Mustard Black

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  • Botanical: Brassica nigra
  • Family: Brassicaceae
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Mustard Black


Brassica nigra



Known as

Black Mustard, Brassica nigra, Sinapis nigra, Gartensenf, Mostardkorn, Mostert, Senfsaat

Old Use

medicinal use

Collection Times

July to September

Parts Used

leaves, seed


anorexia, bronchitis, back pain, bile weakness, bronchitis, bruises, cancer, circulation, colds, constipation, coughs, depression, digestion, epilepsy, flatulence, gout, hay fever, headache, laxative, low blood pressure, indigestion, neuritis, pain relief, rheumatism, sore throat, swollen feet, edema, frostbite, hay fever, lichens, lumbago, sciatica

Heart & Circulation

circulation, dropsy (edema), edema, swollen feet

Infection & Inflammation

swollen feet

Muscle & Joints

back pain, lower back pain (lumbago)

Mind & Nerves

epilepsy, sciatica

Respiratory System

bronchitis, cough, tonsillitis

Stomach & Intestinal

cancer, laxative, indigestion


analgesic, antibacterial, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, fungicide, stimulant


Brassica nigra is a ANNUAL growing to 1.2 m (4ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in). It grows from two to eight feet tall, with racemes of small yellow flowers. These flowers are usually up to 1/3" across, with four petals each. The leaves are covered in small hairs; they can wilt on hot days, but recover at night.
 It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies.The plant is self-fertile.

Properties & Uses

A semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed, as well as being edible it is also used as a lubricant, illuminant and in making soap. The plant is often grown as a green manure, it is very fast, producing a bulk suitable for digging into the soil in about 8 weeks. Not very winter hardy, it is generally used in spring and summer. It does harbour the pests and diseases of the cabbage family so is probably best avoided where these plants are grown in a short rotation and especially if club root is a problem. Mustard oil (allyl isothiocyanate) is used in commercial cat and dog repellent mixtures

Traditional Use

Mustard seed is often used in herbal medicine, especially as a rubefacient poultice. The seed is ground and made into a paste then applied to the skin in the treatment of rheumatism, as a means of reducing congestion in internal organs. Applied externally, mustard relieves congestion by drawing the blood to the surface as in head afflictions, neuralgia and spasms. Hot water poured on bruised seeds makes a stimulant foot bath, good for colds and headaches. Old herbals suggested mustard for treating alopecia, epilepsy, snakebite, and toothache. Care must be taken not to overdo it, since poultices can sometimes cause quite severe irritation to the skin. The seed is also used internally, when it is appetizer, digestive, diuretic, emetic and tonic. Swallowed whole when mixed with molasses, it acts as a laxative. A decoction of the seeds is used in the treatment of indurations of the liver and spleen. It is also used to treat carcinoma, throat tumours, and imposthumes. A liquid prepared from the seed, when gargled, is said to help tumours of the "sinax." The seed is eaten as a tonic and appetite stimulant. Hot water poured onto bruised mustard seeds makes a stimulating foot bath and can also be used as an inhaler where it acts to throw off a cold or dispel a headache. Mustard Oil is said to stimulate hair growth. Mustard is also recommended as an aperient ingredient of tea, useful in hiccup. Mustard flour is considered antiseptic[


When eaten in large quantities, the seed and pods have sometimes proved toxic to grazing animals. Mustard allergy possibly especially in children and adolescents. Retention of seeds possibly in intestines if taken internally 


The plant is believed to be native to the southern Mediterranean region of Europe and possibly South Asia where it has been cultivated for thousands of years.

Central Europe. Occasionally naturalized in South-West Britain


Mustard oil, mustard oil glycosides, essential oils, sinigrin, vitamin C, histidine, mucus, sinapine, tryptophan, zinc

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For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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