Flowers and young flowering stems - raw or cooked. Sweet and succulent. An edible semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed. The seed contains 25 - 30% oil. The seed is used as a mustard flavouring. It is the source of 'brown mustard', a prepared mustard that is milder than that produced from other species. Pungency of mustard develops when cold water is added to the ground-up seed - an enzyme (myrosin) acts on a glycoside (sinigrin) to produce a sulphur compound. The reaction takes 10 - 15 minutes. Mixing with hot water or vinegar, or adding salt, inhibits the enzyme and produces a mild bitter mustard. Black mustard comes from B. nigra and white mustard from Sinapis alba. The seed is also used whole in curries and pickles. They are often heated in oil to destroy their pungency and give them a nutty flavour. Sprouted seeds can be added to salads.Plants produce swellings on the stem, these can be cooked or pickled.
The seed is used in the treatment of tumours in China. In Korea, the seeds are used in the treatment of abscesses, colds, lumbago, rheumatism, and stomach disorders. The root is used as a galactagogue in Africa. Ingestion may impart a body odour repellent to mosquitoes. Mustard oil is used in the treatment of skin eruptions and ulcers. Believed to be aperient and tonic, the volatile oil is used as a counterirritant and stimulant. In Java the plant is used as an antisyphilitic emmenagogue. Leaves applied to the forehead are said to relieve headache.The Chinese eat the leaves in soups for bladder, inflammation or haemorrhage.
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A form of B. juncea that has been selected in the Orient for its edible swollen stem, there are many named varieties. Plants are reasonably cold-tolerant. They prefer a fairly high stable temperature and are well adapted to short day length. Many are best grown in warmer climates than Britain but there are several cultivars that grow well in this country. Plants have a rooting depth of between 90 - 120 cm.A good bee plant.
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