Part of Plant Used



Whole dried or powdered


United States

Like other plants in the Brassica family (cabbage, broccoli, etc.), the mustard plant is a rich source of nutrients, as well as a class of antioxidant compounds collectively known as isothiocyanates. Yellow mustard seed comes from the white mustard plant (Sinapis alba), a species original to the Mediterranean region and cultivated in the U.S. as a food and forage crop. 

​Mustard is a plant in the cabbage family that is native to Europe and the Mediterranean region. Like other species in the Brassica family, mustard is harvested for its zesty-tasting leaves that are cooked and eaten as a vegetable in summer. Mustard is also grown and harvested for its seeds, which range in color and flavor sharpness depending on variety. Like peppercorns, mustard seed has a long history of use globally and remains one of the most widely traded spices in the world today. In addition to culinary use, mustard seed is used to make heat-producing poultices. Powdered mustard seed is also used as a laundry

aid – it helps to break up protein-based stains, such as dried egg yolk. Mustard
is a plant in the cabbage family that is native to Europe and the Mediterranean

​The white mustard plant (Sinapis alba) is a Mediterranean native grown
elsewhere as a forage plant for grazing animals. The bright yellow flowers
contain seed pods, each one of which houses 5 or 6 round, yellow seeds,
which are harvested just before the pods burst open. Ground mustard seed is
commonly used to season condiments, most notably American yellow mustard.

​The seeds can also be pressed to make mustard oil, and the edible leaves can be eaten as mustard greens.

Mild white mustard (Sinapis hirta) grows wild in North Africa, the Middle East, and Mediterranean Europe, and has spread farther by long cultivation; oriental mustard (Brassica juncea), originally from the foothills of the Himalaya, is grown commercially in India, Canada, the UK, Denmark, and the US; black mustard (Brassica nigra) is grown in Argentina, Chile, the US and some European countries. Canada and

​Nepal are the world's major producers of mustard seed, between them accounting for around 57% of world production in 2010.

​Recent research has studied varieties of mustards with high oil contents for use in the production of biodiesel, a renewable liquid fuel similar to diesel fuel. The biodiesel made from mustard oil has good cold flow properties and cetane ratings. The leftover meal after pressing out the oil has also been found to be an effective pesticide. 

​An interesting genetic relationship between many species of mustard has been observed, and is described as the triangle of U.

Health Benefits
​The unique healing properties of mustard seeds can partly be attributed to their home among the Brassica foods found in the cruciferous plant family.

​Phytonutrient Compounds Protective Against Gastrointestinal Cancer

​Like other Brassicas, mustard seeds contain plentiful amounts of phytonutrients called glucosinolates. The seeds also contain myrosinase enzymes that can break apart the glucosinolates into other phytonutrients called isothiocyanates. The isothiocyanates in mustard seed (and otherBrassicas) have been repeatedly studied for their anti-cancer effects. In animal studies—and particularly in studies involving the gastrointestinal tract and colorectal cancer—intake of isothiocyanates has been shown to inhibit growth of existing cancer cells and to be protective against the formation of such cells.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects from Selenium and Magnesium
​Mustard seeds emerged from our food ranking system as an excellent source of selenium, a nutrient which that has been shown to help reduce the severity of asthma, decrease some of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and help prevent cancer. They also qualified as a good source of magnesium. Like selenium, magnesium has been shown to help reduce the severity of asthma, to lower high blood pressure, to restore normal sleep patterns in women having difficulty with the symptoms of menopause, to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks, and to prevent heart attack in patients suffering from atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease.

​Mustard seeds also qualified as a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids and manganese as well as a good source of ph
osphorus, copper, and vitamin B1.

Yellow Mustard - United States

​​Sinapis alba