Sisymbrium officinale

Sisymbrium officinale

Hedge mustard is a plant, Sisymbrium officinale of the family Cruciferae. It is found on roadsides, wasteland and as a weed of arable land. A native of Europe and North Africa, it is now well-established throughout the world.

It is distinct from the Mustard plants which belong to the genus Brassica.

The Hedge-mustard is food for the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera, such as the Small White (Pieris rapae).

Relationship with humans

The Greeks believed it was an antidote to all poisons. In folk medicine it was used to soothe sore throats - indeed one name for it is singer's plant.

Hedge mustard is a diuretic, expectorant, tonic and laxative. herbalists use the juice and flowers to treat bronchitis and stomach ailment, among other uses, and as a revitaliser. In Tibetan medicine it is used to repress the symptoms of food poisoning.

This plant is widely cultivated across Europe for its edible leaves and seeds. It is widely used as a condiment in Northern Europe (particularly Denmark, Norway and Germany).

The leaves have a bitter cabbage-like flavour and they are used either in salads or cooked as a pot herb (in cultivar versions). The seeds have been used to make mustard pastes in Europe.


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