Rapeseed, Mustard - Biochemistry and Health benefits, Medicinal uses and other usefulness
Author: Chitralekha Shyam
PhD Scholar, Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics
College of Agriculture, RVSKVV, Gwalior (M.P.)
E-mail: shyamchitralekha@gmail.com

Rapeseed, Mustard

Oilseeds crops are the second most important determinant of agricultural economy, next only to cereals. Rapeseed mustard was grown in the 3000 BC in the Indus valley. The angiosperm family Brassicaceae is commonly termed the mustard family or, because of their characteristic flowers consisting of four petals in the form of a Greek cross, the Cruciferae. Brassica is the most economically important genus in the cruciferae family, remarkable for containing agricultural and horticultural crops than any other genus. It includes over 30 wild species and six most important species of Brassicas, Brassica campestris , B. juncea, B. carinata and B. napus.

Biochemistry and Health benefits

  • Generally perceived as health benefiting spice, mustard seeds are indeed very rich in phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants.
  • Being one of the chief oil seeds, mustards are indeed very high in calories; 100 g of seeds provide 508 calories. Nonetheless, the seeds are made of quality proteins, essential oils, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.
  • The seeds are high in essential oils as well as plant sterols. Some of the important sterols include such as brassicasterol, campesterol, sitosterol, avenasterol, and stigmasterol. Some of the glucosinolate and fatty acids in the seeds are sinigrin, myrosin, erucic, eicosanoic, oleic, and palmitic acids.
  • Mustard seeds are an excellent source of essential B-complex vitamins such as folates, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, pyridoxine (vitaminB-6), pantothenic acid. These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish. These B-complex groups of vitamins help in enzyme synthesis, nervous system function and regulating body metabolism.
  • 100 g of mustards provide 4.733 mg of niacin (vitamin B-3). Niacin is a part of nicotinamide coenzymes that help lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • Mustard seeds contain flavonoid and carotenoid antioxidants such as carotenes, zeaxanthin, and lutein. In addition, the seeds compose a small amount of vitamin antioxidants such as vitamin-A, C, and vitamin-K.
  • The seeds are an excellent source of vitamin-E, gamma tocopherol; contain about 19.82 mg per 100 g (about 132% of RDA). Tocopherol are recognized for the antioxidant activity and have been observed to be useful in degenerative diseases like cancer, cataract, cardiovascular disease and aging. Tocopherols in oil act through several mechanism such as inhibiting the lipid peroxidation, chain termination, singlet oxygen quenching and radical scavenging to deactivate free radical that are produced during the oxidation of biomolecules (Qureshi et al.,1991). Vitamin-E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucosa and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.
  • It provides various micronutrients such as beta carotene, oryzanol tocotrienols and squalene. Beta carotene has been recognized for its ability to contribute to the synthesis of retinol (Groff et al., 1995). Oryzanol is known for its strong hypocholesterolemic properties and other beneficial effects (Rukmini and Raghuram, 1991).
  • Mustards are rich source of health benefiting minerals. Calcium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, selenium and magnesium are some of the minerals especially concentrated in these seeds. Calcium helps build bone and teeth. Manganese used by the body as a cofactor for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. Copper required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is essential for the red blood cell formation and cellular metabolism. Selenium and magnesium, which gives it anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps stimulating sweat glands and helps lowering body temperature.

Medicinal uses

  • Its seeds and oil has traditionally been used to relieve muscle pain, rheumatism and arthritic pain.
  • In India, mustard oil is applied to the scalp and is believed to stimulate hair growth.
  • Its ground seeds act as a laxative, stimulant to the gastric mucosa and increase intestinal secretion.
  • Seed paste applied on wounds whereas paste of leaf said to heal cattle wounds (Sood etal., 2010).

    Other applications

    In food, black mustard leaves (greens) are used in salads and other dishes. Also in food, black mustard seed is used as a spice and to flavor mustard condiment. Mustard use as a oil, it is a vegetable oil and is obtained from seeds of mustard plant. The oil is extracted from clean and sound mustard seeds, which belong to species namely compestris, juncea or napus varieties of Brassica. Though this oil is nutty tasting. Edible oil is one of the most important products of various species of Brassica . The oil is used as condiments in preparation of pickles and for flavoring curries and vegetables also used for preparation of hair oils and medicines. It is used for making of soaps and in manufacture of lubricants. Oilseed cake is used for cattle feed and organic manure. The meal cake after extraction of the oil from the seed contains 40-45 per cent protein which could be exploited as raw material for the manufacture of protein rich products intended for both animal and human consumption. Besides, seeds are used as condiments and in preparations of salad, juices, curries and pickles. Green stems and leaves are a good source of fodder for cattle.The leaves of young plants are used as green vegetables as they supply enough sulphur and minerals in the diet. In the tannery, industry mustard oil is used for softening leather.


    I evaluated that Rapeseed, mustard is very important oilseed in India and World. In India, it is the second most important edible oilseed after groundnut sharing 27.8% in the India’s oilseed economy. It is used for human consumption and industrial purpose. So, we need improvement of yield and quality of Rapesesd, mustard through different breeding and biotechnological methods.

Groff, J.L., Gropper, S.S. and Hunt, S.M. 1995. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism, 2nd Edition, Minneapolis: West, 299.

Rukmini, C. and Raghuram, T.C. 1991. J. Am. Coll. Nutr. 10, 593.

Qureshi, A.A., Qureshi, N., Wright, J.J., Shen, Z., Kramer, G., Gapor, A., Chong, Y.H., De Witt, G., Ong, A. and Peterson, D.M. 1991. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 53,1021.

Sood, S.K., Sharma, D., Kumar,S. and Lakhanpal, T.N. 2010. Healing Herbs: Traditional Medication for Wounds, Sores and Bones. Pointer Publishers, Jaipur, India.

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