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Mustard Seed, Brown

  • Brassica nigra
  • Origin: India
Mustard Seed, Brown


Common Name

Standardized: black mustard
Other: brown mustard

Botanical Name

Brassica nigra (L.) W.D.J. Koch
Plant Family: Brassicaceae


Brassica integrifolia and Brassica juncea have similar taste and medicinal properties and are also sold as brown mustard.


Strictly speaking, the Brassica nigra often sold as brown mustard is a "black" mustard. The reason it is called "brown" is that the other species of black mustard are difficult to harvest and are seldom available in commerce.

Brown mustard is a flowering plant in the same family as arugula, horseradish, watercress, and wasabi. It shares with them a hot and pungent group of chemicals known as isothiocyanates.

The isothiocyanates act as defense system against grazing animals by releasing burning chemicals when the plant is chewed. They destroy animal tissues. They would also destroy the tissues of the plant except that they are stored in a form that is only activated when the plant is disturbed


Like all seeds, brown mustard seed contains large amounts of oil. The term "mustard oil" can refer to the expressed oil, used in cooking, or to an extract of the flavoring principles, the isothiocyanates. Brown mustard seed contains about 1% sinigrin (allylglucosinolate), which is converted to the hot and pungent allyl isothiocyanate by the action of the enzyme myrosinase.

Parts Used

The whole or ground seed.

Typical Preparations

This is the herb most frequently used in mustard plasters. The herb is also used whole in cooking or ground in other medicinal and culinary preparations.


Ground brown mustard seed added to food inhibits spoilage by slowing the growth of E. coli, including the more dangerous O:157 strain of the bacterium. Brown mustard seed sprouts have their greatest antioxidant content on the fifth day after germination.


Specific: No known precautions.
General: We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.