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
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
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.
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
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
- The oil, in a diluted form, can be ingested and can increase
appetite by stimulating the production of digestive liquids in the
- 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