Mustard Benefits, Types, Usage, Side Effects, Research

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)

Vernacular names

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

Sanskrit synonyms

Shweta Sarshapa – white mustard –
Siddharta, Shubhragaura, Katu sneha, Tuntubha, Rajika phala, Bhutaghna, Ugragandha, Tantubha, Udumbara, Vijayapaha, Katuka, Katusneha,
Bhutaghna, Bhootanashanam Rakshoghna – keeps away from evil spirits.

Major chemical constituents

Seeds -Rutin, Arabinogalactan

Classical categorisation

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
Susruta- Pippalyadi
Vaghbata- Kanndughna, Pippalyadi

Bhava Prakasha, Kaiyadeva Nighantu – Dhanya Varga (grains)
Dhanvantari Nighantu – Karaveeradi Varga
Rajanighantu – Shalyadi Varga

Medicinal properties

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
Effects on Tridosha – Balances Kapha and Vata Dosha. Increases Pitta Dosha.

Part used, dosage

Part used- Seed, seed oil
Dosage- Seed powder 2-4 g

Mustard paste in wounds, swellings

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 / oedema.

For neurological conditions

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.

For skin disorders

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.

Brassica juncea
Brassica juncea
brassica nigra

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

Sanskrit verse

Mustard benefits

Health benefits

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 – abdominal pain

Red mustard:
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 – Tumours of the abdomen of Kapha origin
Shopha  – inflammation
Kapha Pittaghni – Balances Kapha and Pitta Dosha

According to nighantu as per mentioned in Bhojana kutuhalam, Rajasarsapa a sub variety of mustard is bitter and astringent in taste, hot in potency and alleviates vata dosha. It aggravates pitta and cause burning sensation, treats gulma, pruritis, skin diseases and wounds.

Side effects

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 quantity 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 fatty acids. In 150% concentration Sinapis alba showed the highest 20mm antibacterial zone against streptococcus pneumoniae.

Insulinotropic Effect of Aqueous Extract of Brassica nigra

Ayurvedic medicines

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 oedema and inflammation, cysts, cervical lymphadenopathy etc.
Yogaraja Churnam – used in the treatment of piles, fistula, anorexia, bloating and anaemia.

22 thoughts on “Mustard Benefits, Types, Usage, Side Effects, Research”

  1. My hand fingers and leg fingers are always cool. I also feel cool most of the time. I don’t have BP. Little sugar was indicated (160-200) 1 and half year back now with medicines it is 77/140. If I drink 1 spoon mustard oil daily, will it keep Sugar level under control without medicines.

  2. Some people will have high nose irritation with this oil. Anu tailam – 2 drops 2 times a day, in the morning is better.

  3. Namaste Dr Hebbar,

    Can explain in Ayurvedic terms how is Black Mustard Pittaghna while also increasing Pitta? At what stage of digestion does it convert from increasing to decreasing Pitta? vipaka? prabhav? Could you be so kind enough to clarify?


    • Hi, it is not pittaghna. It is told as Raktapitta krut – increases Pitta and vitiates Rakta

  4. As mustard seeds are rich in selenium. Is there any form of extract explained in ayurveda texts where more of selenium is getting concentrated.

  5. I want to use an ayurvedic shampoo with oil.
    I have tried to use dry herbs as a powder but dont like it that much.

    Which oil should I use?
    I really dont like the smell of sesame oil.
    I’ve been told indian brides use, before their wedding, a paste of mustardoil, besan and turmeric. Can this be used as a shampoo? Or does this aggrevate the blood?

  6. And does mustardoil therefore worsen already present skin diseases?
    If it does, which oil would you recommend insted?

  7. Hi, I just found out that whenever I eat mustard in either sambar or anything else I get hiccups as an allergic reaction (though it is harmless)what could be the cause of this in terms of Ayurveda?

    • Slight increase in Pitta and Vata. Having a few drops of ghee with the sambar could solve the issue.

  8. Is it ok to use mustard oil regularly for cooking? In North india this is used regularly for cooking, while it is banned in America and Europe . Is this is good or bad for health ?


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