Discover the medicinal values of mustard seeds

Mustard is not just another flavourful spice. It also has medicinal properties which provide quite a powerful punch of goodness. It is rich in antioxidants and can offer protection against many dreadful diseases. So, the next time you pick up mustard seeds for seasoning a dish, know that you're adding more than just flavour.

The medicinal properties of mustard have been known for long. There is evidence that the Romans used this rather small, but pungent spice in poultices, to ease chest congestion and pain. The spice was also used in Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medicine system that propagated the use of plants and herbs to cure ailments. According to ancient Indian science, mustard seeds have a warming effect on the body and are said to aid digestion. The seeds are recommended for digestive disorders such as flatulence and stomach cramps. Modern science has discovered that mustard seeds contain many organic compounds like allyl isothiocyanates that have great healing properties. There are many medicinal uses of this kitchen condiment.

It is a natural expectorant

Mustard contains two compounds sinigrin and myrosin that thin nasal mucus and phlegm and makes it easier to remove them from the body.

Grandmothers' recipe for curing chest congestion involves rubbing the chest and the back with warm mustard oil. The warming property of the oil decongests the phlegm and gives almost instant relief.
Another traditional method uses crushed mustard seeds and mixing them with a little flour and water and making a thick paste and applying it on the throat and chest and leaving it on for 15 minutes. The strong pungent scent unclogs a stuffy nose, while the natural heat that the paste emits, improves blood circulation, loosens the chest congestion and gives some respite.

A thin film of Vaseline should be applied to the skin of young children, before using this therapy, as the mustard can irritate their tender skin.

Adding a spoonful of mustard sauce or a dollop of the local flavour 'kasundi' in a sandwich or on a paratha or puri can also help clear stuffed nasal passages.

Kills foot fungus

Adding powdered mustard to a foot bath can kill fungus, especially one that causes athlete's foot. A tablespoon of freshly pounded mustard added to a tub of warm water makes an ideal foot bath for fungal infections on the feet.

A paste made of powdered mustard and apple cider vinegar can cure nail fungus, over a period of time, if applied every day on the affected toenails.

Appetite stimulator

Food seasoned with mustard surges the production of saliva and digestive juices, a precursor for stirring an appetite. It is a great additive to put into foods prepared for individuals who lose their appetite when they are sick.

Eases aches and pain

Mustard is a rubefacient, which means it causes the capillaries to dilate and increase blood circulation when applied topically. It causes the skin to warm up, much like what analgesic balms. When applied topically it is known to drain nerve cells of a chemical called P, which relays pain signals to the nervous system. It is no surprise then that mustard oil is a key ingredient in many arthritis ointments.

Arthritis patients can find relief by massaging the painful joints with a blend of warm mustard oil and camphor. The heat from the ingredients burns the skin and the rubefacient effect kills the pain.

Alternatively, an infusion of pounded mustard seeds and water works equally well. Mustard is added to hot water and allowed to steep for 5-7 minutes. Then a thick cloth is soaked in the water and applied on the affected joint as a compress.

A remedy for earache

A few drops of warm mustard oil put into the ear can cure an earache. It is also an antifungal agent and is an effective remedy for swimmers ears that causes a fungal infection in the ear due to contaminated water getting trapped inside the ear canal. Putting warm water in the ear can also soften and dislodge stubborn ear wax.

Relieves fever, headache and congestion

Soaking feet in warm water to which a tablespoon or two of freshly ground mustard powder is added can be remedy for many ailments.
  • It can soothe a throbbing head and is especially recommended for migraine headaches
  • It is a remedy for head cold and blocked sinuses
  • It also brings down high fever

More uses of mustard

  • Mustard seeds when added to food improve digestions and provides relief from flatulence
  • They can also act as a laxative if eaten, so they must be eaten in controlled quantity
  • Swallowing powdered mustard and water will induce vomiting

Power packed mustard greens

Mustard greens are a powerhouse of nutrients, like most green leafy vegetables they contain phytonutrients that while being healthy, also inhibit disease. They are a storehouse of minerals and vitamins mainly vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin K, vitamin C and all the B-complex group of vitamins.

They have a high fibre content, which both soluble and insoluble and helps keep the cholesterol levels in check and maintains good gut health, protecting against piles, constipation, fissures and colon cancer.
The rich antioxidant content in mustard greens protects against cancers of the ovary, breast, prostate and colon. The abundance of vitamin K in the greens acts against Alzheimer's disease.

Minerals present in mustard greens include calcium, zinc, iron, potassium, manganese, magnesium and selenium.

Regular consumption of mustard greens can promote good eyesight, prevent infections and allergies, protect against arthritis, asthma, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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