Other Names for Mustard: Rajakshavak, kali mohari, banarasi rai, rai, safed rai, kale sarason, sarisha, soriha, sasave, aasur, asuri, kadugu, avalu, soriso

Useful Parts of the Plant: Leaves, seeds

Mustard is a commonly used spice since days of old. The mustard plant is an annual herb with bright yellow flowers that yield hairy pods. Mustard is available in three varieties: black, brown and white. Mustard seeds are harvested when the pods of the plant look developed, but not in a wholly ripe condition. Mustard seeds, which are widely used in the kitchen, have a sharp and fiery taste. White mustard is extensively seen in North America and Europe. Mustard plant possesses a unique property of growing at a rapid pace, wherever it is planted.

Nutritional Information and Properties

The mustard plant is a source of volatile oils, which possess antimicrobial properties. Mustard seeds rate high on their antioxidant content and presence of selenium, which is believed to be an anti-inflammatory agent. Omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium are also found to be constituents of mustard. Glucosinolates and mirosinase enzymes are some phytonutrients that mustard seeds possess. The isothiocynates present in mustard are also believed to have anti-cancer properties.

Health Benefits and Therapeutic Uses

  • Since ancient times, people all over the world have used mustard for its medicinal properties. The high nutrient content in mustard helps the body to improve the metabolic process, lower blood pressure, and ward off atherosclerosis.
  • Mustard seeds have multiple benefits of antiviral, antimicrobial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. The antiseptic nature of mustard seeds helps to cleanse the digestive tract and improve the body's total immune mechanism.
  • Mustard has been commonly used as a condiment to spice up foods. It adds flavor to soups, stews, and various pastes that are used for seasoning.
  • When mustard intake is continued for a regular period, it is believed to decrease the chances of migraines.
  • Sprains and muscle aches are believed to be relieved when a paste or poultice of mustard is applied on the affected area.
  • The scent of mustard is considered to remove nasal congestion and help to clear up the lungs.
  • Mustard oil is also used for cooking as well as a massage oil. It is considered to improve the circulation of blood through the body and ward off rheumatism and arthritis.
  • A plaster of mustard paste is also believed to help bring down fevers.
  • Mustard seed, used in various dishes, is believed to whet one's appetite and also enhance the metabolic activities of the body.
  • By helping to clear the sinuses of any phlegm or mucus, mustard is believed to mitigate the effects of asthma.
  • Selenium, that is present in mustard, is considered to help the body reduce its cholesterol levels.
  • The presence of sulphur in mustard accounts for its use in treating skin ailments. The paste of the seeds is applied on the affected area for this purpose.
  • A gargle with mustard, honey, salt, lime, and hot water is believed to cure a sore throat.
  • A mustard soak or bath is also considered helpful in relieving back aches, muscle aches, and tired feet.

Other Uses

  • A thin layer of mustard, spread on normal skin, acts as a cosmetic mask and softens the skin.
  • After soaking your hair in a generous application of mustard oil, rinse out your hair with a mild shampoo and enjoy soft and conditioned hair.
  • Mustard plants check the growth of weeds in the area where they are cultivated. The plant is also a natural means of removing heavy metals from the soil, thus improving the fertility of the soil.