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Mustard

 Latin Name : Brassica juncea
 Family : Brassicaceae/ Cruciferae(cabbage family)
 Genus : Brassica
 Common names : mustard greens, leaf mustard, Indian mustard, brown mustard
 
Mustard

Indigenous to the Mediterranean and Southern Europe, mustard is an erect, multi-branched herbaceous plant, valued for their intense flavours and healing properties. The name mustard comes from the Latin 'mustum ardens' or 'burning must', so named because the seeds were pounded with unfermented grape juice or 'must', to develop their pungent/burning qualities. 

The mustard seed and the plant itself is grown for its beautiful yellow flowers and spicy seedling leaves. The species is widely cultivated in Europe, India and North America. The three most common types of mustard seed are the white or yellow, black and brown seeds. All over the world, mustard is used for its appetising flavour and preservative value and the seeds are used largely for tempering food. It is also used in medicines. Its basal leaves are eaten raw and used in salads or cooked like spinach. Leaves and stems are also added to soups and stews. Mustard is available in the form of seeds, powders, oil, and a myriad of prepared mustards. Mustard oil made from mustard seeds is used to pickle foods. 

This cool-season annual has a 1 to 3 feet tall branched stem which is round and hairless. The 4 to 8" long bluish green leaves are deeply lobed on petioles with margins that have coarse or rounded teeth that are directed outward. It bears a 3 feet stalk supporting four petaled bright yellow flowers that soon develop into sickle-shaped green seed pods. It is a long, narrow, several-seeded silique, 1 to 3 inches long, ascending or spreading, with a prominent nerve on each valve. The pods of brown mustard contains upto 20 seeds, those of white mustard 8 seeds. Mustard seeds are nearly globular in shape about 2.5mm in diameter, finely pitted, odourless when whole, and pungent-tasting.

As a medicinal plant, mustard has traditionally been considered as a digestive irritant and stimulant. It has been used as a folk remedy against arthritis, rheumatism, inflammation, and toothache. It stimulates the kidneys and is also given as a laxative and emetic. A gargle of mustard seed in hot water is helpful in the relief of sore throats and bronchitis. Bathing in a few spoonfuls of mustard powder is said to relieve muscular aches and pains. Mustard plasters were formerly used in medicine for their counterirritant properties in treating chest colds. Mustard greens are an excellent source of vitamin E, vitamin C, and beta-carotene. They also contain vitamin B6, folic acid, magnesium, calcium, iron, niacin, vitamin A, and are an excellent source of phytochemicals thought to prevent cancer.

Propagation, Planting and Harvesting :

Mustard seed

Mustard is very easy to cultivate and inexpensive to grow. They will grow in any type of soil preferably with a pH value between 4.2 to 8.3, which is fertile and well-drained. It likes a sunny spot, with some shade in summer. 

Propagation of mustard is through seeds. The seeds can be sown directly into the ground which is enriched with well rotted manure and compost. Sow evenly, covering with 1/4" of soil and keep moist and free of weeds. Germination will take place within ten days. 

Growing period is from 4060 days, depending on variety and weather conditions. For mustard greens, plants are cut off at ground level when they are young and tender. They are big enough to pick after 30 days. Remove individual outer leaves and the harvesting can be continued from the same plants throughout the season. Plants are harvested before fruits are fully ripe to reduce shattering. The entire plants are either pulled out by hand or cut a few cm above ground with sickles. Plants are tied into small sheaves and dried in the sun for 410 days. Extraction of oil from the seed is by rotary mill, expeller, and hydraulic processes. 

Problems and Care :

Disease rarely bothers this plant in the wild, although various insects often chomp holes in the foliage. Flea beetles, caterpillars, aphids, snails and slugs are the most frequent pests. Aphids (usually on the underside of the leaves), can be washed off under the cold water tap before cooking.


Questions of
 Questions & Answers
 1.  Posted on : 26.4.2012  By  :  Geetha , Coimbatore View Answer (0) Post Answer
 

Sir, I would like to grow cardamom in my home garden. Is it possible to grow in this place? Where can i get the seeds or sapling?

 
 2.  Posted on : 4.9.2010  By  :  Radhika , Pune, Pune View Answer (1) Post Answer
 

What are Burdock seeds called in India and where can i get them here in India?

 
A1: 

In marathi it is called ghagra. Burdock is a plant that is related to the daisy family. It is also closely related to Echinacea, Dandelion, and Feverfew. Burdock is an herb but it is one that has been much neglected when it comes to getting attention. Back in ancient times the Greeks used the roots, the seeds, and the greens and used them for healing purposes. Throughout the Middle Ages Burdock was used for both food and medicine. Today, Burdock is still used for such things as easing liver problems and digestive disorders. It was also found to be very effective for cleansing the skin for problems such as acne and also to assist in digestive problems. To this day throughout Europe the stalk and the greens are still eaten because they hold such valuable nutrition and vitamin values. As more and more research is being done on Burdock many new and interesting discoveries are cropping up. A relationship is being examined between Burdock and its anti fungal and anti bacterial properties, and even more important it is showing signs of possibly being able to fight against tumors and could be a cancer fighting agent as well. Research has shown that since many of the cancer causing compounds are in almost all foods which are then eaten and stored in the human fat tissues that Burdock might very well be of help in fighting cancer because of the role that it can play in depleting these mutagens. Burdock is also very helpful in strengthening the immune system when it has become weakened by environmental factors. When mixed with other herbs such as Dandelion and Ginger it can be a very powerful blood purifier. The most unique fact about Burdock is that it has a very high amount of inulin which is a natural occurring chemical within the body that mimics actions of insulin. Because of this, Burdock has been successful in helping combat hypoglycemia and pre diabetes conditions. If you look for Burdock in the market you may find it called gobo instead as that is what some refer to it as. It is often combined with other vegetables or added to Tofu. Some boil Burdock while others sautי or deep fry it. Many have said it might not be such a good idea to look at Burdock before you eat it because you might change your mind about taking a bite. It looks thick, dark, and woody but indeed the opposite is true when it comes to the taste. Burdock is well recognized as a health food because it has low calorie content and a high fiber intake. It is also loaded with potassium, iron, and calcium. People claim that Burdock tastes like nothing else. In other words it has a taste all of its own. The best description that people can agree on when it comes to the flavor of Burdock is that it is sweet yet earthy, with a tender and crisp texture. It is often added to stews, soups, and stir fries. In the form of food, Burdock is highly nutritional and full of vitamins but in retrospect Burdock is also an effective herb for bringing the body back into balance.

  Posted By :Yashashri Joshi , Thane | On 14.3.2012
 3.  Posted on : 28.3.2010  By  :  Linda , Michigan View Answer (1) Post Answer
 

Can a Clove tree be bonsai or grow as house plants like bay leaf or allspice?

 
A1: 

Yes, Clove is a nice tree to plant in a house, Also you can maintain as a bonsai.

  Posted By :Rynco Orchids , trivandrum | On 17.4.2010
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