Mustard (Black)

Other names: Lucerne?

Scientific name: Brassica nigra

Common names:

Ayurvedic names: Siddharthaka, Rajika

Chinese name: Kalo sorse, Rai sorse, Sorsa

Bangladesh names: Jie cai, Hei jie zi

Arabic names:  الخردل (al khardal)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Cruciferae

Approximate number of species known:

Common parts used: Seed


Annual/Perennial: Annual

Height: 2- 7 feet tall

Actions: Carminative, emetic, irritant, rubefacient, tonic

Known Constituents:  Mucilage, sinigrin

Constituents Explained:


The plant is believed to be native to the southern Mediterranean region of Europe, and has been cultivated for thousands of years. The spice is generally made from ground seeds of the plant, with the seed coats removed. The small (1 mm) seeds are hard and vary in color from dark brown to black. They are flavorful, although they have almost no aroma. The seeds are commonly used in Indian cuisine, for example in curry, where it is known as rai. The seeds are usually thrown into hot oil or ghee, after which they pop, releasing a characteristic nutty flavor. The seeds have a significant amount of fatty oil. This oil is used often as cooking oil in India. In Ethiopia, where it is cultivated as a vegetable in Gondar, Harar and Shewa, the shoots and leaves are consumed cooked and the seeds used as a spice. Its Amharic name is senafitch.[1] Ground seeds of the plant mixed with honey are widely used in eastern Europe as cough suppressant. In Eastern Canada, the use of mouche de moutarde to treat respiratory infections was popular before the advent of modern medicine. It consisted in mixing ground mustard seeds with flour and water, and creating a cataplasm with the paste. This cataplasm was put on the chest or the back and left until the person felt a stinging sensation. The plant itself can grow from two to eight feet tall, with racemes of small yellow flowers. These flowers are usually up to 1/3″ across, with four petals each. The leaves are covered in small hairs; they can wilt on hot days, but recover at night.

Traditional Use:

A well known spice that is used to make a sauce that is sold in many supermarkets around the world.  Many hot dog lovers meals wouldn’t be complete without the addition of mustard.

It has been used externally on the skin, it draws circulation to that part of the skin while acting as a slight irritant.  The heat in the seed sees it used in much the same way that cayenne and ginger are. A paste can be made by mixing the seeds with water.

Clinical Studies:

AnalgesicsAnalgesics: Based on traditional use, black cohosh may have additive effects with analgesics (105). 

AnestheticsAnesthetics: Based on traditional use, black cohosh may have additive effects with anesthetics (105). 

Anticoagulants and antiplatelets Anticoagulants and antiplatelets: Native black cohosh contains small amounts of salicylic acid, and may potentiate the anti-platelet effects of other agents. This is a theoretical concern, as it is not clear if therapeutic amounts of salicylates are present in commercial or processed black cohosh products. 

Antidepressant agents, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)Antidepressant agents, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): Studies suggest that the mechanism of action of black cohosh may be centrally mediated, with possible action at the level of serotonin or dopamine receptors (4; 6). A study in ovariectomized rats demonstrated strong binding to serotonin receptors 5-HT(1A), 5-HT(1D), and 5-HT(7) subtypes (4). 

Antihistamines Antihistamines: Based on in vitro study, black cohosh extract may inhibit histamine release (15). 

Antihypertensives Antihypertensives: Due to theoretical hypotensive effects, black cohosh should be used cautiously with other hypotensive agents (80; 27). There have been reports of hypotension in animals, although human data are limited in this area; increased peripheral blood flow was associated with black cohosh administration in a 1962 study (80). 

Anti inflammatory agentsAnti inflammatory agents: Based on animal study, a phytoestrogen compound containing genistein, daidzein, glycitein, black cohosh, Angelica, licorice, and Vitex agnus-castus may lower levels of proinflammatory cytokines and increase levels of TGF-beta (106). 

Antilipemic agentsAntilipemic agents: Based on randomized clinical studies, a combination of black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) and St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) may significantly increase HDL levels (67), although other studies have not found the same results (62). 

Antineoplastic agentsAntineoplastic agents: Based on cell line study, relatively low concentrations of actein or the methanol/water fraction of black cohosh may cause synergistic inhibition of human breast cancer cell proliferation when combined with different classes of chemotherapy agents (22).