Medicinal plants

Field mustard - cultivation, use and medicinal effects

Field mustard - cultivation, use and medicinal effects

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Use of field mustard in naturopathy
Maca root, chia seeds or goji berries - globalization is always bringing new "superfood" into fashion. The more “exotic” the plants are, the more interesting they appear. Herbs are omnipresent, which promote health and grow along the way. One of those overlooked is the Field mustard.

We usually only know mustard in a glass from the supermarket. On the other hand, we hardly ever prepare mustard vegetables in this country, although it was only natural a few generations ago. Wild mustard was used by people in the Neolithic period, later it was widespread in Rome and Greece. It was seen as a means to “sharpen” sexual desire, while Pythagoras believed it strengthened the mind. In the Middle Ages, women carried mustard seeds and believed that this would make them fall for men.


Field mustard is a pointer plant for nitrogen-rich soil. Field mustard is annual, grows to 60 cm tall, its stem bears hair, the lower leaves are petiolate. The flowers are hermaphrodite and have four horizontal sepals; the petals shine characteristic "poison yellow" and can be confused with rapeseed.

There are up to 13 seeds in two compartments in the bare pod, and the mustard blooms from May to October. Beetles and flies pollinate the mustard. The seeds are wrapped in a seed coat and this swells up when it is wet. It sticks and this causes the mustard to spread.


Wild mustard can be confused with rapeseed and hederich, but the hederich's petals show purple veins and the flowers are white in color. For its part, rapeseed has no hair.


Ackersenf presumably comes from the Mediterranean area, at least early farmers brought it from there to Central and Northern Europe. Of course, it is common in Europe, North Africa and Asia, but today it occurs worldwide in the temperate zones.

Wild mustard grows everywhere on wasteland, on the edge of the path as on railway embankments, on rubble sites as on vacant lots. It prefers clayey soils with many nutrients. If these are given, the plant can spread quickly. Field mustard prefers moderate heat and half light.

Natural protection

The typical mustard taste comes from the hot mustard oil. This stops herbivorous insects as well as fungi and other pathogens. Few species have specialized in mustard for this very reason: The caterpillars of the cabbage white butterfly prefer to eat mustard plants because they protect them from predators.

Use in the kitchen

The leaves of the field mustard serve as a small spice, the flower buds can be roasted, boiled or baked. We have to cook the plant itself for a long time to soften it, then it will make good vegetables.

Mustard leaf and seeds can be boiled and boiled down perfectly with kale and give it a better aroma than simply serving ready-made mustard from the glass. Mustard vegetables are also a great accompaniment to fish dishes and fatty meats.

We can also chop the raw leaves and stir them into curd cheese or mix them with butter and salt and use them as a dip or spread.

Medicinal plant

Field mustard warms and prevents bacteria. It promotes blood circulation and stimulates digestion. Folk medicine used it for rheumatic pain, sore throat, bronchitis, indigestion and joint pain. It contains mucilage, fatty oil and mustard oil glycosides, a lot of vitamin C and minerals. The consumption of leaves and parts of plants also stimulates the metabolism.

We can use field mustard both externally and internally. On the outside we crush the seeds into a porridge. We put this on an envelope and place it on the sore skin. The mustard now warms the skin, boosts the blood circulation and thus accelerates wound healing. We should, however, rub the affected skin area with a fat cream beforehand because the hot oil irritates the skin.

Caution: We should never put mustard wraps on open wounds, but only on painful areas where heat reduces the symptoms.

Outer envelopes also relieve the symptoms of a sore throat, bronchitis, and rheumatic complaints.

Internally, we can make tea from the seedlings and / or seeds and drink it if we suffer from constipation or indigestion.

Mustard flour foot baths are a tried-and-tested means of deriving inflammatory processes from the upper respiratory tract (sinusitis, angina, colds) downwards. Put two handfuls of ground mustard seeds, preferably black mustard seeds, in a ten liter bucket of hot water and put your feet up to your lower leg. If the legs turn red and feel very warm or feel uncomfortable, you can end the bath.

Prepare mustard

We can simply make kitchen mustard from field mustard. For this we need mustard seeds and vinegar as the raw material. For example, honey, cloves, cinnamon, juniper berries, crushed lavender flowers, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, dill, parsley, chives, garlic, sage or mild peppers, but also bay leaves, black pepper or nutmeg are suitable for the taste. A little salt and a few spoons of oil are always included.

A handful of seeds is crushed into powder, boiling water is poured over it and mixed into a pulp. The porridge should rest for a day, then we stir in the remaining ingredients and let everything steep in the fridge for three hours.

Mustard in the garden

Field mustard is excellent for keeping predators like nematodes away from garden vegetables. With its sulfur content, it kills bacteria and fungi in the soil. In mixed crops, field mustard is a good filter for disinfecting the soil. You can use it as a protective shield to protect plants that are often attacked by predators. These include, for example, zucchini. We use the seeds from June to August, the leaves from April.

Loosen the soil

Field mustard is ideal for loosening up heavy soils. So if you have a lot of heavy earth, it is a good alternative to plowing the soil. Let the mustard grow for a summer and see how the earth changes.

Field mustard is also excellent as a green manure.

Caterpillar paradise

Would you like to do something good for native butterflies in the natural garden? Then field mustard is one of the plants that also provide food for caterpillars - in contrast to the popular "butterfly bush", the summer lilac. The caterpillars that love the field mustard include, in addition to the whitelings, Aurora and Reseda moths.

In a wild corner for caterpillars you can combine field mustard for the whitelings with umbelliferous flowers for the swallowtail, nettles for peacock butterfly, painted lady, little fox, admiral and country cards as well as clover for bluebells,

Where to plant

Field mustard needs a lot of sun, lime and clay. So put it in a place with direct sunlight, ideal is the south side of a hill. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dr. phil. Utz Anhalt, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


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