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Mustard

Scientific Name(s): Brassica juncea L. Czern. et Cosson (oriental, leaf, or Indian mustard), Brassica nigra L. Koch (black or true mustard), Sinapis alba L. (white or yellow mustard)
Common Name(s): Black mustard, Indian mustard, Leaf mustard, Mustard, True oriental mustard, White mustard, Yellow mustard

Clinical Overview

Use

Derivatives of the mustard constituent allyl isothiocyanate form the basis for toxic agents such as mustard gases and antineoplastic drugs (eg, bendamustine). Mustard is used as a food flavoring, for forage, as an emetic, and diuretic, as well as a topical treatment for inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and rheumatism. Mustard also has potential pharmacological effects in cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes; however, there are limited clinical trials to support its use for any indication.

Dosing

Limited clinical trials are available to guide dosage. Patients with suspected acute myocardial infarction received mustard oil 2.9 g/day orally.

Contraindications

None well documented. Avoid use in patients who are hypersensitive to mustard or related plant species. Topical mustard oil should not be used for massaging newborn infants.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking. Avoid dosages higher than those found in food.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Allyl isothiocyanate and mustard oil are irritants and induce lacrimation, hyperalgesia, inflammation, and neuroexcitation. Immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated food allergy to mustard and other members of the mustard family, as well as cross-sensitivity to other plants, is documented.

Toxicology

Data are limited.

Botany

The genus Brassica contains over 150 species that are cultivated worldwide as oilseed crops or vegetables. The mustards are annual or biennial herbs that grow from 1 to 3 m in height. The dried, ripe seed is used commercially. Ground mustard, derived from the powdered mustard seed, is known as mustard flour. Single or mixed white, black, or brown mustard seeds are the main types. More pungent mustards are derived from seeds from which the fixed oil has been removed.1, 2

History

Mustard seed has been used internally and externally since ancient times. Mustard and its oil have been used as a topical treatment for rheumatism and arthritis, as a foot bath for aching feet, and in the form of plasters over the back and chest to treat bronchitis and pneumonia.3 Internally, mustard seeds have been used as appetite stimulants, emetics, and diuretics.4

When black mustard is prepared as a condiment with vinegar, salt, and water, the product is known as German-prepared mustard. S. alba seed, when prepared in a similar manner but without spices, is known as English mustard. Mustards are grown extensively as forage crops.4

Chemistry

Mustard seeds contain numerous chemical constituents, including phytoalexins (sinalexin, sinalbins A and B), sterols and steryl esters (primarily sitosterol and campesterol), and flavonoids (eg, apigenin, chalcone). Crude mucilage from mustard has been analyzed and contains 80% to 94% carbohydrates, 1.7% to 15% ash, and 2.2% to 4.4% protein.5 The flavor of mustard seeds is derived from glucosinolates, which are thiocyanate glycosides. Sinalbin is responsible for the flavor of white mustard seed; sinigrin is responsible for the sharper taste associated with black and brown mustard seeds. Volatile mustard oil is derived from steam distillation or by expression. The fixed oil does not contribute to the mustard's pungency, and ground mustard does not have a pungent aroma. The pungency is produced by glucosinolates, which are hydrolyzed by the enzyme myrosinase (a thioglucoside glucohydrolase) to flavor-active isothiocyanates (mustard oils). Sinalbin primarily yields the nonvolatile 4-hydroxybenzyl isothiocyanate, while sinigrin yields the volatile allyl isothiocyanate, which is responsible for the pungent aroma. Depending on the variety of mustard, the yield of allyl isothiocyanate is approximately 1%. Brassica species produce large quantities of isothiocyanates; more than 50 different isothiocyanates have been reported as glucosinolate hydrolysis products. Other components of the oil include fixed oil, proteins, sinapic acid, and sinapine.2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Uses and Pharmacology

There have been numerous phytochemical investigations on mustard seed; however, few clinical trials exist to support a clinical application of mustard seed oil. Derivatives of allyl isothiocyanate have formed the basis for toxic agents such as mustard gases and antineoplastic drugs (eg, bendamustine).

Cancer

Numerous mechanisms of action are proposed for potential cancer chemoprotective activity of organic isothiocyanates. The cytotoxicity of mustard derivatives on neuroblastoma cells has been investigated.10, 11

Mustard juice was protective against benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P)-induced DNA damage in human-derived cells in a dose-dependent manner. Chemoprotective properties may be associated with induction of detoxifying enzymes.12 Another study examined the effects of organic isothiocyanates on P-glycoprotein and multidrug, resistance-associated, protein (MRP1)-mediated transport in multidrug resistant (MDR) human cancer cell lines. Both P-glycoprotein and MRP1 are involved in the bioavailability, distribution, and elimination of many drugs. Dietary organic isothiocyanates inhibited the P-glycoprotein– and MRP1–mediated efflux of daunomycin and vinblastine in MDR human cancer cells, enhancing the efficacy of cancer chemotherapy. The study also found evidence of organic isothiocyanates inhibiting tumor formation in breast, colon, lung, and skin tissue in animal models.11

Mustard essential oil reduced tumor cell proliferation via apoptotic and antiangiogenesis mechanisms in mice, while the mucilage fraction of S. alba inhibited colonic preneoplastic changes in rats.13, 14

Cardiovascular disease

The potential of B. juncea as a natural source of the antioxidant alpha-tocopherol has been described.15 Aqueous extracts of mustard inhibited lipid peroxidation induced by FeSO4-ascorbate on human erythrocyte membranes in one study.16

No difference was found in serum cholesterol or triglyceride levels in rats fed the mucilaginous fraction of mustard.14 Epidemiological studies suggest that higher levels of monounsaturated fats were associated with erucic acid–rich mustard seed oil intake.17

A 12-month, randomized, placebo-controlled trial examined the effects of fish oil versus mustard oil in 360 patients with suspected acute myocardial infarction (MI). Treatments were administered to all patients approximately 18 hours after symptoms of an acute MI. Patients in group A (n = 122) received fish oil 1.08 g/day orally, group B (n = 120) received mustard oil 2.9 g/day orally, and 118 patients received placebo. Results indicated a reduction in total cardiac events in patients treated with fish oil or mustard oil compared with placebo (24.5% and 28% vs 34.7%; P < 0.01). Nonfatal infarctions also occurred less frequently in patients treated with fish oil or mustard oil compared with placebo (13% and 15% vs 25.4%; P < 0.05); however, total cardiac deaths were not reduced in patients treated with mustard oil or fish oil. When compared with the placebo group, patients treated with fish oil or mustard oil showed a reduction in total angina pectoris, cardiac arrhythmias, and left ventricular enlargement. Diene conjugates were reduced in both treatment groups, indicating antioxidant activity.18

Another randomized, single-blind clinical trial enrolling 1,000 patients with angina pectoris, MI, or surrogate risk factors for coronary heart disease documented similar results in patients who increased intake of whole grains and mustard or soybean oil.19

Hyperglycemia

Clinical trials are lacking.

Studies in rats exhibited a hypoglycemic effect in normal animals, as well as effects (decreased serum glucose and increased insulin response) on postprandial glucose in diabetic-induced animals, using both the whole plant and mucilaginous extracts. Proposed mechanisms include modulation of gluconeogenic and glucolytic enzymes.20, 21, 22, 23, 24

Other uses

Antibacterial

Allyl isothiocyanate has antimicrobial and antifungal activity, and the antibacterial effect of mustard flour and oil has been evaluated for application in the processed meat industry for its inhibitory effect on Escherichia coli and salmonella.9, 25, 26, 27

Nociceptive

Because of its topical irritant effects, mustard has been used traditionally as a rubefacient and irritant. These properties have served as models for animal analgesia experiments.28, 29

Numerous studies elucidating the mechanism of action of nociceptive chemicals, including mustard oil, have been published and describe the transient receptor potential ankyrin-1 and related ion flow within specific neurons.30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35

Dosing

Limited clinical trials are available to guide dosage. Numerous commercially available products contain mustard in capsule, powder, and tablet forms.

Patients with suspected acute MI received mustard oil 2.9 g/day orally.18

A study in humans determined that the major urinary metabolite of allyl isothiocyanate is excreted within 8 hours. A dose-dependent excretion of the metabolite was observed.36

Pregnancy / Lactation

Safety and efficacy have not been established. Avoid dosages higher than those found in food.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Allyl isothiocyanate and mustard oil are irritants, inducing lacrimation, hyperalgesia, inflammation, and neuroexcitation.4, 37, 38

IgE-mediated food allergy to mustard and other members of the mustard family, as well as cross-sensitivity to other plants, is documented.39, 40, 41, 42, 43 Although there are few reports of anaphylaxis, allergy to mustard is not uncommon.44 Rhinitis associated with S. alba has been reported45 as well as sensitization by mustard in atopic individuals.46, 47

A case report of a pityriasis rosea–like eruption after topical application of mustard oil has been documented.48

Toxicology

Toxicological studies of mustard oil are lacking.

The use of mustard oil for massaging newborn infants is not recommended based on studies in mice with suboptimal skin barrier function in which increases in transdermal water loss and structural changes in epidermal keratinocytes were observed.49

References

1. Sinapis alba L. USDA, NRCS. 2009. The PLANTS Database ( http://plants.usda.gov, November 2009). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.
2. Velíśek J, Mikulcová R, Míková K, Woldie KS, Link J, Davídek J. Chemometric investigation of mustard seed. Lebenson Wiss Technol. 1995;28(6):620-624.
3. Felter HW, Lloyd JU. King's Dispensatory. Portland, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications; 1983.
4. Leung AY. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics. New York, NY: Wiley; 1980.
5. Cui W, Eskin NA, Biliaderis CG. Chemical and physical properties of yellow mustard ( Sinapis alba L.) mucilage. Food Chem. 1993;46(2):169-176.
6. Pedras MS, Zaharia IL. Sinalbins A and B, phytoalexins from Sinapis alba: elicitation, isolation, and synthesis. Phytochemistry. 2000;55(3):213-216.11142844
7. Appelqvist LD, Kornfeld AK, Wennerholm JE. Sterols and steryl esters in some Brassica and Sinapis seeds. Phytochemistry. 1981;20(2):207-210.
8. Ponce MA, Scervino JM, Erra-Balsells R, Ocampo JA, Godeas AM. Flavonoids from shoots, roots and roots exudates of Brassica alba. Phytochemistry. 2004;65(23):3131-3134.15541742
9. Olivier C, Vaughn SF, Mizubuti ES, Loria R. Variation in allyl isothiocyanate production within Brassica species and correlation with fungicidal activity. J Chem Ecol. 1999;25(12):2687-2701.
10. Coggiola B, Pagliai F, Allegrone G, Genazzani AA, Tron GC. Synthesis and biological activity of mustard derivatives of combretastatins. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2005;15(15):3551-3554.15963722
11. Tseng E, Kamath A, Morris ME. Effect of organic isothiocyanates on the P-glycoprotein- and MRP1-mediated transport of daunomycin and vinblastine. Pharm Res. 2002;19(10):1509-1515.12425469
12. Uhl M, Laky B, Lhoste E, Kassie F, Kundi M, Knasmüller S. Effects of mustard sprouts and allylisothiocyanate on benzo(a)pyrene-induced DNA damage in human-derived cells: a model study with the single cell gel electrophoresis/Hep G2 assay. Teratog Carcinog Mutagen. 2003;(suppl 1):S273-S282.12616618
13. Kumar A, D'Souza SS, Tickoo S, Salimath BP, Singh HB. Antiangiogenic and proapoptotic activities of allyl isothiocyanate inhibit ascites tumor growth in vivo. Integr Cancer Ther. 2009;8(1):75-87.19223371
14. Eskin NA, Raju J, Bird RP. Novel mucilage fraction of Sinapis alba L. (mustard) reduces azoxymethane-induced colonic aberrant crypt foci formation in F344 and Zucker obese rats. Phytomedicine. 2007;14(7-8):479-485.17188481
15. Yusuf MA, Sarin NB. Antioxidant value addition in human diets: genetic transformation of Brassica juncea with gamma-TMT gene for increased alpha-tocopherol content. Transgenic Res. 2007;16(1):109-113.17103027
16. Sujatha R, Srinivas L. Modulation of lipid peroxidation by dietary components. Toxicol In Vitro. 1995;9(3):231-236.
17. Risé P, Marangoni F, Martiello A, et al. Fatty acid profiles of blood lipids in a population group in Tibet: correlations with diet and environmental conditions. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008;17(1):80-85.18364331
18. Singh RB, Niaz MA, Sharma JP, Kumar R, Rastogi V, Moshiri M. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of fish oil and mustard oil in patients with suspected acute myocardial infarction: the Indian experiment of infarct survival–4. Cardiovasc Drugs Ther. 1997;11(3):485-491.9310278
19. Singh RB, Dubnov G, Niaz MA, et al. Effect of an Indo-Mediterranean diet on progression of coronary artery disease in high risk patients (Indo-Mediterranean Diet Heart Study): a randomised single-blind trial. Lancet. 2002;360(9344):1455-1461.12433513
20. Srinivasan K. Plant foods in the management of diabetes mellitus: spices as beneficial antidiabetic food adjuncts. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2005;56(6):399-414.16361181
21. Anand P, Murali YK, Tandon V, Murthy PS, Chandra R. Insulinotropic effect of aqueous extract of Brassica nigra improves glucose homeostasis in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. 2009;117(6):251-256.18726874
22. Grover JK, Yadav S, Vats V. Medicinal plants of India with anti-diabetic potential. J Ethnopharmacol. 2002;81(1):81-100.12020931
23. Grover JK, Yadav SP, Vats V. Effect of feeding Murraya koeingii and Brassica juncea diet on [correction] kidney functions and glucose levels in streptozotocin diabetic mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 2003;85(1):1-5.12576195
24. Yadav SP, Vats V, Ammini AC, Grover JK. Brassica juncea (Rai) significantly prevented the development of insulin resistance in rats fed fructose-enriched diet. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004;93(1):113-116.15182915
25. Nadarajah D, Han JH, Holley RA. Use of mustard flour to inactivate Escherichia coli O157:H7 in ground beef under nitrogen flushed packaging. Int J Food Microbiol. 2005;99(3):257-267.15808360
26. Turgis M, Borsa J, Millette M, Salmieri S, Lacroix M. Effect of selected plant essential oils or their constituents and modified atmosphere packaging on the radiosensitivity of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella typhi in ground beef. J Food Prot. 2008;71(3):516-521.18389694
27. Graumann GH, Holley RA. Inhibition of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in ripening dry fermented sausage by ground yellow mustard. J Food Prot. 2008;71(3):486-493.18389690
28. Albin KC, Carstens MI, Carstens E. Modulation of oral heat and cold pain by irritant chemicals. Chem Senses. 2008;33(1):3-15.17728277
29. Walker SM, Fitzgerald M. Characterization of spinal alpha-adrenergic modulation of nociceptive transmission and hyperalgesia throughout postnatal development in rats. Br J Pharmacol. 2007;151(8):1334-1342.17533423
30. Caterina MJ. Chemical biology: sticky spices. Nature. 2007;445(7127):491-492.17237760
31. Cavanaugh EJ, Simkin D, Kim D. Activation of transient receptor potential A1 channels by mustard oil, tetrahydrocannabinol and Ca2+ reveals different functional channel states. Neuroscience. 2008;154(4):1467-1476.18515013
32. Macpherson LJ, Dubin AE, Evans MJ, et al. Noxious compounds activate TRPA1 ion channels through covalent modification of cysteines. Nature. 2007;445(7127):541-545.17237762
33. Ohta T, Imagawa T, Ito S. Novel agonistic action of mustard oil on recombinant and endogenous porcine transient receptor potential V1 (pTRPV1) channels. Biochem Pharmacol. 2007;73(10):1646-1656.17328867
34. Gerhold KA, Bautista DM. Molecular and cellular mechanisms of trigeminal chemosensation. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009;1170:184-189.19686135
35. De Petrocellis L, Vellani V, Schiano-Moriello A, et al. Plant-derived cannabinoids modulate the activity of transient receptor potential channels of ankyrin type-1 and melastatin type-8. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2008;325(3):1007-1015.18354058
36. Jiao D, Ho CT, Foiles P, Chung FL. Identification and quantification of the N-acetylcysteine conjugate of allyl isothiocyanate in human urine after ingestion of mustard. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 1994;3(6):487-492.8000299
37. Inoue H, Asaka T, Nagata N, Koshihara Y. Mechanism of mustard oil-induced skin inflammation in mice. Eur J Pharmacol. 1997;333(2-3):231-240.9314040
38. Simons CT, Sudo S, Sudo M, Carstens E. Mustard oil has differential effects on the response of trigeminal caudalis neurons to heat and acidity. Pain. 2004;110(1-2):64-71.15275753
39. Palacín A, Cumplido J, Figueroa J, et al. Cabbage lipid transfer protein Bra o 3 is a major allergen responsible for cross-reactivity between plant foods and pollens. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2006;117(6):1423-1429.16751008
40. Singh AK, Mehta AK, Sridhara S, et al. Allergenicity assessment of transgenic mustard ( Brassica juncea) expressing bacterial codA gene. Allergy. 2006;61(4):491-497.16512812
41. Shim YY, Wanasundara JP. Quantitative detection of allergenic protein Sin a 1 from yellow mustard (Sinapis alba L.) seeds using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. J Agric Food Chem. 2008;56(4):1184-1192.18217709
42. Brand G, Jacquot L. Sensitization and desensitization to allyl isothiocyanate (mustard oil) in the nasal cavity. Chem Senses. 2002;27(7):593-598.12200338
43. Simons CT, Carstens MI, Carstens E. Oral irritation by mustard oil: self-desensitization and cross-desensitization with capsaicin. Chem Senses. 2003;28(6):459-465.12907583
44. Figueroa J, Blanco C, Dumpiérrez AG, et al. Mustard allergy confirmed by double-blind placebo-controlled food challenges: clinical features and cross-reactivity with mugwort pollen and plant-derived foods. Allergy. 2005;60(1):48-55.15575930
45. Anguita JL, Palacios L, Ruiz-Valenzuela L, et al. An occupational respiratory allergy caused by Sinapis alba pollen in olive farmers. Allergy. 2007;62(4):447-450.17362258
46. Poikonen S, Rancé F, Puumalainen TJ, Le Manach G, Reunala T, Turjanmaa K. Sensitization and allergy to turnip rape: a comparison between the Finnish and French children with atopic dermatitis. Acta Paediatr. 2009;98(2):310-315.18775058
47. Alenmyr L, Högestätt ED, Zygmunt PM, Greiff L. TRPV1-mediated itch in seasonal allergic rhinitis. Allergy. 2009;64(5):807-810.19220220
48. Zawar V. Pityriasis rosea-like eruptions due to mustard oil application. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2005;71(4):282-284.16394442
49. Mullany LC, Darmstadt GL, Khatry SK, Tielsch JM. Traditional massage of newborns in Nepal: implications for trials of improved practice. J Trop Pediatr. 2005;51(2):82-86.15677372

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This information relates to an herbal, vitamin, mineral or other dietary supplement. This product has not been reviewed by the FDA to determine whether it is safe or effective and is not subject to the quality standards and safety information collection standards that are applicable to most prescription drugs. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this product. This information does not endorse this product as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this product. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this product. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You should talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this product.

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