Does mustard really make you stupid?

Mustard is not just mustard. It is available burning hot, mild or sweet, refined with herbs, spices or fruit. Numerous mustard specialties now enrich the culinary offer.

History of Mustard

Mustard, which is also known as “inconspicuous flowering wild herb” and is native to the Mediterranean, was already known in ancient times as a medicinal and spice plant.

Already 300 BC Mustard was cultivated in India as a coveted spice plant. After the Greeks and Romans had described the various effects of mustard in the 1st century, the Romans finally brought it across the Alps. At the request of Charlemagne in 795, mustard was increasingly cultivated. This promoted the spread in Central Europe.

In the 13th century, the French city of Dijon obtained a monopoly on mustard production. Dijon mustard is still a particular specialty today.

Types, Ingredients and Production of Mustard

Mustard belongs to the cruciferous family. Two main types can be distinguished here

  • White mustard  (Sinapis alba) has sand-colored grains and is mildly spicy.
  • Black mustard  (Brassica nigra) produces seeds with a rich dark brown skin that can be removed. The embossed sharpness rises in the nose, eyes and palate.

The ingredients include glucosinolates or the mustard oil formed from them, fatty oil,  protein  and mucus. Overall, these ingredients can have a hyperemic (blood circulation-promoting), skin-irritating or bacteriostatic (bacteria-inhibiting) effect.

The production of mustard is uncomplicated, but always different in terms of taste. The grains are washed, polished and crushed. After that, the crushed grains are mixed with the remaining ingredients.

Beer gives a piquant taste, wine or mustard a spicy taste and vinegar a mild  taste . If you mix the crushed grains with water, you get a very sharp taste.

Mustard is healthy!

The statement that mustard makes you stupid is heard again and again. The reason for this misconception is probably a confusion of names. There are so-called  cyanogenic mustard oils , which one could assume from their name in mustard. These toxic, hydrocyanic acid-forming substances in excess effectively damage the brain.

However, the assumption that the toxic substances are contained in mustard is absolutely wrong, since mustard oils are mainly found in  bitter almonds  and bamboo shoots. In mustard they are not present at all. However, many other mustard oils, which are formed by the ingredient glucosinolate, are very well included. Mustard has this in common with horseradish, cress and radishes, among others.

However, the mustard oils they contain generally have a positive, stimulating property. They promote gastric juice production and  salivation  and ultimately digestion. So it makes sense to eat mainly fatty foods such as sausage with mustard.


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