The healing power of white mustard

White mustard is a plant that is native to Europe and Asia. It has yellow flowers. You often see it in the fields in the spring. This is not uncommon because farmers use this plant as green manure. The plant does not grow to maturity but is ground down into the ground. Farmers do this to prevent minerals from being washed away from the earth by rainfall during a fallow period. White mustard has light yellow seeds, unlike black mustard, which is dark colored. The designation white has nothing to do with the flowers. White mustard is a seed that is used in phytotherapy for medicinal reasons. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.

Botanical drawing white mustard / Source: Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen, Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)


  • Naming
  • Active substances
  • Mustard improves blood circulation
  • White mustard for digestive disorders
  • White mustard for throat and lungs
  • Dose and safety
  • When not to use mustard?
  • Visit a doctor or herbal therapist


In Latin, white mustard is called Sinapis alba . In Dutch it is also called white mustard or yellow mustard. Yellow mustard is the most logical name, because the color of this mustard is yellow, unlike black mustard which has a more brown color. Mustard comes from the Latin word mustum. That means ‘made with must’. In the past, mustard seeds were mixed with must, an unfermented grape mass.

The leaves of white mustard can be eaten as alternative salad leaves for an original salad.

Active substances

The seed of white mustard is used for phytotherapeutic purposes as well as the oil that is pressed from this seed. The seed contains the following important active substances: the mustard glycosides sinalbin A and B. These thioglycosides (or mustard glycosides) are converted by the enzyme myrosinase into two substances when the seeds are ground; paraoxybenzyl isothiocyanate, also called mustard oil and orange sulphate. Furthermore, white mustard seed contains mucilages, essential oil and fatty oil containing brassic acid, stearic acid and oleic acid.

Mustard improves blood circulation

White mustard locally promotes blood circulation. It is a rubefaciens. This means that it is applied to the skin as an external product. Locally the skin becomes redder; that is a sign of improvement in blood circulation. For the feet you could try taking a mustard foot bath. You can also apply a mustard compress. In phytotherapy, white mustard is used externally for the following indications:

  • Myalgia or muscle pain,
  • Anthralgia or joint pain,
  • Flowering white mustard plant / Source: Rasbak, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

Fibromyalgia or rheumatism of the soft tissues,

  • Sciatica,
  • Neuralgia or nerve pain,
  • Paralysis or paralysis,
  • Lumbago or lower back pain,
  • Bronchitis or respiratory tract inflammation,
  • Raynaud’s syndrome or circulatory disorder in the fingers,
  • Cold feet.

If you are going on a long skating trip, you can rub your feet with mustard to prevent cold feet!

White mustard for digestive disorders

Diluted mustard oil is used internally to generate an appetite-stimulating effect. It strengthens the stomach and stimulates digestion. In addition, white mustard seed oil has a disinfectant effect. For these applications, mustard oil is used both internally and externally to the stomach. In phytotherapy it is used for the following conditions:

  • Indigestion,
  • Constipation.

White mustard for throat and lungs

White mustard has diaphoretic properties. It is also a stimulating herb. The seed is used to make a tea or infusion for internal use. For some conditions such as bronchitis you can use a wrap. You then wet a cotton cloth with a mustard decoction and wrap it around the chest and back. In 2007, a scientific study confirmed that white mustard seed is a good basis for treatment of bronchitis. White mustard infusion is recommended internally by herbalists for the following indications:

  • Fever,
  • Infections,
  • Laryngeal inflammation,
  • Hoarseness,
  • Influenza or flu,
  • Bronchitis.

Dose and safety

There are a number of ways to use this medicinal plant. The most medicinally used form of white mustard seed is a wrap. Use 4 tablespoons of pulverized mustard seeds with water that is 45 degrees Celsius. Never use a cover for longer than 10 minutes! In addition, you should never use a cover daily for more than two weeks. Furthermore, it is important not to use too strong concentrations of mustard seed. Never use more than 100 grams of mustard seeds for one treatment. When you have arthritis, you should severely limit or omit covers. Inhaling mustard fumes for long periods of time can cause irritation. The side effects of excessive use of mustard seeds are:

  • Extreme redness,
  • Sore skin,
  • Irritation,
  • Blisters,
  • Ulcerations or ulcerations.

When not to use mustard?

When mustard oil is used internally, it must be used in very large doses. Use it highly diluted, otherwise the stomach mucous membranes and kidneys may become irritated. If you suffer from one of the following inflammations, you should avoid using mustard:

  • Kidney disease,
  • Kidney inflammation,
  • Inflammation of the stomach and intestinal mucosa,
  • Stomach and duodenal ulcers.

Children under the age of six should never take white mustard internally; a medicinal use of mustard is not suitable for small children.

Visit a doctor or herbal therapist

Much of the information about the medicinal plant mentioned in this article comes from the book Groot Handboek Medicinal Plants by Geert Verhelst. That is a handbook in phytotherapy. However, it is not suitable for self-healing. Anyone who suffers from something should consult a doctor or herbal therapist for a good diagnosis and choice of the best remedies, tailored to your personal situation. The knowledge and science mentioned here is of a purely informative nature.