Mustard seeds (Brassica juncea) have been highly prized medicinal as well as culinary spice being in use since earlier times. The seeds are fruits pods obtained from mustard plant in the Brassica family which includes cabbage, broccoli, Brussels – sprouts, etc.
Mustards are winter crops of Asia Minor, but these days cultivated as one of the main commercial crop in Canada, India China and temperate climates of European region.
Mustards plant reaches about 4 – 5 feet in height and bears golden yellow colored flowers. Its tiny, round seeds measuring about one millimeter in diameter is encased inside a fruit pod in a similar fashion as the green pea pod.
Three varieties of mustard are grown worldwide for use.
White mustard seeds (Brassica Alba), Black mustards (Brassica nigra) and Brown mustards (Brassica juncea):
Health benefits of mustard seeds
Generally perceived as health benefiting spice, mustards seeds are indeed very rich in phyto – nutrients, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants.
Being one of the chief oil seeds, mustards are indeed very high in calories; hundred grams of seeds provides 508 calories. Nonetheless, the seeds are made of quality proteins, essential oils, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
100 g of mustard provides 4.733 mg of niacin (vitamin B – 3). Niacin is a part of nicotinamide co – enzymes, helps lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Mustard seeds and its oil have traditionally been used to relieve muscle pain, rheumatism and arthritic pain. Its ground seeds act as a laxative, stimulant to gastric mucosa and increase intestinal secretion.
Some of the mustard seeds health benefits are mentioned below.
The presence of compounds like glucosinolates and mirosinase in mustard seeds are known to use phytochemicals to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. This is definitely a major mustard seeds health benefit. Selenium content in mustard seeds provides good resistance to the body against cancer cell formation. It is known to slow down the rate of development of cancer cells.
Mustard seeds are a source of relief for people having rheumatic arthritis. The selenium and magnesium content in it helps in providing relief from this problem.
Migraine occurrence also reduces owing to the magnesium content present in the mustard seed. A little touch of mustard to your fish can boost the constituting omega-3 content.
Mustard seeds or mustard in general is known to relieve any congestion problems in respiration.
Mustard seeds should find an inclusion in your list of daily spices if you want to avoid nightshades.
There are certain nutrients in mustard seeds that prevent diseases from occurring. They are all a part of the basic structure of the Brassica family to which mustard belongs.
Mustard seeds are a good source of dietary fibres that improve digestion in the body. They make the bowel movements better, thus improving the overall metabolism of the body. The fibre content here is mostly very readily soluble making it effective for use.
Mustard seeds are also known to be beneficial for Asthma patients. The presence of minerals like copper, magnesium, iron and selenium in it are responsible for the prevention of Asthma Attacks.
Skin Benefits of Mustard Seeds
Mustard seeds are a natural scrub. You can add it to either lavender or rose essential oil. Use this mix to scrub your face and exfoliate dead skin.
Mustard seeds, used with aloe vera gel, can act as a great combination to hydrate your skin. It removes all impurities from your face and nourishes it from within.
Mustard seeds make for a great source of carotene and lutein. It is also a great power house of vitamin A, C and K. Together these nutrients make for an excellent antioxidant.
These seeds contain a good amount of sulphur which is known for its anti-fungal properties. They help ward off skin infections. Research studies have validated mustards effectiveness in curing the inflammation and lesions associated with Psoriasis. Treatment with mustard seeds stimulates the activities of good enzymes such as superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and catalase which encourage protective and healing action in such diseases.
Hair Benefits of Mustard Seeds
Mustard oil, extracted from mustard seeds, is a good source of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is a great nutrient for hair growth. It is also a great stimulant which leads to faster hair growth.
Mustard seeds contain protein, calcium, vitamin A and E, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. All of these together strengthen your hair from within. Strengthened hair means lesser hair fall too.
Mustard seeds contain fatty acids. These are known to condition your hair from deep within. It also gives hair a good shine and bounce.
Removes foul smell
Warm a little water and add it to the jar with foul smell. Also add a little mustard seed paste to the jar and shake it well. Pour it out. You would be surprised how the smell goes away.
Treats Back Pain
The extract of mustard seeds is useful in relieving spasms and back pain.
Mustard seeds induce heavy sweating, which helps to lower fever. It helps release the toxins from the body and has been useful in flu and cold too.
A decoction made with mustard seeds helps in cleansing the body especially in the poisoning caused by narcotics and excess intake of alcohol.
Topical application of paste made of mustard seeds on a clean skin washed with warm water helps in soothing the symptoms associated with ringworms.
Mustard leaf is excellent for diabetics. Studies have demonstrated the anti – oxidation activities of mustard plant which helps in neutralizing the effects of oxygen free molecules and protects against the damages caused by oxidative stress in diabetics.
Cholesterol lowering ability
Leaves of mustard plant have the tremendous cholesterol lowering power. Streamed version of mustard green has better bile acid binding as compared to raw mustard greens. So stream them lightly, may add a little roasted cumin, salt and pepper and enjoy.
Magnesium along with calcium present in mustard greens encourages bone health and prevents bone loss associated with menopause and may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis in menopausal women.
Dried yellow mustard gives a nice flavor when added as seasoning in the salad dishes, mayonnaise and dips. Whole mustard seeds give nice flavoring to pickles and dips. Yellow mustard flour has superb emulsifying and stabilizing qualities which is great for preparing of sausages. Mustard greens can be added to the soups and also serves lusciously well as a main course with corn bread which is quite popular in northern India during colder seasons.