Mustard History, Plant Information, and Nutritional Value


Muhammad Ahmad

Student at University of Agriculture, Faisalabad

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Mustard History

Mustard seeds have been used as a spice since antiquity, with mentions in Indian and Sumerian writings reaching 3000 BCE. The discovery of mustard seeds in Tutankhamun’s tomb provides archaeological proof that the ancient Egyptians also used mustard to flavor their meals.

The ancient Greeks and Romans used mustard seeds and made a condiment by mixing crushed mustard seeds with unfermented grape juice, which was similar to the mustard we know today. The Romans are credited with spreading the use of mustard throughout their empire.

The Greeks used mustard as a condiment and medicine, with prescribing it for scorpion stings and Hippocrates for poultices. The potency of mustard seeds was first mentioned in an exchange between King Darius of Persia and Alexander the Great.

By the ninth century, mustard sales brought in a sizable sum of money for French monks. By the 13th century, mustard was one of the everyday sauces offered for sale by Parisian merchants.

In the 20th century, mustard became an essential spice in international commerce, primarily farmed in temperate locations such as the Canadian and United States Great Plains, Hungary, and Britain.

Plant Information

The yellow mustard plant or white mustard, also known as Brassica hirta or

Sinapis alba, is a flowering plant in the Brassicaceae family. It is mainly grown for its seeds, which are used to make yellow mustard, a popular condiment. Mustard plants are herbaceous plants with narrow leaves and yellow blooms. The plant’s leaves are toothed, lobed, and occasionally have bigger terminal lobes. Plants can reach a length of 16 cm (6.3 in). Individual yellow flowers have a diameter of 8 mm or 0.3 inch and make an appearance in spike-like clusters of 2-12 blossoms. Each blossom produces seeds that range in colour from white to yellow. As an annual plant, it only has one growing season.

Mustard is a cool-season crop that grows in a short season. Sufficient water and cold temperatures (less than 85°F or 29°C) promote a lengthy stay. The blooming period. After emergence, seedlings are resistant to mild frosts (26 to 33°F or -3 to 0.5°C), but strong frosts (below 26°F or -3°C) can damage the crop.

It’s important to remember that other mustard plant kinds, such as brown mustard (Brassica juncea) and black mustard (Brassica nigra), have different flavors and uses than yellow mustard

Here are the different phases of the yellow mustard plant:

 1) Seed Germination

A mustard plant’s life cycle begins with the germination of its seeds. When given adequate moisture, temperature, and sunlight, the seeds absorb water and begin to sprout. A little root grows from the seed, anchoring it in the soil, and an above-ground stalk emerges.

2) Vegetative Growth: The mustard plant establishes vegetative parts during this phase. It generates leaves, stems, and roots, which allow the plant to grow larger and stronger. The leaves are strongly lobed and get larger as the plant grows. Plants use photosynthesis to collect energy from the sun and turn it into nutrients.

3) Bolting: is the process through which the mustard plant switches its energy from vegetative to reproductive growth. The stem grows quickly, pushing the plant higher. The plant is preparing to generate flowers and seeds at this time. Bolting is frequently driven by environmental variables such as increased day length or temperature fluctuations.

4) Flowering, the yellow mustard plant produces clusters of small, bright yellow flowers. Male and female reproductive structures can be found in these flowers. Insects and wind help pollinate the blooms by transferring pollen from the male parts (stamen) to the female parts (pistil). This step is critical for seed production.[i]

5) Seed Formation: After pollination, the fertilized flowers mature into seed pods. Several tiny, spherical yellow mustard seeds are found in the pods. The pods dry out and turn brown as the seeds mature. The seeds are now ready for harvesting.

Nutritional value of mustard

 Nutrition of mustard seeds is given below per 100gr of Mustard (Sinapis alba)

 Calories:  508 kcal

  • Protein: 1 grams
  • Fat: 2 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 5 grams
  • Dietary Fiber: 2 grams
  • Sugars: 6 grams
  • Protein 94 gm
  • Calcium 521 mg
  • Iron 98 mg
  • Potassium   682 mg

Health Benefits of Mustard

  • Mustard seeds are rich in several minerals such as copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, sodium, zinc, manganese, and selenium.
  • They are also a good source of several vitamins, including vitamins C and K, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and folic acid. They have a high percentage of dietary fiber and are a valuable source of several bioactive compounds such as antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
  • Mustard seeds contain compounds like glucosinolates, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation is linked to various diseases, so foods with anti-inflammatory effects may have health benefits.
  • Antioxidants play a role in reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
  • Mustard seeds have been associated with potential cardiovascular benefits. Research suggests that the omega-3 fatty acids in mustard seeds may help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels and improving heart health.

Uses of White Mustard:

For human consumption:

White mustard seeds are commonly used in cooking and food preparation. They are a key component in mustard condiment, mustard sauces, oil and pickles. The seeds can be processed to form a mustard powder, which lends a sour and pungent flavour to sandwiches, salads, marinades, and sauces.

Agricultural Applications: White mustard plants can also be used in agriculture. They are frequently used as a cover crop, which means they are sown to protect and improve the soil between primary crop seasons. When white mustard decomposes, it adds organic matter to the soil, which helps to reduce weeds, control pests and diseases, and improve soil fertility.

 Cover Crops and Soil Health: Mustard plants, such as white mustard (Sinapis alba) and brown mustard (Brassica juncea), are commonly used as cover crops in agricultural. These cover crops are grown between cash crops to improve soil health. Mustard plants have biofumigant properties, meaning they release compounds that can suppress soil-borne pests, pathogens, and weeds. They help reduce the need for chemical pesticides and herbicides, making them a sustainable and eco-friendly choice for pest and disease management.

 Green Manure: White mustard is often sown as a cover crop and then ploughed under before it matures. This is referred to as green manure. Ploughing the mustard plants back into the soil can improve soil quality and promote crop growth in subsequent plantings by enriching it with nitrogen, phosphate, and other nutrients.

Bee Forage: White mustard blooms are appealing to bees and other pollinators. Planting white mustard can supply nectar and pollen, which can benefit the health and number of pollinators in a region.

Livestock Feed: Mustard plants can be grown as forage for livestock. The leaves and stems are often used as fodder, particularly in regions where mustard is grown as a cover crop.

Further reading

Mustard History, Plant Information, and Nutritional Value

Mustard Soil preparation, Soil requirements, and Seeding requirements.

Principals for selecting best variety for White mustard.

Fertilizer requirements of white mustard

Irrigation requirements and methods for white mustard

Yield, Harvest, and Storage of Mustard

Pests, Diseases and Weed Management of Mustard



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