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Swollen-Stem Mustard (Brassica juncea tumida)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Swollen-Stem Mustard
Brassica juncea tumida

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[206]. This is attributed to chemicals that are given off as the plants decay[206].

  • Medicinal Use

    Reported to be anodyne, aperitif, diuretic, emetic, rubefacient, and stimulant, the plant is a folk remedy for arthritis, foot ache, lumbago, and rheumatism[269].

    The seed is used in the treatment of tumours in China[269]. In Korea, the seeds are used in the treatment of abscesses, colds, lumbago, rheumatism, and stomach disorders[269].

    The root is used as a galactagogue in Africa[269].

    Ingestion may impart a body odour repellent to mosquitoes[269].

    Mustard oil is used in the treatment of skin eruptions and ulcers[269]. Believed to be aperient and tonic, the volatile oil is used as a counterirritant and stimulant[269].

    In Java the plant is used as an antisyphilitic emmenagogue[269].

    Leaves applied to the forehead are said to relieve headache[269].

    The Chinese eat the leaves in soups for bladder, inflammation or haemorrhage[269].

  • Edible Use

    Leaves and leaf stems – raw or cooked[22, 33, 46, 52, 61]. A peppery flavour that can range from mild to hot, this is one of the most highly prized cooked vegetables in the Orient[206]. The leaves can also be finely shredded and added to mixed salads[206]. The protein extracted from the leaves mixes well with banana pulp and is well adapted as a pie filling[183].

    Flowers and young flowering stems – raw or cooked[52]. Sweet and succulent[133].

    An edible semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed[1, 2, 17, 57, 183]. The seed contains 25 – 30% oil[74].

    The seed is used as a mustard flavouring[171]. It is the source of ‘brown mustard'[183], a prepared mustard that is milder than that produced from other species[238]. 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[238]. Black mustard comes from B. nigra and white mustard from Sinapis alba.

    The seed is also used whole in curries and pickles[238]. They are often heated in oil to destroy their pungency and give them a nutty flavour[238].

    Sprouted seeds can be added to salads.

    Plants produce swellings on the stem, these can be cooked or pickled[206].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow in situ from August to October. Spring and early summer-sown crops tend to run quickly to seed, though they can be eaten whilst still small[206]. It is best not to sow the seed in very hot weather[206]. There are about 5,660 – 6,000 per 0.01 kg (1/3 oz)[269].
Succeeds in full sun in most well-drained moisture-retentive fertile soils[16, 200, 206]. Prefers a heavy soil and some shade[16]. Dislikes very hot weather[33]. Plants tolerate high rainfall and, although fairly deep rooted, are not very drought resistant[206]. A form of B. juncea that has been selected in the Orient for its edible swollen stem, there are many named varieties[206]. Plants are reasonably cold-tolerant[206]. They prefer a fairly high stable temperature and are well adapted to short day length[200]. Many are best grown in warmer climates than Britain but there are several cultivars that grow well in this country[206]. Plants have a rooting depth of between 90 – 120 cm[269]. A good bee plant[74].
A cultivar of garden origin.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.