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erbal Medicine Materia Medica


© David L. Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMH

Brassica alba and Brassica nigra


Names: Black Mustard, White Mustard.

Habitat: Cultivated in Europe and the USA.

Collection: The ripe seed pods are collected in the late summer.

Part Used: The Seeds.


  • Glucosinolates; Black Mustard contains sinigrin, whichon hydrolysis by the enzyme myrosin produces allyisothiocyanate, and White Mustard sinalbin, which produces p-hydroxybenzyl isothiocyanate
  • Miscellaneous; sinapine, sinapic acid, fixed oil, protein, mucilageetc.
Actions: Rubefacient, irritant, stimulant, diuretic, emetic.

Indications: This well known spice has its main use in medicine as a stimulating external application. The rubefacient action causes a mild irritation to the skin, stimulating the circulation in that area and relieving muscular and skeletal pain. Its stimulating, diaphoretic action can be utilized in the way that Cayenne and Ginger are. Forfeverishness, colds, and influenza, Mustard may be taken as a tea or ground and sprinkled into a bath. The stimulation of circulation will aid chilblains as well as the conditions already mentioned. An infusion or poultice of Mustard will aid in cases of bronchitis.

Preparations & Dosage: Poultice: Mustard is most commonly used as a poultice which can be made by mixing l00 grams (4 ounces) of freshly ground mustard seeds with warm water (at about 45 degrees C) to form a thick paste. This is spread on a piece of cloth the size of the body area that is to be covered. To stop the paste sticking to the skin, lay a dampened gauze on the skin. Apply the cloth and remove after l minute. The skin may be reddened by this treatment which can be eased by applying olive oil afterward. Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto l teaspoonful of mustard flour and leave to infuse for 5 minutes. This may be drunk three times a day. Foot bath: make an infusion using l tablespoon of bruised seeds to l litre (2 pints) of boiling water.

About The Author
Whilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary......more
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