Mustard Medicinal Herb
a Treatment for Pneumonia

Mustard plant: By Leo Michels (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Mustard (Sinapis alba) is used as a medicinal herb and it is a plant that has been traditionally utilized in Chinese herbal medicine and folk medicine as a treatment for different conditions.  It was also used as a tangy, pungent and spicy flavour in various salads and side dishes.  Today it is popularly used in the United States and Canada as a spice.  Canada is now one of the primary producers of the seeds.

The yellow condiment is made by grinding and mixing the seeds with vinegar, water as well as other liquids of your choice.  Pressing the seeds will also result in a potent oil.

It is native to Central Asia, North Africa as well as the Mediterranean.  The main parts used as herbal medicine are the flowers and seeds which are high in flavour.  It is from the Brassicaceae family.  There are many species of it and it is an annual cruciferous plant.  It is so called because of its four petaled flowers which look like a cross. The common names are Sinapis alba, Brassica alba, Yellow mustard, White mustard and Kedlock.  The medicinal properties are stimulant, pungent, emetic, condiment, digestive, laxative, anti-cancer and irritant.  The constituents are iron, zinc, calcium, manganese, magnesium, mono-unsaturated fats and phosphorus.

The name of this plant is derived from the Latin musten ardens, which means burning must.  The name originated from the pulverizing of the seeds with grape juice that was unfermented or even Must, their tangy flavor became stronger resulting in the burning.

Proofs of its early existence

One primary proof that it was around for thousand of years, is that the Bible referred to it as the greatest among all herbs.  Also, the seeds have been mentioned in the ancient Sanskrit writings dating back approximately five thousand years ago.  This is truly an ancient medicinal herb with potent flavors, healing and medicinal properties.

It is seen as medicine, food, herb, condiment and spice.  However, using it as food is not recommended as it can become harmful to the body.

Health benefits

The seeds are used to treat colds, abscesses, rheumatism, bronchitis, ulcers, toothache and stomach conditions.  It is will lower symptoms associated rheumatoid arthritis, lowers the prevalence and severity of asthma and will aid in the prevention of cancer.

Sometimes our feet need a good foot bath and this herb is the right remedy for it.  However, the foot bath will help to alleviate congestion in the head and lungs.  It will pull blood to the lower parts of the body causing this healthy reaction. 

It can be used to induce vomiting by steeping one teaspoonful in a cup of boiling water, allow to cool and then consume it all at once.

Mustard seeds: By Pancrat (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Although there are other varieties that produce the best mustard greens, this one however, is also edible and full of nutrition.  I am referring to the leaves which should be consumed when they are young.  They are used as vegetables in all parts of the world.  They can be prepared just like cooked cabbage, spinach or amaranth when the leaves are more aged.

The greens contain an abundant amount of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene as well as phytochemicals, which is good to prevent cancer. They also contain vitamin B6, folic acid, magnesium, calcium, iron, niacin, vitamin A.

In Chinese herbal medicine, the greens are used to treat bladder inflammations and to stop hemorrhage.  Eating the greens is thought to offer great benefits to individuals suffering from conditions ranging from asthma to heart disease to menopausal symptoms.

Mustard plasters

Plasters can be made from this medicinal herb to treat back pain, sore muscles, arthritis, rheumatism and other joint pains.  The plaster can also be placed over the kidneys to treat irritation of the kidneys.  Combine four parts of wheat flour, one part of powdered mustard and mix with enough warm water to make a paste.  Spread the paste on a linen or cotton flannel material and used over affected areas.  However, this herb can become very hot, so to avoid blisters, the plaster should be immediately be removed if it becomes too uncomfortable or too hot.  After removal of the plaster, cleanse the skin thoroughly and use powder to soothe the skin.  No residue of mustard should be left on the skin.

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