The wild mustard plant is native to Eurasia, people have been cultivating this plant for about five thousand years, but with its proclivity to grow almost anywhere untended, there’s almost no reason to cultivate the plant. The wild mustard plants grow almost everywhere on earth including the Greenland and also the North Pole. It has commonly been used to flavor foods, but more importantly the plant has been known for its herbal uses. The wild mustard plant is truly a fascinating plant with a myriad of uses. Continue reading to find out how to use the wild mustard as an herb in the landscape.
Wild Mustard Plant Evolution
Actually Mustard, Sinapis arvensis, is in the same family as turnips, broccoli, cabbage, and others. All wild mustards are actually edible, though some are tastier than others. Greens are the most succulent when they are young and tender. The older leaves can be a bit too strong for some palates. The seeds and the flowers are also edible. The flowers actually bloom from spring through summer. The little yellow blossoms really have a unique shape, like that of a Maltese cross, a nod to their family name of Cruciferae, or cross like.
Furthermore, wild mustard which also known as charlock, grows rapidly, the plant is frost and drought tolerant and they can be found growing wild in fields and along roads in almost any type of soil. As mentioned earlier, the wild mustard plants grow prolifically, a fact that has irritated many a cattle rancher. Most cattle growers believes that wild mustard is more of a plague since there is a general consensus that when cows eat the plant they get very sick.
Wild Mustard Uses
A lot of people use wild mustard as an herb to spice up oils and vinegars, also to add flavor to ho-hum eggs or potatoes, and to enliven many other culinary creations. Of course, we can’t forget mustard’s use as a condiment, to me it’s THE condiment. Grind the seeds and then mix with vinegar and salt and voila! The wild mustard greens are also delicious and can be cooked down to a nutritious mess of greens. The flowers from mustard can also be tossed into salads for some peppery pizzazz, or can be used dry in place of pricey saffron. The seeds from mustard can also be dried and then ground into powder to be use as a peppery spice. Used whole, the seeds give a kick to pickles and relishes. The seeds can also be pressed to separate their oils, which burn quite well and can be used in oil lamps or for cooking. Historically, though, wild mustard herbal use was geared more towards its medicinal properties. Ever heard of a mustard plaster? A mustard plaster was (and still is I suppose) crushed or ground mustard seed mixed with a bit of water to make a paste. The paste was then spread on a cloth and placed herb side up on a person’s chest, sore joints or other areas of swelling and pain. Mustard opens up blood vessels and allows the blood system to draw out toxins and increase blood flow, reducing swelling and pain. Wild mustard can also help to reduce headache pain if it is taken as a tea or encapsulated. Sinuses can be cleared by inhaling mustard vapor over a bowl filled with hot water combined with a small amount of ground mustard. The user drapes a towel over their head and inhales the spicy vapor. However, there are some risks associated with using mustard medicinally. Some people are quite sensitive to it, and it can cause eye irritation, stomach problems, skin rashes, etc.