Brassica juncea

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Brassica juncea
Brassica juncea - Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen-168.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Brassicales
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Brassica
Species: B. juncea
Binomial name
Brassica juncea
(L.) Czern.

Brassica juncea, commonly brown mustard, Chinese mustard, Indian mustard, leaf mustard, Oriental mustard and vegetable mustard, is a species of mustard plant.[1] One subvariety is southern giant curled mustard, which resembles a headless cabbage such as kale, but with a distinct horseradish or mustard flavor. It is also known as green mustard cabbage.


Fresh mustard greens
Fried mustard green dish


Cantonese-style braised mustard greens, with wolfberries

The leaves, seeds, and stems of this mustard variety are edible. The plant appears in some form in African, Nepali, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Italian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and African-American (soul food) cuisines. Cultivars of B. juncea are grown for their greens, and for the production of oilseed. The mustard condiment made from the seeds of the B. juncea is called brown mustard and is considered to be spicier than yellow mustard.[2]

Because it may contain erucic acid, a potential toxin, mustard oil is restricted from import as a vegetable oil into the United States.[3] Essential oil of mustard, however, is accepted as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe).[3] But in Russia, this is the main species grown for the production of mustard oil. It is widely used in canning, baking and margarine production in Russia, and the majority of Russian table mustard is also made from B. juncea.

The leaves are used in African cooking,[4] and all plant parts are used in Nepali cuisine, particularly in the mountain regions of Nepal, as well as in the Punjab cuisine of India and Pakistan, where a dish called sarson da saag (mustard greens) is prepared.[5] B. juncea subsp. tatsai, which has a particularly thick stem, is used to make the Nepali pickle called achar, and the Chinese pickle zha cai.

The Gorkhas of Darjeeling, Sikkim and Nepal prepare pork with mustard greens (also called rayo in Nepali). It is usually eaten with relish and steamed rice, but can also be eaten with roti (griddle breads). In Nepal it is also a common practice to cook these greens with meat of all sorts specially goat meat; which is normally prepared in a pressure cooker with minimal use of spices to focus on the flavour of the greens and dry chillies. Brassica juncea (especially the seeds) is more pungent than greens from the closely related Brassica oleracea (kale, broccoli, and collard greens),[6] and is frequently mixed with these milder greens in a dish of "mixed greens".

Chinese and Japanese cuisines also make use of mustard greens. In Japanese cuisine, it is known as takana and often pickled for use as filling in onigiri or as a condiment. Many varieties of B. juncea cultivars are used, including zha cai, mizuna, takana (var. integrifolia), juk gai choy, and xuelihong. Asian mustard greens are most often stir-fried or pickled. A Southeast Asian dish called asam gai choy or kiam chai boey is often made with leftovers from a large meal. It involves stewing mustard greens with tamarind, dried chillies and leftover meat on the bone. Brassica juncea is also known as gai choi, siu gai choi, xaio jie cai, baby mustard, Chinese leaf mustard or mostaza.[7]

Cultivar Image Name
Canola Brassica juncea var. juncea.JPG Brassica juncea subsp. juncea
Zha cai Brassica juncea subsp. tatsai - Zha cai (zhà cài 榨菜).jpg Brassica juncea subsp. tatsai
Mizuna Mizuna 001.jpg Brassica juncea var. japonica
Juk gai choy JfCamachilesMabalacatMustasa426fvf.JPG Brassica juncea var. crispifolia
Takana Takanaduke2.jpg Brassica juncea var. integrifolia (= B.j. var. rugosa')


In 100 grams, cooked mustard greens provide 26 calories and are a rich source (20% or more of the Daily Value) of vitamins A, C and K which is especially high as a multiple of its Daily Value. Mustard greens are a moderate source of vitamin E and calcium. Greens are 92% water, 4.5% carbohydrates, 2.6% protein and 0.5% fat (table).

Mustard greens, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 110 kJ (26 kcal)
4.51 g
Sugars 1.41 g
Dietary fiber 2 g
0.47 g
2.56 g
Vitamin A equiv.
618 μg
7400 μg
10400 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.041 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.063 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.433 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.12 mg
Vitamin B6
0.098 mg
Folate (B9)
9 μg
Vitamin C
25.3 mg
Vitamin E
1.78 mg
Vitamin K
592.7 μg
118 mg
0.87 mg
13 mg
42 mg
162 mg
9 mg
0.22 mg

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Green mustard[edit]

Vegetable growers sometimes grow mustard as a green manure. Its main purpose is to act as a mulch, covering the soil to suppress weeds between crops. If grown as a green manure, the mustard plants are cut down at the base when sufficiently grown, and left to wither on the surface, continuing to act as a mulch until the next crop is due for sowing, when the mustard is dug in. In the UK, mustard sown in summer and autumn is cut down starting in October. April sowings can be cut down in June, keeping the ground clear for summer-sown crops.[citation needed] One of the disadvantages of using mustard as a green manure is its propensity to harbor club root.


This mustard plant is used in phytoremediation to remove heavy metals, such as lead, from the soil in hazardous waste sites because it has a higher tolerance for these substances and stores the heavy metals in its cells.[8] In particular, Brassica juncea was particularly effective at removing cadmium from soil (Schneider et al.).[9] The process of removing heavy metals ends when the plant is harvested and properly discarded. Phytoremediation has been shown to be cheaper and easier than traditional methods for heavy metal reduction in soils[example needed]. In addition, it has the effect of reducing soil erosion, reducing cross-site contamination.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Brassica juncea". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 
  2. ^ Sakorn, P.; Rakariyatham, N. (June 13, 2012). "Biodegradation of glucosinolates in brown mustard seed meal (Brassica juncea) by Aspergillus sp. NR-4201 in liquid and solid-state cultures". Biodegradation. 13 (6): 395–9. PMID 12713131. 
  3. ^ a b "Detention Without Physical Examination of Expressed Mustard Oil". US Food and Drug Administration. 18 March 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2016. 
  4. ^ Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (2004) Plant Resources of Tropical Africa 2. Vegetables. PROTA Foundation, Wageningen; Backhuys, Leiden; CTA, Wageningen.
  5. ^ Chandrassekaran, V. K. (February 24, 2013). "Flavour of Punjab". The Hindu. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Ghawi, S. K.; Shen, Y; Niranjan, K; Methven, L (2014). "Consumer acceptability and sensory profile of cooked broccoli with mustard seeds added to improve chemoprotective properties". Journal of Food Science. 79 (9): S1756–62. doi:10.1111/1750-3841.12556. PMID 25156799. 
  7. ^ "Kai Choi - Your British Oriental Vegetable Grower". 
  8. ^ a b editors, Naser A. Anjum...[et al.], (2012). The plant family Brassicaceae contribution towards phytoremediation. Dordrecht: Springer. ISBN 9789400739130. 
  9. ^ Schneider, Thorsten; Haag-Kerwer, Angela; Maetz, Mischa; Niecke, Manfred; Povh, Bogdan; Rausch, Thomas; Schüßler, Arthur (September 1999). "Micro-PIXE studies of elemental distribution in Cd-accumulating Brassica juncea L". Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms. 158 (1-4): 329–334. doi:10.1016/S0168-583X(99)00356-0. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Everitt, J.H.; Lonard, R.L.; Little, C.R. (2007). Weeds in South Texas and Northern Mexico. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press.  ISBN 0-89672-614-2.

External links[edit]