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Black Mustard

Latin name: Brassica nigra
Other names: Brown Mustard, Red Mustard

A Remedy For
Applied externally, Black Mustard is used in the treatment of bronchial pneumonia and pleurisy. Homeopathic practitioners use it for runny nose, hay fever, and sore throat. Its effectiveness for these problems has not, however, been scientifically verified.

What It Is; Why It Works
Black Mustard's medicinal effects stem from a potent oil released when the powdered seeds are mixed with warm water. Dubbed allylisothiocyanate, this oil is strong enough to raise blisters where it touches the skin!
   Mustard has been in use for well over 2,000 years. The ancient Greeks attributed its discovery to Aesculapius, the father of medicine--an indication of the high esteem in which it was held. The Romans ate mustard pounded and steeped in new wine. Later, the Saxons are believed to have used it as a condiment. Over the centuries, it has been recommended as a cure for epilepsy, a treatment for snake bites, and a tonic to "warm and quicken the spirits."

Avoid If...
Do not use Black Mustard if you have ulcers, vein problems, or kidney disease. Also, do not administer to children under the age of 6.

Special Cautions
Because mustard oil irritates mucous membranes, internal use can cause stomach problems and kidney irritation. Breathing the vapors of a mustard plaster can trigger sneezing, coughing, and asthma attacks, as well as eye irritation. Extended contact with the skin can lead to blisters, ulcers, and dead tissue. Remove mustard plasters after no more than 30 minutes.

Possible Drug Interactions
No interactions have been reported.

Special Information If You Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding
No harmful effects are known.

How To Prepare
To prepare a mustard plaster, combine 100 grams (about one-half cup) of powdered Black Mustard with lukewarm (but not hot) water and pack in a linen cloth.

Typical Dosage
For adults, leave mustard plasters on the chest for about 10 minutes; for children, limit the treatment to 3 to 5 minutes.

A moderate overdose can lead to vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea. Larger overdoses cause sleepiness, heart problems, breathing difficulties, and possibly even coma and death. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.