Mustard [French: Moutarde Noire, Spanish: Mostaza Negra] is a member of the Brassica family of plants. Mustard derives its name from latin name mustum ardens meaning burning must – spicy heat of crushed mustard seeds and French practice of mixing the ground seeds with must – unfermented juice of wine grapes.
Mustard seeds and leaves are edible parts of this plant. Mustard seeds are commonly used as spice. In some parts of India, leaves of mustard plant are used as vegetable. Mustard oil prepared from mustard seeds and used in food preparation in many parts of country. Mustard essential oil is also popular for its various health and medicinal benefits.
In India, mustard is known both as oil seed as well as spice. Reference of mustard seed is found in history of Gautam Buddha. French used mustard seed as spices since 800AD. Reference of Mustard seed is found in Quran and Jewish texts. In the sixth century B.C. Greek scientist Pythagoras used mustard as a remedy to Scorpion stings.
Nutritional Value and Mineral content of Mustard:
Mustard seeds are good source of selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. Mustard seeds also contain large amounts of phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, dietary fiber, iron, calcium, protein, niacin and zinc.
Mustard Oil is extracted by cold compression of mustard seeds. While Mustard essential oil is extracted through steam distillation of mustard seeds. Mustard Seeds contain an enzyme called Myrosinase and a glucosinolate called Sinigrin. In presence of water these react to form Allyl Isothiocyanate (in case of Black Mustard) and normal Isothiocyanate (in case of White Mustard), a toxic compound, which is extracted as essential oil.
Health benefits of Mustard
This small seed is full of nutrition and health benefits. Some key benefits of mustard are listed below:
Mustard seed aids digestion
Mustard seed is considered as stimulant and aids digestion. It is known for its digestive, laxative, antiseptic, and circulative stimulant properties. Mustard has been traditionally used as folk remedy against arthritis, rheumatism and inflammation.
Mustard acts as appetizer and boosts hunger, and considered as a digestive irritant. It irritates inner lining of stomach and intestine and simulates secretion of digestive juices giving a feeling of hunger.
Anti-Cancer properties of Mustard
Mustard seeds contain ample amount of glucosinolates, a phytonutrient for body and other enzymes which studies have shown to have anti cancer properties and effective on gastrointestinal and colorectal cancer.
Anti bacterial and anti fungal properties of Mustard
Glucosinolate along with anti cancer properties is also considered anti bacterial and anti fungal. Mustard seeds contain sulphur which is effective treating various skin diseases and also found in skin ointments.
Mustard as decongestant
Mustard plasters are applied to chest as folk medicine to aid clearing sinus and decongest the lungs. The essential oil of Mustard is used to treat cases such as Pleurisy and Pneumonia.
Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Mustard
Anti cancer properties of mustard can be attributed to presence of Selenium and Magnesium. Selenium is considered essential nutrient for body and help to reduce severity of asthama, prevent cancer, and treat symptoms of arthritis. Manganesium is known to reduce high blood pressure and effective over heart disease.
Mustard and heart diseases
Mustard essential oil is high in mono unsaturated fatty acids and good ratio of poly unsaturated fatty acids, which is considered good for heart. Consumption of mustard oil in food is good for heart. Mustard oil helps in preventing Coronary Heart Disease.
Tooth Care and Mustard
Mustard oil protects teeth from germs if rubbed on gums and makes gum strong. Mustard plasters were applied to cure toothaches and a number of ailments.
Hair growth and scalp care with Mustard oil
Mustard oil helps to reduce hair fall through improved blood circulation if it is massaged on scalp. It is also considered effective over dandruff.