laxative effects. Also, the mustard seeds, whether white or black, are used for treating respiratory problems.
- The lack of food appetite can be alleviated through consuming black mustard seeds dissolved into a glass of milk, administered 15 minutes before a meal. Asthma can be treated by applying, during a period of 20 minutes, black mustard flour poultice on the chest area. Against headaches, or pains caused by long exposure to cold or to air drafts, it is recommended that a small bag of 200g of black mustard seeds be added into the bath water, kept inside for 10 minutes and then removed. The effects of rheumatic pains and neuralgias are also decreased through the use of general baths.
- Intoxications can be treated by drinking, on an empty stomach, a glass of water, which was mixed with a spoonful of black mustard flour administered on an empty stomach. The mixture will induce a state of vomit, therefore permitting the elimination of toxic materials from the stomach.
- Bronchitis, asthma and pneumonia are treated by applying a black mustard flour poultice on the chest area. It is maintained as long as the burning sensation is not strong, it is then removed and the area is to be covered with a warm material.
Mustard flourMustard flour is obtained through grinding or crushing the mustard seeds. The dust is kept in dark coloured containers and in cool places. It is recommended that the mustard flour be used in the first 2-3 weeks after its preparation, after this period its curative capabilities are reduced considerably. Internally, the mustard flour is administered in milk or wine, and externally, at the preparation of poultices.
The poulticeThe poultice is prepared from 100g of mustard flour, mixed with warm water, of a temperature of 25-30 C. degrees until a soft paste is formed. The paste is then put between two cloths and applied on the troublesome area. It is kept for about a quarter of an hour, then removed with the possibility of applying it on another area. For children, or for those who cannot tolerate the irritating property of mustard, the poultice is prepared with 50g mustard flour and 100g flax flour.
General or local bath water, used for treating rheumatism, colds, neuralgias or articulation inflammations, are obtained from 25-30g of mustard flour placed in a small bag, on which 2-3 liters of warm water, of about 25-30 C. degrees, is poured. In case of a general bath, a greater amount, 250g, of mustard seeds is added, and the bag is to be stirred in the water. The local bath, as the general one should not last more than 20-30 minutes.
Mustard is used in the alimentary industry, as a paste, as seeds, powder or flour. In the form of paste, mustard is used in the spicing of meat, of fish or of eggs. Mustard seeds are used for spicing pickles, sea fruits or meat. Mustard flour is used for spicing steaks.