It was the condiment, not the plant, that was originally called mustard. The condiment got its name because it was made by grinding the seeds of what was once called the senvy plant into a paste and mixing it with must (an unfermented wine). Mustard is one of the oldest spices and one of the most widely used. The Chinese were using it thousands of years ago and the ancient Greeks considered it an everyday spice. The first medical mention of it is in the Hippocratic writings, where it was used for general muscular relief. The Romans used it as a condiment and pickling spice. King Louis XI would travel with his own royal mustard pot, in case his hosts didn’t serve it. Today, world consumption of mustard tops 400 million pounds.
Mustard is an annual herb cultivated as oil seed crop or as vegetable or as fodder, of which, 3 species are known for its condiment value. They are pale yellow or white mustard (Brassica hirta), brown mustard (Brassica juncea) and black mustard (Brassica nigra). The leaves of the plant are alternate, long, bristly branched, petiolate, hairy on both sides. Flowers are small, yellow with 4petals, cruciform. Seeds are 1.5-3mm.
Smell: The seed itself has no aroma.
Flavour: Sharp and fiery.
Hotness Scale: 3-8
Health Benefits of Mustard
Historically, mustard has always held an important place in medicine. The ancient Greeks believed it had been created by Asclepious, the god of healing, as a gift to mankind. Although the volatile oil of mustard is a powerful irritant capable of blistering skin, in dilution as a liniment or poultice it soothes, creating a warm sensation. Mustard plasters are still used today as counter-irritants.
Over the years mustard has been prescribed for scorpion stings and snake bites, epilepsy, toothache, bruises, stiff neck, rheumatism, colic and respiratory troubles. It is a strong emetic (used to induce vomiting) and rubefacient (an irritant) that draws the blood to the surface of the skin to warm and comfort stiff muscles. It is useful in bath water or as a foot bath, as “It helpeth the Sciatica, or ache in the hip or huckle bone” .(Gerard, 1579).
INDIAN NAME OF SPICES
Hindi : Rai, Banarasi rai, Kalee sarson Gujarati : Rai Kannada : Sasave Kashmiri : Aasur, Sorisa Malayalam : Kaduku Punjabi : Rai, Banarasi rai, Kalee sarson Sanskrit : Asuri, Bimbata Tamil : Kadugo Telugu : Avalu Urdu : Rai, Banarasi rai, Kalee sarson
Brassica alba, B. juncea, B. nigra