Mustard (Brassica), whether it’s black mustard, white mustard or Chinese mustard, is a bushy annual plant that is part of the Brassicaceae family. It is native to Europe, Central Asia and India.
Often considered a weed in most gardens, mustard is a condiment that is much appreciated the world over, and its leaves and seeds provide a great many health benefits and are of high therapeutic value.
Mustard benefits for health
- With very high vitamin C contents, mustard is particularly recommended for tonic and purgative courses.
- Mustard leaves are an excellent source of beta-carotene, which the body then converts into vitamin A. Vitamin A plays a part in several of the body’s essential functions: bone growth and tooth formation among others. It helps keep the skin in perfect health and protects against infections.
- Mustard contains antioxidants that reign in free radicals and circumscribe the damage they wreck in the body. It contributes to preventing cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers, and other diseases related to cell ageing.
- Mustard is effective in relieving digestive disorders. This tonic stimulates the stomach and intestines, spurring them to work better.
- In poultices, mustard treats respiratory tract diseases, decongests pulmonary airways and soothes painful rheumatism disorders as well as headaches.
- A mustard bath (half a jar of mustard chucked in the bath water) is excellent to fend off bouts of cold. This will stimulate the entire body.
Growing mustard for its health benefits
- To grow, mustard needs sun. Note also that it doesn’t like wind-scoured or shaded emplacements. If you live in an area when winters are cold, best try to grow mustard in a greenhouse or under a simple plastic tunnel greenhouse.
- The ground must be quite dense, fertile, deep, well-drained, and it’s important that it remain cool. Don’t select soil that is too moist.
- It is perfectly possible to grow Chinese mustard in a garden box, as long as you water it very regularly. If the weather gets very dry, it will quickly go to seed.
Using mustard when cooking to reap its health benefits
When they grow more mature they’ll become an excellent, nutritious leaf vegetable which you can either steam or stir-fry in a pan.
As a spice, mustard pairs well with meats and vegetables, and adds a bite to salad dressings, sauces and mayo.
Nutritional content of mustard
Mustard leaves contain high levels of complete protein, provitamin A, and vitamins B and C. They’re also well endowed with salts and minerals.