Mustard in Ayurveda
Mustard or Rai is an annual plant cultivated as a spice all over the world. It has been used for centuries as a pungent condiment and healing herb by the Chinese, the Greeks and the Ayurvedics. Mustard is peculiar in that its strong taste develops only after the seeds are crushed and come into contact with water or saliva.
Mustard is an antiseptic, warming, carminative, antibacterial and antiviral. It aids in digestion and eases gastric distention. It is an emetic, rubefacient, and a laxative. It acts as an irritant, encouraging blood flow toward the surface of the skin in cases of rheumatism, sciatica, peritonitis and neuralgia and for various muscle aches and pains. From the whole plant, only the seeds and pods are used.
For centuries, mustard plasters have been used to treat chest colds and coughs. Mustard is also beneficial for backache, joint pain, digestive upsets, hiccups and as a laxative. Mustard eases constipation, minor aches and pains and muscle stiffness. It is used either as a spice or oil, in compresses and poultices. It can also be used along with aloe vera, ginger, garlic and onion. Poultices should be used only for 10-15 minutes at a time or blistering and irritation can occur.
Methods of Use:
Mustard reduces pitta and kapha, and has a neutral effect on vatta.
Mustard oil can be rectified with alcohol (1 part oil to 40 parts alcohol) and used as a lotion for joint pains, arthritis and sluggish circulation.
A mustard foot bath will clear blood congestion in the head, warm up cold feet and lower a fever in the early stages of illness. Put one-quarter of a cup of mustard seed in a small cloth bag or a large tea strainer. Steep in hot water for 5 minutes and soak feet until the water cools off.