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Mustard greens vegetable soup is a favorable dish cooked by many homemakers, however, not many people are aware of their health benefits.

Mustard greens, also known as leaf mustards, Chinese mustard, Indian mustard, or Green mustard cabbage. Binomial name is Brassica Juncea or B. Chinensis. This plant is a species of mustard plant.

The curvy leaf resembles a spoon, which has a deep green color, hence, the name mustard greens, to differentiate from cole-rape (whose leaf is yellow-green).

In Traditional medicine, it is called gai choi, or siu gai choi. Mustard greens have a pungent and peppery taste. They have a sedative effect, reduce phlegm, and relieve pain.

Mustard greens contain rich sources of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, and dietary fiber. They contain Isothiocyanate, 3-hydroxy-methylindol, 5-vinyl-oxazolidin-2-thion, rhodanide, alkyl nitrile, S-methyl cysteine sulphoxide, S-methyl methionines sulphoxide.

Mustard greens are rich in anti-oxidant (anti-aging and offer cardiovascular benefits), such as vitamin C, E and beta-carotene and fiber (which helps to reduce the risk of cancer, particularly colon cancer). They contain a high level of iron and folic acid which prevent anemia.

These nutrients and especially folic acid are essential for pregnant women. A woman who lacks folic acid during pregnancy can give birth to a child with spina bifida.

Health Benefits of Mustard Greens

  • Cooling effect: Mustard greens contain water and thus have a cooling effect and quench our thirst. Consider eating mustard greens soup during the hot season.
  • Laxative: Mustard greens contains protein, fat, roughage, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamins, vitamin PP, and carotene, crude fiber.  The fiber in mustard greens enhance contraction of the intestines, prevent constipation. People who suffer from constipation should eat more mustard greens.
  •  Reduce body weight: Mustard greens are unlikely to generate body heat, thus suitable to include in the menu to lose weight for people with obesity, people with cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
  • Cure colitis: Oily substance and vitamin U in mustard greens help to protect the intestinal mucosa; prevent toxin irritation thus reducing inflammation and relieving abdominal pain.
  • Prevent cardiovascular disease:  Fiber related nutrients in the mustard greens bind together with some of the bile acids in the intestine prevent cholesterol and triglycerides from being absorbed through the intestine, but instead pass out of our body in a bowel movement.

According to record from the Harvard University in October -1999, surveys done in the years 1984, 1986, 1996 have shown that long-term consumption of l0g fiber /day reduces the risk of heart disease by 19%. Women who consume whole grain (brown rice) lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by 34%, in comparison to those who eat less fiber. The fiber in cereal is more effective in preventing cardiovascular disease than fiber found in fruits and vegetables. Vegetable fiber has other benefits, one of which is increasing glucose tolerance (lower blood glucose) and lower triglycerides.

  • Treat goiter: Vegetables contain substances to prevent goiter hyperthyroidism. However, people suffer from goiter hypothyroidism should avoid long-term consumption of vegetables.
  • Cancer Prevention: Like other vegetables, mustard greens contain  sulforaphane that attaches to estrogen and testosterone receptors thus reducing the risk of breast cancer, cervical and prostate cancer (reference from Harvard University 11- 1998).

One study tracked 50,000 men for 10 years. The group that consumed lots of vegetables about more than 5 times per week has bladder cancer rate that is half as much as the group that consumed fewer vegetables. Bladder cancer occurs most commonly in the elderly.

  • Treat gout: By boiling mustard greens and drink the soup, the body will be excreted uric acid, the main cause of gout to feel better. Be persistent and boil mustard greens and drinking its soup every day.  Also, eat the mustard greens to increase fiber, supporting constipation.

Some folk experiences using mustard greens for treatment

  • Coughing, runny nose caused by cold weather: 100g mustard greens, 10g fresh ginger, a pinch of salt. Make a decoction and drink.
  • Coughing caused by cold weather, with phlegm: Wash green mustard body, finely chopped and cook with enough rice to make porridge.
  • Nephritis:  150g mustard greens (60g if using dried mustard greens) fill with water, boil over low heat for 25 minutes, then beat 1 egg into soup. Add a pinch of salt and let boil. Eat once a day after lunch, maintain for several days, or using dried mustard greens to make tea.
  • Treat abdominal discomfort, and coughing: Baby mustard greens dipped into boiling water, then add oil, salt and a little wine and consume. Otherwise, extract mustard green juice and drink 50ml each time.
  • Allergy treatment caused by painting and irritation: Boil mustard greens thoroughly and uses the juice soup to wash the affected areas.

Health Benefits of Green mustard seeds

According to Traditional medicine, mustard green seeds have a spicy taste, heating quality, also being nontoxic, applicable for treatments of cold weather related diseases such as rheumatism, coughing with phlegm, asthma, sore throat, numbness, pimples.

Green mustard seeds contain glucoside sinalbin. This substance can be hydrolysed into non-volatile oil, thus being less pungent but cause tongue stinging. Exclusive usage may lead to vomitting due to irritation.

Mustard green seeds are also used as folk medicine for treatment

  • Coughing, asthma with phlegm in the elderly: 8-12g each of mustard green seeds, radish seeds, perilla seeds, make a decoction, drink 2-3 times daily.
  • Bronchitis, coughing with phlegm, asthma: 3 -6g rapeseed cultivation (roasted), 6 -9g Radish seeds (roasted), 6g tangerine peel, 6g licorice, make a decoction and drink.
  • Tracheal inflammation treatment: 6g mustard green seeds (roasted), 10g radish seeds(roasted), 10g white mustard seeds (roasted), 600ml water, make into a 300ml decoction and divide into 3 doses to drink daily.
  • Swelling monotherapy: a fistful of mustard green seeds, mix with vinegar to make plaster, use for external coverage.
  • Back pain and spine treatment: pulverize a handful of mustard green seeds, mix with white wine and apply on painful areas a few times.
  • Cure flanks pain caused by cold: finely crush mustard green seeds, pour water and mix until it becomes condensed as glue, and apply on painful areas.
  • Pharyngitis treatment: mix pulverized mustard green seeds with water to make a paste, cover over the lower throat, change other pieces when it get dried.
  •  Treatment of diarrhea:take a little amount of pulverized mustard green seeds, add water to make a paste, apply on the navel.
  • Cure internal and external hemorrhoids: a cup of finely pulverized mustard green seeds, add a little water and honey, apply to affected areas, bandage with tape, change when it get dried.
  • Cure inarticulation caused by cold: make a decoction with a small cup of pulverized mustard green seeds and 2 cups of vinegar, boil until half a cup remains, spread under jaws. The effect is incredible.
  • Treat retracted tongue: mix finely pulverized mustard green seeds with vinegar to become paste, apply thick layer around the throat, the tongue will return to normal.

Folk use of mustard greens to make pickles

In 100g pickled mustard greens, water accounts for 85.6g, with 1.7g protein, 2.3g lactic acid, 2.3g fiber, 3.4g ash. Heat generating ability is 16 calories / 100 grams.

Lactic acid and lactic acid yeast in pickles acidify intestine tissue, inhibit fermentation rotting which is harmful to intestinal bacteria.  After treatment with antibiotics, it is recommended to drink the pickled mustard greens juice in order to regenerate good bacteria in the intestine.

Pickled mustard is not a drug but can be an excellent food for people with obesity or diabetes since it’s low in glucose and low in heat generating.

Salty juice used in pickling is good for health if consumed at the right time (and if pickled in hygienic conditions), do not consume the pickled juice if it is too sour or if the pickle has rotten.

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Lecturer of Traditional Medicines. Graduated from Internal Medicine program and continued to pursue his study in Traditional Medicines. A researcher and author of numerous valuable books in traditional medicines.