Using Mustard Flowers Italian Gardens
Italian fields are now ablaze with a plant that possesses the color of the sunniest day and that provides the world with one of the hottest flavors on the menu...mustard!
Hippocrates, the great Greek physician, was busy writing about the healing properties of this plant four centuries before the birth of Christ- he recommended that the crushed seeds of this plant should be mixed with vinegar and applied as a poultice for external irritations.Sinapsis alba is a very common wild flower that displays its stunning yellow flowers almost all year round but it really shows off in early spring- transforming the dull, wintry Italian countryside into a sea of the brightest yellow, reflecting the bright Italian spring sunshine splendidly and offering an anticipated taste of the hot summer to come. Although extremely common in Europe its properties are far from simple and have been noted across the centuries by physicians and chefs alike.
If I were to tell you that Sinapsis provides a natural pesticide, a medicine and that you could even run your car on the volatile oil derived from its seeds you would possibly find it quite hard to believe - but such is the case!! Sinapsis also provides the garden designer with a fantastic flower color, attracting droves of honeybees and large quantities of green manure, when cut and collected, that can be composted and used as a soil improver and mulch to retain water loss and keep down weeds.
Flowering at the same time as one of Italy's other superstars, the poppy, it provides a stunning yellow backdrop which propels the bright reds of Italy's glorious spring into the eye of any passing eye.
Producing masses of seed, which are around 2.5mm long and stored in pea-pod like capsules, sinapsis is able to colonise vast swathes of countryside and is almost invariably present in fields and wasteland throughout Italy and, along with the poppy, is one of the first plants to germinate using the ecologica wild flower system.
Can be used for...
- Minor skin irritations, stimulating the circulation of the treated area of the skin.
- When diffused in alcohol can be used to ease gout pain, rheumatism and lumbago
Various internal inflammations, skeletal and muscular pain, sciatica and neuralgia. When applied to the skin it is then absorbed within the body and is expelled through the lungs- inducing an antibacterial action even there.
- The oil, in a diluted form, can be ingested and can increase appetite by stimulating the production of digestive liquids in the intestine.
- When taken as a tea or even just sprinkled in a bath the seeds can aid colds, fever and flu.
'HOT' MUSTARD TEA
Pour boiling water into a cup with 1 tablespoon of crushed mustard seed and leave for 5 minutes. Can be drunk 3 times per day.
Note: Consult your doctor to establish any possible, harmful side-effects before preparing the tea!
By Jonathon Radford