Mustard comes from the seeds of the mustard plant, either white, brown or black. The mustard seeds are mixed with lemon juice, salt, water and other liquids, seasonings and spices to make the condiment that ranges in color from bright yellow to dark brown.
White mustard originated in the Mediterranean and is generally the bright yellow condiment used on hot dogs and hamburgers today. Brown mustard originated in the Himalayas which is generally seen at Chinese restaurants and is the base for most American and European mustard blends. Black mustard is popular in the Middle East and Asia where it was originated.
Mustard is sold as a power, as whole seeds or as a condiment sauce, which is referred to as prepared mustard. Mustard offers significant nutritional and health benefits. Mustard seeds contain isothiocyanates that are nutrients that help prevent the growth of certain cancer cells. Mustard also helps reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and asthma due to the high levels of selenium. The selenium also reduces magnesium in the body which is related to high blood pressure and migraine headaches.
The Romans were the first to use mustard as a condiment, grounding the seeds at the table and mixing them with unfermented grape juice or wine.