Brassica nigra Brassicaceae.
This annual herb is widespread in both Europe and Asia, where it has been grown as a condiment and for medicinal purposes for over 2000 years. The leaves at the base of its stem are serrated; those at the top are unserrated and narrower. Its .flowers are yellow and the fruits are long seedpods, which contain little, spherical, blackish seeds.
Mustard seeds contain lipids that are rich in unsaturated fatty acids, such as erucic, oleic and linoleic acids. The seeds also contain glucosinolates, especially sinigrin, as well as different kinds of mucilage.
Black mustard seed has a warming effect since it improves the circulation by dilating the blood vessels. In the same way it is able to relieve pain caused by inflammation. These properties lead to its use externally in poultices for the treatment of bronchitis. rheumatic and joint pains, and influenza.
When used internally, black mustard is recommended in small doses to restore lost appetite and cure indigestion. The glucosinolates in black mustard are currently being investigated for their potential as agents that inhibit the development of cancer. But it is not yet known if they are as effective as those present in other plants of the brassica family such as broccoli.
Use poultices with care: if they are applied with too high a dosage or for too long a time they can cause intense pain. blisters and irreversible damage to skin tissue.
Mustard must not be used on broken skin or near the eyes.
Patients with serious circulatory problems. respiratory diseases or vein disorders such as varicose veins should not use these preparations. . Mustard preparations are not recommended for children.
PREPARATION AND DOSAGE
For internal use
TO TREAT 1055 of appetite, indigestion.
INFUSION Put 1 teaspoon of flowerheads (1.5g) into a cup of boiling water. Leave to infuse for 5 minutes, then strain. Take 3 cups a day.
For external use
TO TREAT bronchitis. rheumatic and joint pains. influenza POULTICE Mix 50g of fresh black mustard powder with 200g of flax powder. Add enough lukewarm water to make a thick paste, then wrap in a cloth. Place the poultice on the affected area for about 10 minutes.
IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST CONSULT A DOCTOR
Plant in well-drained. Nutrient-rich soil in a sunny location.
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