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Sinapis Nigra. U. S. Black Mustard. Sinap. Nig. [Brown Mustard]

Related entry: Sinapis alba - Oleum Sinapis Volatile

"The ripe seeds of Brassica nigra (Linné) Koch (Fam. Cruciferae), without the presence or admixture of more than 5 per cent. of other seeds or other foreign matter. Preserve powdered Black Mustard in tightly-closed containers." U. S.

Sinapis Nigrae Semina Br. 1898; Black Mustard Seeds; Semina Brassicae; Moutarde noire, Fr. Cod.; Moutarde, Fr.; Semen Sinapis, P. G.; Senfsamen, Schwarzer Senf.; Senape nera, It.; Mostaza (Semilla de), Sp.

Linnaeus described two genera, Brassica and Sinapis, and subsequent botanists have greatly disagreed as to whether they should be considered identical or not. The revisers of the U. S. P. have adopted the opinion of Engler and Pranti and of Britton and Brown, that the two genera are distinct. The genus Sinapis differs from Brassica in that the pods of the former are terminated by a long, flat, sword-like beak, whereas in Brassica the beak is cylindrical or conical.

Common or black mustard (Brassica nigra), is an annual plant, with a stem three or four feet in height, divided and subdivided into numerous spreading branches. The leaves are petiolate and variously shaped. Those near the root are large, rough, lyrate-pinnate, and unequally toothed, those higher on the stem are smooth, and less lobed, and the uppermost are entire and narrow. The flowers are small, yellow, and stand closely together upon peduncles at the upper part of the branches. The pods are smooth, erect, nearly parallel with the branches, quadrangular, and furnished with a slender beak; seeds numerous, dark brown.

The white mustard is also annual. It is rather smaller than the preceding species. The lower leaves are deeply pinnatifid, the upper sublyrate, and all irregularly toothed, rugged, with stiff hairs on both sides, and pale green. The flowers are in racemes, with yellow petals, and linear, green calycine leaflets. The pods are spreading, bristly, rugged, roundish, swelling in the position of the seeds, ribbed, and provided with a very long ensiform beak.

Both Sinapis alba and Brassica nigra are natives of Europe and cultivated in our gardens, and B. nigra has become naturalized in some parts of this country. Their flowers appear in June. The seeds are kept in the pharmacies, both whole and in the state of very fine powder as prepared by the manufacturers for the table. The latter is sometimes mixed with spices and ground into a smooth paste with water in a mill resembling a paint mill, and then is known as French mustard.

The seeds of Brassica iberidifolia, according to O. Harz, are sometimes sold as true white mustard seed. He examined some obtained from Bavaria, which had been returned by customers to the dealers on account of their bitter and disagreeable taste. He furnishes characteristic microscopical tests for distinguishing the false from the true mustard seed. His statement, however, that powdered white mustard seed when mixed with water is odorless, and that the false gives off a strong odor of essential oil of mustard, would seem to be a good reason, if correct, for preferring the false seed. (P. J., 1887, 478.)

The Brassica juncea (L.) Coss. (Sinapis juncea L.), is extensively grown in India, and its seeds are largely exported to Europe. The same plant is also cultivated in Southern Russia. The seeds afford a very fine yellow mustard flour, and, according to Paul Birkenwald, yield 1.67 parts per hundred of volatile oil, against 1.89 parts per hundred by the true black mustard seed. (S. W. P., 1888.)

Black mustard seeds are officially described as " ellipsoidal or irregularly spheroidal, from 1 to 1.6 mm. in diameter; testa deep reddish-brown, sometimes yellowish-brown and with a grayish tinge, minutely pitted or reticulate; embryo greenish-yellow or dark yellow, oily, with two large cotyledons; odor when dry, slight, on moistening very irritating; taste strongly pungent and acrid. The powder is light brown or greenish-brown; on moistening developing a strongly pungent, irritating, characteristic odor; when examined under the microscope it exhibits numerous tissues of the embryo, the cells containing small aleurone grains and a fixed oil, the latter forming in large globules on the addition of hydrated chloral T.S.; fragments of seed-coat conspicuous, with large, polyhedral, dark yellow areas, enclosing small, yellowish stone cells, each of the latter with a dark lumen. The powder contains few or no starch grains. Black Mustard, upon distillation with steam, yields allyl isothiocyanate (distinction from White Mustard). Black Mustard yields not more than 9 per cent. of ash." U. S.

Both white and black mustard afford a powder, which has a somewhat unctuous appearance, and cakes when compressed. This is commonly called flour of mustard, or simply mustard, and is prepared by crushing and pounding the seeds and then sifting them, the purest flour being obtained by a second sifting. Both the black and the white seeds are used in its preparation. Formerly it was adulterated with wheat flour colored by turmeric, to which cayenne pepper was added to render the mixture sufficiently hot. Pure mustard powder contains very few starch granules, but was formerly adulterated with farinaceous powders; the U. S. P. VIII required that White or Black Mustard should conform to the following test: "If 1 Gm. of powdered White (or Black) Mustard be exhausted by slow percolation with alcohol, and the marc mixed with 200 Cc. of water and heated to boiling", and if, after cooling, sufficient cold water be added to make the mixture measure 1000 Cc., the addition of 4 Cc. of tenth-normal iodine V.S. should not produce a dark blue color (limit of starch); U. S. VIII.

The epidermis of white mustard seeds contains a mucilaginous substance which is extracted by boiling water. An excellent basic monograph on the pharmacognosy of black mustard is that given by Winton and Moeller in "The Microscopy of Vegetable Foods." Tschirch and Oliva have made a comparative study of the seeds of the Cruciferae, with special reference to the variations found in the seed-coat of the several species of mustard. (S. W. P., xliii, p. 614.) Spaeth gives the results of chemical and microscopical study of the mustards and some of their adulterants in Ph. Zentralh., xlix, p. 698. Carles has also contributed a valuable article on the pharmacognosy of the different mustard seeds and the commercial varieties of mustard flour in J. P. C., 1913, pp. 438 and 535. The most common adulteration of black mustard is charlock, which is the seeds of Brassica arvensis (L.) Ktze.. This plant is especially abundant in the Northwestern part of the United States and the Dakota mustard contains varying mixtures of brown mustard and charlock. The presence of charlock is very easily determined by the use of a solution of chloral hydrate which changes the color of the palisade cells to a crimson red.

When bruised or powdered, both kinds of mustard impart their active properties wholly to water, but in a very slight degree to alcohol.

They yield upon pressure a fixed oil, called oil of mustard, of a greenish-yellow color, little odor, and a mild not unpleasant taste; and the portion which remains is even more pungent than the unpressed seeds. The fixed oil of mustard consists of the glycerin compounds of stearic, oleic, and erucic or brassic acid, C22H42O2, a homologue of oleic acid. Small quantities of behenic acid, C22H44O2, also occur in oil of black mustard. This fixed oil is a yellow non-drying oil of from 0.915 to 0.920 sp. gr. at 15° C. (59° F.), solidifying at from -12° to -16° C. (10.4-3.2° F.). It has been long known that black mustard seeds yield by distillation with water a very pungent volatile oil, containing sulphur. Guibourt conjectured, and Robiquet and Boutron proved, that this oil does not pre-exist in the seeds, but is produced by the action of water. Hence the absence or very slight degree of odor in the seeds when bruised in a dry state, and their pungency when water is added. It seemed reasonable to suppose that the reaction in this case was similar to that exercised by water upon bitter almonds (see Amygdala Amara), and this has been proved to be the fact by the experiments of Simon, Bussy, Boutron, and Fremy. The composition and peculiar decompositions of the volatile oil of black mustard have already been described. (See Oleum Sinapis Volatile.)

A principle was extracted by Will from white mustard seed, with the aid of alcohol. It has been named sinalbin, and has the formula C30H44N2S2O16. It is decomposed, after the analogy of sinigrin (potassium myronate), into acrinyl sulphocyanate, C7H7OCNS, sinapine bisulphate, C16H25NSO9, and sugar, C6H12O6, an albuminoid substance being formed at the same time. "The acrinyl sulphocyanate (C7H7OCNS) is a very active principle, oily, insoluble in water, not volatile. It may be obtained by causing ether to act on the product of the decomposition of sinalbin. Treated by an alkali and then neutralized by an acid, it colors ferric chloride red." (J. P. C., Avril, 1872, 327.)

The analyses of mustard seeds and mustard flour given in the table below, are by Piesse and Stansell. (Analyst, 1880, p. 161. ),1

Analyses of Mustard White Mustard, whole seeds. White Mustard, ground. Brown Mustard, whole seeds. Brown Mustard, ground.
Yorkshire. Cambridge. Superfine. Fine. Cambridge. Superfine. Fine.
Moisture 9.32 8.00 6.30 5.78 8.52 4.35 4.52
Fatty oil 25.56 27.51 37.18 35.74 25.54 36.96 38.02
Cellulose 10.52 8.87 3.90 4.15 9.01 3.09 2.06
Sulphur 0.99 0.93 1.33 1.22 1.28 1.50 1.48
Nitrogen 4.54 4.49 5.05 4.89 4.38 4.94 5.01
Albuminoids 28.37 28.06 31.56 30.56 26.50 29.81 30.25
Myrosin and albumin 5.24 4.58 7.32 6.67 5.214 6.46 6.78
Soluble matter 27.38 26.29 36.31 36.60 24.22 31.14 32.78
Volatile oil 0.06 0.08 0.03 0.04 0.047 1.437 1.50
Potassium myronate ... ... ... ... 1.692 5.141 5.366
Ash 4.57 4.70 4.22 4.31 4.98 5.04 4.84

According to F. W. Widmayer (D. C., 1904, 8), the oil from yellow seed is of a greenish-yellow color, that of the brown seed a much darker shade. Both have but little odor and a mild, not unpleasant taste. Mustard seed oil is a semi-drying oil. The analytical data showing maximum and minimum results by M. L. Tolman and L. S. Munson on five samples are as follows: Specific gravity at 15.5° C. (59.9° F.), 0.9147 to 0.9193; Butyrore fractometer reading (15.5° C. (59.9° F.)), 74.5 to 76.5; Index of refraction at 15.5° C. (59.9° F.), 1.4750 to 1.4762; Maumene number 61.4 to 79.4; Specific temperature reaction 130.9 to 190.3; Hubl number, 98.4 to 113.0; Saponification value, 173 to 182.8; Melting point of fatty acids, 20.8 to 21.5° C. 69.4 - 70.7° F.); Free fatty acids oleic, 0.13 to 1.13 per cent.; Solidification from -8° to -18° C. (17.6° to -0.4° F.). One remarkable feature of this oil is its penetrating or diffusing power. Barrels that will hold olive, cotton seed, or petroleum oil or even new oil or alcohol barrels invariably leak on being filled with it, and it is said by one who has had extensive experience in the mustard business that it has been known to come through a tank which had stood a pressure of 80 pounds of steam. (D. C., 1904,8.)

J. U. Lloyd has proposed standards for black and white mustard seed, mainly directed towards limiting the proportion of starch; the latter is not a constituent of ripe mustard seed, but commercial mustard nearly always contains starch, due to starch-bearing seeds accidentally present in the mustard seed, or to fraudulent admixture. (A. J. P., 1898, 433.) Dieterich (Ph. Ztg., Oct. 3,1900, 767) proposed an assay for mustard seed, mustard oil and mustard paper.

Uses.—Mustard seeds swallowed whole operate as a laxative, and have acquired some reputation as a remedy in dyspepsia, and in other affections attended with torpid bowels and deficient excitement. The white seeds are preferred, and are taken in the dose of a tablespoonful (15.5 Gm.) once or twice a day, mixed with molasses, or previously softened and rendered mucilaginous by immersion in hot water. They probably act in some measure by mechanically stimulating the bowels. The powder, commonly called simply mustard, in the quantity of from one to two teaspoonfuls (3.9-7.7 Gm.), is an efficient and prompt—although unpleasant— stimulant emetic, especially valuable in narcotic poisoning. As a condiment mustard acts as a stimulant to the gastric mucous membrane, increasing according to Gottlieb (A. E. P. P., 1894, xxxiii, 261), also the pancreatic secretion. By virtue of this stimulant action it will sometimes relieve obstinate hiccough.

But mustard is most valuable as a rubefacient. Mixed with water in the form of a cataplasm, and applied to the skin, it very soon produces redness with burning pain, which in less than an hour usually becomes insupportable. When a speedy impression is not desired, especially when the sinapism is applied to the extremities, the powder should be diluted with an equal, or double, portion of wheat flour. Care should be taken not to allow the application to continue too long, as vesication with obstinate ulceration, and even sphacelus, may result. This caution is particularly necessary when the patient is insensible and the degree of pain can afford no criterion of the sufficiency of the action. In making a mustard plaster the admixture of alcohol, vinegar, or other fluid than water, should be avoided as hindering the development of the volatile oil. The volatile oil is powerfully rubefacient, and capable of producing speedy vesication, but certainly is less controllable than is

the mustard poultice. For external application as a rubefacient, 10 to 20 drops of the oil may be dissolved in a fluidounce of alcohol, or 6 or 8 drops in a fluidrachm of almond or olive oil. (See Linimentum Sinapis Compositum, N. F.) To form a sinapism it has been recommended to mix 20 drops of the volatile oil with a gelatinous mass made by heating together 3.5 drachms of glycerin and 5 drachms of starch. Lebaigue proposes applying to one sheet of paper a concentrated solution of potassium myronate, and to a second a concentrated solution of myrosin, and drying them. When used, the leaves are to be moistened and placed to the surface, one over the other. Volatile oil of mustard is formed by the reaction of the two principles, and a sinapism is obtained. (J. P. C., Aout, 1868, p. 118.) The volatile oil of mustard has been given internally in colic, two drops being incorporated with a six-ounce mixture, and half a fluidounce (15 mils) given for a dose. In overdoses it is highly poisonous, producing gastro-enteric inflammation, and probably perverting the vital processes by pervading the whole system. Its odor is perceptible in the blood, and is said to impart the smell of horse-radish to the urine. A spirit of mustard may be prepared by macerating, for two hours, 250 parts of powdered black mustard with 500 parts of cold water, then adding 120 parts of alcohol of 86 per cent., and distilling over 120 parts of spirit.

Dose, of mustard seed, one to two drachms (3.9-7.7 Gm.).

Off. Prep.—Emplastrum Sinapis, U. S.


The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.



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