5 Top Mustard Seeds Benefits & Uses

mustard seeds benefits

Mustard seeds occupies a very important place in our spice box as we use it in almost all Indian dishes. Apart from culinary uses, it also has wonderful antimicrobial, antioxidant and anticancer properties. Here in our place, we use it for treating respiratory problems in the form of mustard foot bath too.

What Is Mustard Seed?

They are small round seeds of different mustard plants. Mustards are one of the earliest cultivated plants and it’s usage dates back over 5,000 years! The seeds vary in size from 1 to 2 mm and they also come in different colours, from yellow to black colour. In India, we mainly use the black mustard seeds.

India is the top producer of mustard followed by Pakistan, Canada and Nepal. The leaves, stems and the seeds of mustard plants are edible and are widely used in cooking. Mustard oil produced from the seeds are used extensively in cooking in Northern India.

mustard seed usesTypes Of Mustard Seeds:

There are many varieties of mustard but there are three varieties that are most commonly used. Black mustard also called Brassica nigra produces black and dark brown seeds that are mainly used for seasoning. The next common variety is Indian mustard or Asian mustard whose botanical name is Brassica juncea, it is also widely used in India for seasoning. The next popular variety is yellow mustard whose botanical name is Brassica hirta. Yellow mustard is the variety that is used for preparing mustard sauce.

Mustard Seeds Nutrition:

100 grams of mustard seeds contains around 508 calories, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 36 grams of fat, 26 grams of protein. They are rich in thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin E and minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, iron, calcium and zinc.

Mustard Common Names

Mustard is the English name and it is called Sarso or Rai in Hindi, Kadugu in Tamil and Malayalam, Rai in Gujarati and Punjabi, Avalu in Telugu and Sasive in Kannada.

Important Bioactive Compounds

Mustard contains glycosinolates especially sinigrin and sinalbin in large amounts. They have anticancer, anti inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant and wound healing properties.

black mustard seeds benefitsMustard Common Uses:

1. Edible oil

In India, the oil extracted from the seeds are used extensively in cooking. Mustard oil is mainly used in Northern India and not here in Southern India, here we mainly use only coconut oil or sesame oil.

2. As a Condiment

Many varieties of mustard are used as a condiment to flavour food. Here in southern India, we use mustard seeds to season all gravies and food. Mustard is also ground and used in curries and pickles to preserve and also to add flavor.

3. Food Processing

Mustard is extensively used in food industry as a flavouring agent and stabilizer. It is also used to thicken sauces and dressings and also for adding natural colour. Mustard has antimicrobial properties and prevents bacterial growth in food which is the reason we use it in pickles and antioxidants present in mustard also prevents the rate of food oxidation.

health benefits of mustard seedMustard Seeds Benefits & Medicinal Uses:

1. Antimicrobial Properties

Like I mentioned before, mustard has powerful antimicrobial properties which is one of the reasons it is widely used in food industry. It has been proven to be effective against many strains of bacteria and fungi including Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas fragi, B. subtilis and S. aureus.

2. Anticancer Properties

Mustard seeds have powerful anti-cancer properties. Allyl isothiocyanate which is one of the most important compounds present in mustard is effective against many cancer cell lines including bladder, lung and colon.

3. Powerful Antioxidant

Mustard seeds have powerful antioxidant properties, this is due to the presence of high amount of polyphenols like gallic acid, caffeic acid, quercetin and kaempferol. Mustard seeds protect lipids, proteins and DNA against oxidative stress due to it’s high free radical scavenging activity.

4. Treats Respiratory Problems

Mustard foot baths are used extensively to treat respiratory problems here in India. In a study done on 103 people who were suffering from respiratory problems, mustard foot bath when done for a period of six consecutive days had a positive effect on the person’s well being due to its thermographic effect and it also had a relaxing effect thus reducing stress.

5. Treats Skin Problems

Mustard seeds when consumed internally has been shown to have anti allergy and anti inflammatory properties in animal studies. In a study done on rats with psoriasis, rats who were given 5% mustard seeds included in their food for 6 days consecutively experienced marked reduction in inflammation. Including mustard seeds in the diet also had a marked improvement in rats who suffered from allergic contact dermatitis.

rai usesMustard Seeds Side Effects:

Eating mustard seeds in small quantities like the way we have been doing for centuries will not cause any problems at all. But in large quantities, it can cause diarrhoea and stomach pain. Mustard when applied on skin directly like in the form of mustard plaster can cause skin burns.

A women experienced second degree burn wounds to her neck and chest after applying mustard plaster to treat chest congestion so I would highly suggest doing mustard foot bath instead of applying mustard plasters to treat chest congestion.

How To Make Mustard Foot Bath:

1. Grind around 2 tbsps of mustard seeds to a fine powder in a mixer.

mustard foot bath

2. Finely chop a tbsp of fresh ginger finely.

mustard seeds side effects

3. Add the ground mustard seed and ginger to a bucket of warm water and soak your feet in it till it turns cold. This is a wonderful way to treat chest congestion.

health benefits of yellow mustard


  1. Anonymous
    February 2, 2015 / 6:28 pm

    By Mustard do you men kadugu in Tamil? Do you have any remedies for ear infection and inflammation?Lately my D's mouth started smelling bad, even though she brushses her teeth twice with neem powder. She is very hygenic too. Not sure what the problem is. Amma says its vaitru ranam. Any remedies for that?ThanksJay

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      February 4, 2015 / 5:23 am

      Hi, Mustard is kadugu in Tamil. For ear infection, try the garlic oil from the blog, it is one of the safest remedy for ear inflammation. Stomach ulcers will cause mouth odor, ask her to consume manathakkali keerai daily till the ulcers heal. There is also a soup recipe using manathakkali keerai in the blog that we use often…

    • Jay
      February 4, 2015 / 7:45 pm

      The place where I live we don't have access to a lot of fresh indian herbs and spinach varieties. I have dried dried manathakkali and sundaikai with me. Thanks for the tips

    • Sara Michael Hunt
      December 1, 2016 / 2:50 am

      I learned from my homeopathic doctor to put a piece of onion in my ear. Works every time. Don't make it to small.

  2. Anonymous
    October 5, 2015 / 7:54 pm

    Can it be used for babies ? My baby is 6 months and has cough.

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      October 8, 2015 / 4:59 pm

      Mustard plaster might irritate the skin of babies, I would suggest not using it till they turn 3 years old..

  3. Anonymous
    October 24, 2015 / 2:15 am

    love the post. what does a blister look like from mustard plaster?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      October 31, 2015 / 3:23 pm

      The skin will turn red….

  4. Randy Dewey
    October 29, 2015 / 3:50 am

    My grandma used to do this with my family for years. Works grest. We didn't apply directly to skin, just put between 2 pieces of cloth.

    • GLEAUX™ Gloria Delicioso
      June 28, 2016 / 9:37 pm

      Food is our medicine. My grandmother used these on my mom in the early 20'sAnd of course good strong mustard with any good brats:)Now I need to go to the grocery!

  5. Anonymous
    January 13, 2016 / 4:40 pm

    My grandmother started using these mustard plasters on me 50 years ago. My mother continued and now I am passing the use on. Works excellent.

  6. llopata
    January 29, 2016 / 3:26 pm

    I have bronchitis and decided to try this. Thank you it has given me relief

  7. Anonymous
    February 7, 2016 / 7:55 pm

    Thank you for the recipe. Are you using flour from white or brown mustard? Can the flour from both white and brown mustard be used and if yes is the ratio of mixing with wheat flour the same?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      March 12, 2016 / 3:09 am

      We don't get white mustard in our place so I have always used only brown mustard for making mustard plasters…

  8. Kim
    March 18, 2016 / 6:28 pm

    Does mustard from a jar work also?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      March 21, 2016 / 12:47 pm

      Hi Kim, I have always used only the regular mustard for making mustard plasters and would suggest the same to you too…

    • Wayne Blanchard
      April 6, 2016 / 4:07 pm

      I have been using Mustard Plasters for years but with one differents. I use 2 heaping tablespoons of Mustard, 2 of Flour and 2 of Baking Soda.

  9. Dayalan Dhinakaran
    May 21, 2016 / 2:37 pm

    Hi Ramya, Thanks for all your blogs. I am having chest tightness and shortness of breath and dry cough. It will be great, if you can suggest me a good home remedy to follow

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      June 7, 2016 / 12:22 am

      I would suggest this remedy. Try it for a few days and please let ,e know whether there is improvement…

  10. Sue Johnson
    May 28, 2017 / 2:04 am

    could be a heart attack?

  11. Louise
    March 30, 2020 / 8:28 pm

    Yes …steam. Can you get a steamer .if not use a med to large kettle ..set on a sturdy chair or table little lower than you..and put a firm cloth over your head and the pot of water.be safe .be sure the hot water is lower than you..

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