Hedge Mustard

Hedge Mustard, Uses of Hedge Mustard, Herb, Herbal Remedy

A roadside plant that grows vigorously in the wild to a height l!( arolwd 60cm, hed}~e mustard has hairy, hlackish green stems and serrated leaves varying cereatly itl size. flower ,just 3mm across, appear from April to as late as November, the petals forming a cross shap. Its fruit consists of pods, which hang ill thin clusters and contain acrid, yellow seeds. The whole plant tastes and smell similar to mustard, and its leaves are sometimes used to flavour sauces alld soups, as well as in salads and omelettes.


Parts used

Whole plant, leaves, flowering tops . The leaves are picked in spring, and in summer with the flowers.


Both leaves and flowers are usually dried before being used for infusions and tinctures. However, fresh leaves and flowers are also used.


Constituents

Hedge mustard contains an essential oil, rich in sweet-smelling sulphur compounds, consisting mainly of glucosinolates. It has also been found that the seeds contain small quantities of cardenolides.


Medicinal uses

The sulphur compounds in the essential oil of hedge mustard act as an expectorant, helping to loosen phlegm and dissolve mucus. This means that the plant can help to soothe coughs and treat throat and respiratory problems, such as catarrh, bronchitis, hoarseness, voice loss and weakness in the lungs, caused by inflammation in the airways. Hedge mustard is therefore a common ingredient in cough syrups, and is known in France as 'singer's plant' because of its ability to restore the voice to full power.


Hedge mustard is also known to stimulate the gastric juices and can act as a diuretic. This makes the plant useful for cleansing the system and easing a number of digestive ailments, including bloating and stomach problems in general.


Testing several natural substances for their ability to protect the immune system from damage by bacterial infection, Japanese researchers recently showed that the sulphur compounds in hedge mustard were the most effective.


CAUTIONS

Excessive use of hedge mustard can induce unwanted side effects, including slowing of the heartbeat.
Hedge mustard should never be given to young children.


PREPARATION AND DOSAGE

For internal use


TO TREAT hoarseness, laryngitis, pharyngitis and inflammation of the airways
II\IFUSION Add 5g of dried plan to 1 cup of boiling water. Cover. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Strain. Drink 2-4 cups a day. TINCTURE Take 30 drops in a glass of water, three to four times a day.


For external use


TO TREAT voice loss GARGLE Make the infusion as described above, and use three or four times a day.


IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST CONSULT A DOCTOR


Cultivation

Hedge muĞard can be grown from seeds, planted in either spring or autumn. It is suited to moist or dries, acid to alkaline soil, and prefers a sunny or lightly shaded spot.



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