Mustard seed is used in Ayurveda for both external application and oral use, in treating worm infestation, pruritus (itching), psychiatric disorders, low digestion strength and more.
Botanical name of mustard types:
White mustard, Yellow mustard – Sinapis alba
Black mustard – Brassica nigra L. Koch
Sarshapa – Indian mustard – Brassica juncea L. Czern. et Cosson
Family- Cruciferae (Brassicaceae)
Names in different languages:
Hindi name- Sarson / Rai
English name- Wild turnip
Kannada name – Sasive
Telugu name- Nallavalu, Avalu
Tamil name- Karuppukkadugadi
Marathi name- Kalamohare, Shirasi
Bengali name – Sarisha
Punjabi name – Sareya
Shweta Sarshapa – white mustard –
Siddharta, Shubhragaura, Katu sneha, Tuntubha, Rajika phala, Bhutaghna, Ugragandha, Tantubha, Udumbara, Vijayapaha, Katuka, Katusneha,
Bhutaghna, Bhootanashanam Rakshoghna – Relieves evil spirits
Rakta Sarshapa – red mustard:
Chitrala, Prabhuta Teekshna Gandha – strong odor
Krushna Sarshapa – Black mustard:
Asuri, Rajika, Krushnika, Teevra, Suteekshna, Katuka – strong and pungent
In general, Sarshapa refers to white mustard. It is also Siddhartha or Shweta Sarshapa
Rajika is Krushna Sarshapa – Black mustard
Major chemical constituents
Seeds -Rutin, Arabinogalactan
Kandughna – group of herbs useful to relieve itching, pruritus
Asthapanopaga – group of herbs useful in decoction enema (Asthapana bast)
Shiro virechanopaga – group of herbs useful in nasya treatment
Vaghbata- Kanndughna, Pippalyadi
Bhava Prakasha, Kaiyadeva Nighantu – Dhanya Varga (grains)
Dhanvantari Nighantu – Karaveeradi Varga
Rajanighantu – Shalyadi Varga
Mustard medicinal Properties:
Guna (qualities) – Laghu (lightness), Snigdha (oily, unctuousness)
Rasa (taste) – Katu (pungent), Tikta (bitter)
Vipaka- Katu – Undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion
Veerya – Ushna – Hot potency
Effect on Tridosha – Balances Kapha and Vata Dosha. Increases Pitta Dosha.
Part used- Seed, seed oil
Dosage- Seed powder 2-4 g
Health benefits of Mustard:
White mustard uses – Siddharta (Shweta Sarshapa)
Hrudya – acts as cardiac tonic, congenial for heart
Rakta Pitta Vardahana – increases Pitta and worsens blood vitiation.
Agnivardhana – improves digestion strength
Indicated in –
Kushta – skin diseases
Kandu – itching, pruritus
Kantharoga – Throat and voice related disorders
Graharoga – Psychiatric disorders
Krumi – worm infestation
Ama – A product of indigestion and altered metabolism
Shruti –hearing disorders
Sheersha Anilarti – headache due to Vata increase
Pleeha – Disease of the spleen, Splenomegaly
Shoola – adominal pain
It is quite similar to white variety.
Swadu – slightly sweet
Ushana – Hot
Guru – heavy to digest
Kshara – has scraping qualities
As per Bhava Prakasha, Red mustard is similar to white, but white is better.
Black mustard benefits – Rajika (Krushna Sarshapa)
Katu – Pungent
Tikta – bitter
Ushna – Hot
Nidrakari – induces sleep
Raktapitta krut – increases Pitta and vitiates Rakta (blood), not indicated in bleeding disorders.
Indicated in –
Kushta – skin diseases
Kaphaja Gulma – Tumors of the abdomen of Kapha origin
Shopha – inflammation
Kapha Pittaghni – Balances Kapha and Pitta Dosha
Mustard seed paste external application in wounds, abscess and swellings:
In cases of abscess / wounds with initial stage of pus formation, mustard paste is applied to quicken pus formation, before incision and draining.
In cases of wounds with slough, a thin layer of mustard paste applied, gets rid of the slough.
It relieves pain and swelling associated with wound / abscess / edema.
Mustard paste application in neurological conditions:
In cases of paralysis, mustard paste helps to improve blood circulation and warmth.
In case of petechial patches, sub cutaneous bleeding spots, mustard application helps to relieve the patches, pain and burning sensation.
In case of arthritis and other joint conditions with stiffness, as in rheumatoid arthritis, mustard paste application helps to improve warmth and joint flexibility.
Mustard paste for skin disorders:
In cases of skin disorders involving itching and pain, mustard paste application is useful.
In these cases, mustard seed is ground with water, made into paste, applied over the affected area for 5 – 10 minutes, then the paste is removed.
It can also be applied to a wet cloth and then the cloth is wrapped over the affected area.
While the paste is applied, if the patient feels burning sensation, then the paste has to be removed immediately.
Mustard Side effects:
It increases Pitta dosha. Hence, it is best to avoid this during excess burning sensation, burning urination, bleeding disorders, gastritis.
It can be used in small quantities in children, during pregnancy and lactation.
Pigeon meat fried in mustard oil acts as poison.
But the texts do not recommend seed oil in Pitta disorders as it is very pungent and hot in potency. Further the crude oil is having the tendency to vitiate blood (Rakta dhatu pradooshaka) and Semen (Shukra hrasakara).
So this oil (as well as seeds) should be cautiously and in minimum quantity only.
सर्षपशाकं शाकानां (निन्द्यम्)।च.सू.२५
The leaves of mustard causes Vidaha – burning sensation, has absorbent, hot and strong piercing qualities. It causes Dosha imbalance. Hence advised to avoid it in diet.
How to use mustard:
Regular use of 1 – 2 grams in diet is best way to use.
If for specific therapeutic purpose, its powder is administered along with a teaspoon of ghee or honey.
Antimicrobial activity of Sinapsis alba – The seeds of hexane extract contain terpenoids and fattyacids. In 150% concentration Sinapis alba showed the highest 20mm antibacterial zone against streptococcus pneumoniae.
Ayurvedic medicines with mustard as ingredient:
Somaraji taila – useful in Ayurvedic treatment of eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, allergic skin conditions with itching.
Sarshapadi Pralepa – used in Ayurvedic treatment of edema and inflammation, cysts, cervical lymphadenopathy etc.
Yogaraja Churnam – used in the treatment of piles, fistula, anorexia, bloating and anemia.