Brassica juncea napiformis
This species has been cultivated as a food crop for many hundreds of years and, in that time, several quite distinct forms have arisen. The nomenclature of these forms is confused, to say the least, and by no means universally accepted. We have followed the treatment used by GRIN, though it is very likely to be revised in the future[
Common Name: Root Mustard
Root mustard is an annual plant growing about 75cm tall.
A form of Brassica juncea that has been selected in the Orient for its edible root[
]. The plant is often cultivated, especially in the Orient, for its edible root and leaves.
An oil obtained from the seeds can have a high content of erucic acid. There have been some health concerns over the consumption of high levels of erucic acid n humans, though this is still controversial. At present (2012), several countries only allow cultivars with low erucic acid levels to be used for food.
A cultivar of garden origin.
Not known in the wild.
|Other Uses Rating||
Originating from the central Asian Himalayas to China, the plant has long been cultivated and many forms have been developed that can be grown from the temperate to the tropical zones. This form is fairly hardy, surviving temperatures down to at least -4°c[
Succeeds in full sun in most well-drained moisture-retentive fertile soils[
]. Prefers a heavy soil and some shade[
]. Dislikes very hot weather[
]. Plants tolerate high rainfall and, although fairly deep rooted, are not very drought resistant[
Plants have a rooting depth of between 90 - 120 cm[
A good bee plant[
Leaves - raw or cooked[
]. A peppery flavour that can range from mild to hot, they make a good cooked vegetable[
]. The leaves can also be finely shredded and added to mixed salads[
]. The protein extracted from the leaves mixes well with banana pulp and is well adapted as a pie filling[
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.
Root - raw or cooked[
]. Usually sliced and made into pickles[
The plant is reported to be anodyne, aperitif, diuretic, emetic, rubefacient, and stimulant. It is a folk remedy for treating arthritis, foot ache, lumbago, and rheumatism[
]. In Java it is used as an antisyphilitic emmenagogue[
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[
Mustard oil, obtained from the seed, is used topically in the treatment of skin eruptions and ulcers[
Believed to be aperient and tonic, the volatile oil is used as a counterirritant and stimulant[
The Chinese eat the leaves in soups as a remedy for bladder inflammation or haemorrhage[
Leaves applied to the forehead are said to relieve headache[
There is some evidence that if this plant is grown as a green manure it is effective in reducing soil-borne root rots in pea crops[
]. This is attributed to chemicals that are given off as the plants decay[
Ingestion of the plant may impart a body odour that is repellent to mosquitoes[
Seed - sow in situ