COMMON NAME (Chinese Name)
White Mustard Seed (Bai Jie Ze)
Many folk remedies involving white mustard seed oil and powder have been at least somewhat supported by recent research, which has illustrated that the biological effects of these white mustard seed derivatives are far-reaching. For example, commonly reported uses include: ingestion to increase appetite, induce vomiting, cure constipation, or increase urine output. Other uses include topically to diminish joint pain and clear congestion, and as an oral rinse to minimize pain from and promote healing of mouth sores and sore throat.
White mustard seed oil may have some significant antimicrobial effects against some specific types of bacteria, including E. Coli, Streptococcus, and some forms of candida (yeast infections). This suggests that white mustard seed oil may be a useful oral and topical remedy for these specific infections. The discomfort and pain associated with these kinds of infections may also be diminished somewhat via the (mild) anti-inflammatory effects of white mustard seed extracts.
The most significant component of white mustard seed oils and extracts, allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), accounts for more than 71% of the total composition. This compound has been empirically shown to help alleviate the symptoms of acute colitis, and may show promise for use in treating other inflammatory conditions of the intestines. Because of the significant concentration of this compound in white mustard seed extract, it may also show promise for use as an anti-obesity therapy. That said, clinical trials in humans using encapsulated white mustard seed powder have failed to demonstrate significant metabolic change due to supplementation.
In Chinese medicine, mustard seed is categorized as an herb that dispels cold phlegm and stops coughing. It is classified as acrid and warm and primarily affects the Lung meridian.
PREPARATION & ADMINISTRATION
Medicinal applications most commonly make use of oils or extracts derived from dried, crushed white mustard seed. Some remedies do call for topical use, though oral administration is more often studied. White mustard seed supplements may also be available in powdered or encapsulated forms, though these seem to (fairly consistently) reproduce the biological effects of oils and extracts.
Exposure to white mustard seed oil may make the skin more permeable to other drugs. Allergies to white or yellow mustard pollen are not uncommon, though food allergies to mustard products are less so. That said, there are reports of allergic reactions to medicinal white mustard seed derivatives, including mouth irritation after oral use and contact dermatitis following topical use. Anyone interested in using white mustard seed or any other supplement should consult with a physician, certified herbalist, or other qualified healthcare professional.
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