Black mustard (lat. Brassica nigra ) is an annual plant of the Cruciferous family with a straight, 1-1.5 m tall stem. The leaves are petiolate, lower and middle stemmed, lyre-pinnate, usually glabrous and bluish-green. The flowers are bright yellow. Blooms from May to October.
It grows as a weed and weed along roadsides, embankments, fallows and sown areas up to 500 m above sea level.
Action and application . Mustard seed is used in folk and classical medicine as an irritant that causes blood to rush to the sore spot, warms, improves blood circulation and heals the inflammatory process. In addition, it reflexively irritates the respiratory center and improves breathing. It is most often applied externally in the form of poultices on various parts of the body for cold conditions, stings, bronchitis, pneumonia, rheumatism, lumbago, arthritic pains, etc. Much less often, it is used internally (mixed with honey) in bronchitis, to stimulate bile secretion, etc.
Method of use . Mustard seeds are used, mixed with flour in a 1:1 ratio (for children, flour is 2-3 times more than mustard seeds). A thick slurry is made with lukewarm water and a little vinegar (the water should not be hot, because it will inactivate the ferment under the influence of which the irritating substance is produced). The mustard paste is spread between a piece of cloth folded in two and placed on the sore spot. The paw is held until the skin is reddened, but the patient should not feel severe pain. Usually the paw stays for 10-20 minutes in adults, and in children much shorter time. With prolonged or frequent use, the skin may be injured. Instead of porridge, mustard papers are also used for the same purpose. The crushed mustard seed (200-500 g) is also placed in the bath water. The bath lasts 15-20 minutes.
Chemical composition . The mustard seed contains up to 7% of the thioglycoside sinigrin, which in the presence of water and under the action of the ferment complex myrosinase releases the so-called essential mustard oil (Oleum Sinapis aethereum) , composed mainly of allyl isothiocyanate. The mustard seed also contains about 30% fatty oil, composed mainly of glycerides of erucic acid, proteins, mucilaginous substances, etc.
Usable part. The seeds ( Semen Sinapis nigrae ) and the mustard flour ( Farina Sinapis ) and mustard spirit ( Spiritus Sinapis ) obtained from them are used for medicinal purposes.