Sinapis Nigra.—This requires no description.The seeds are used; ground, the powder called mustard is used as a condiment. They contain an acrid principle, and a fixed oil, which give them a pungent smell and taste, and stimulant, diuretic, and aperient properties. They are also anti-flatulent. The seeds of the black mustard are more pungent then those of the white. It is to be regretted that this valuable article is so frequently adulterated. Mustard seeds excite the stomach, and stimulate the nervous energy, and act as a laxative. In costiveness and indigestion they are really useful. They act very mildly, yet effectually as an aperient.
Dr. Graham says, " they exert a considerable alterative effect on the constitution when preserved in, owing to their containing sulphur, and also to their regular laxative operation. For whatever substance acts regularly and mildly as an aperient, is at the same time alterative; a fact which demandsattention. This depends no doubt, on the marked influence which a regular healthy action of the bowels has on the whole system." Dose, a table-spoonful, or less, twice a day. They have also been given with advantage in dropsy, and torpid state of the bowels which accompanies palsy, for weakness of stomach, and impurity of blood.. The seeds are good for all cold diseases.
Mustard is frequently used externally, and is generally beneficial when applied over the seat of inward inflammation, as the chest, belly, or throat. A Mustard Cataplasm, or poultice, is made by mixing good fresh mustard with water, (some use with it flour or linseed-meal, to moderate it,) as for the table, and spreading it thickly on a piece of linen or calico; put a thin piece of muslin over it, and then apply it to the part affected for 15 to 20 minutes so that it may redden the skin, without producing a blister; if it should burn much when taken off, sprinkle the part with flour. Should a mustard plaster be applied to one in a state of insensibility, it should not remain above half an hour; otherwise, it might produce ulceration. Never apply a mustard-plaster where you are assured a hot bran, or a hot oat-meal poultice would be more soothing and useful.
Mustard is a safe and effectual emetic, in doses of one, two, or three tea-spoonfuls in water. It is thus used in paralytic cases; and it is often effectual when other emetics fail. Mustard lotions and ointments are sometimes used for local friction in hemoptysis, or spitting of blood, applied to the chest or extremities, as the legs, etcetera.—and for chilblains and other indolent swellings. In cases of poisoning, torpor, or paralysis, a Mustard foot-bath may be employed to rouse the system.
Theriaca Sinapis.—It is known also by the name of Treacle Mustard. It has a hard round stalk a foot high, parted into branches, having soft green leaves, long and narrow, and waved, but not indented. The flowers which grow at the tops of the branches, are white, in spikes one above another; each flower produces a blackish brown seed on each side of a pouch parted in the middle. The roots are small and thready.
Sinapis Mithridaticum.—It grows higherthan Treacle Mustard, having more and larger branches; its leaves are smaller and narrower, unevenly indented at the edges. The flowers are small and white, growing on long branches; the seeds are formed in the same way, yet smaller, and sharper in taste. They grow under walls and hedges.
Both these Mustards are purgative, cleansing the body both upwards and downwards. They promote menstruation, break inward imposthumes, taken inwardly and used as clysters, and outwardly applied they are good for sciatica. The seed is very effectual. They are tonic and antiseptic.
Sepes Sinapis.--It is a different plant from the garden Mustard. It has one blackish green stalk, slender, but tough, branched into several parts, and sometimes with several stalks, tall of branches, on which grow long, rugged leaves, much cut on the edges in many parts, some larger and some less; of a dirty green colour. The flowers are small and yellow, at the tops of the branches in long spikes, flowering by degrees. The seeds are yellow, of an acrid taste, and so is the herb. It grows by the way and hedge-sides, and in the open fields. It flowers in July.
It is good in all the diseases of thechest and lungs, hoarseness, for loss of voice, and lowness of spirits. The juice made into syrup, with honey or sugar, is no less effectual for the same purpose, and for all coughs, wheezing, and shortness of breath. It is a remedy for the jaundice, pleurisy, pains in the back and loins, and for colic, being also used in Oysters. The seed is a special remedy for sciatica, joint-aches, ulcers and cankers in the mouth; throat, or behind the ears, and for hardness and swelling of the testicles, or women's breasts.
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