Derivation of specific name
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Central and East Asia and Europe, cultivated
State - Kerala, District/s: Kollam, Wayanad, Idukki, Palakkad"
Distribution in Egypt
South and east Asia, cultivated and naturalized in many temperate and warm regions.
Weed of cultivation.
Habitat & Distribution
Erysiphe cruciferarum parasitises live Brassica juncea
Plant / associate
larva of Eutrias tritoma is associated with Brassica juncea
Foodplant / spot causer
colony of Pseudocercosporella anamorph of Mycosphaerella capsellae causes spots on live leaf of Brassica juncea
Life History and Behavior
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Brassica juncea
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Brassica juncea
Public Records: 5
Specimens with Barcodes: 9
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable
Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
|This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (February 2008)|
Brassica juncea, mustard greens, Indian mustard, Chinese mustard, Kai Choi, or leaf mustard is a species of mustard plant. Subvarieties include southern giant curled mustard, which resembles a headless cabbage such as kale, but with a distinct horseradish-mustard flavor. It is also known as green mustard cabbage.
The leaves, the seeds, and the stem of this mustard variety are edible. The plant appears in some form in African, Italian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and African-American (soul food) cuisine. Cultivars of B. juncea are grown as greens, and for the production of oilseed. In Russia, this is the main variety grown for production of mustard oil, which after refining is considered[according to whom?] one of the best vegetable oils. It is widely used in canning, baking and margarine production in Russia, and the majority of table mustard there is also made from this species of mustard plant. Mustard oil is also the primary cooking oil used in Eastern India.
The leaves are used in African cooking, and leaves, seeds, and stems are used in Indian cuisine, particularly in mountain regions of Nepal, as well as in the Punjab cuisine of India and Pakistan, where a famous dish called sarson da saag (mustard greens) is prepared. B. juncea subsp. tatsai, which has a particularly thick stem, is used to make the Indian pickle called achar, and the Chinese pickle zha cai. The mustard made from the seeds of the B. juncea is called brown mustard. The leaves and seeds are used in many Indian dishes.
The Gorkhas of Darjeeling and Sikkim prepare pork with mustard greens (also called rayo in Nepali). It is usually eaten with relish with steamed rice, but could also be eaten with chapati (griddle breads).
Brassica juncea is more pungent than the closely related Brassica oleracea greens (kale, cabbage, collard greens, et cetera), and is frequently mixed with these milder greens in a dish of "mixed greens", which may include wild greens such as dandelion. As with other greens in soul food cooking, mustard greens are generally flavored by being cooked for a long period with ham hocks or other smoked pork products. Mustard greens are high in vitamin A and vitamin K.
Chinese and Japanese cuisines also make use of mustard greens. In Japanese cuisine it is known as takana (タカナ, 高菜?) and is often pickled and used as filling in onigiri or as a condiment. A large variety of B. juncea cultivars are used, including zha cai, mizuna, takana (var. integlofolia), juk gai choy, and xuelihong (雪里红 or 雪里蕻; var. crispifolia）. 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 (Shiau Jie Tsai), Baby Mustard, Chinese Leaf Mustard and Mostaza.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||110 kJ (26 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||2 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.|
|Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.|
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
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, summer and autumn-sown mustard is cut down from October. April sowings can be cut down in June, keeping the ground clear for summer-sown crops. One of the disadvantages of mustard as a green manure is its propensity to harbor club root.
This 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. In particular, Schneider et al. found that Brassica juncea was particularly effective at removing cadmium from soil. Removal of heavy metals concludes with the plant being harvested and properly discarded. Phytoremediation has been shown to be cheaper and easier than traditional methods for heavy metal reduction in soils. In addition, it has the added benefit of reducing soil erosion, reducing cross-site contamination. 
- Brassica rapa – related family of edible greens used in Asian cooking
- Brassica nigra – black mustard, another mustard variety
- Brassica alba – yellow or white mustard, another mustard variety
- Brassica carinata – Ethiopian mustard
- Brassica oleracea – wild cabbage
For other edible plants in the family Brassicaceae, see cruciferous vegetables.
- Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (2004) Plant Resources of Tropical Africa 2. Vegetables. PROTA Foundation, Wageningen; Backhuys, Leiden; CTA, Wageningen.
- "Sarson Ka Saag". Retrieved 14 February 2014.
- Chandrassekaran, V. K. (February 24, 2013). "Flavour of Punjab". The Hindu. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
- 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.". PubMed 13 (6): 395–9. PMID 12713131.
- editors, Naser A. Anjum...[et al.], (2012). The plant family Brassicaceae contribution towards phytoremediation. Dordrecht: Springer. ISBN 9789400739130.
- 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.
- 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
Epidemic dropsy patients with the characteristic bilateral pitting edema of the extremities (indicated by arrows)
|Classification and external resources|
Epidemic dropsy is a clinical state resulting from use of edible oils adulterated with Argemone mexicana seed oil.
Sanguinarine and dihydrosanguinarine are two major toxic alkaloids of argemone oil, which cause widespread capillary dilatation, proliferation and increased capillary permeability. When mustard oil is adulterated deliberately (as in most cases) or accidentally with argemone oil, proteinuria (specifically loss of albumin) occurs, with a resultant edema as would occur in nephrotic syndrome.
Leakage of the protein-rich plasma component into the extracellular compartment leads to the formation of edema. The haemodynamic consequences of this vascular dilatation and permeability lead to a state of relative hypovolemia with a constant stimulus for fluid and salt conservation by the kidneys. Illness begins with gastroenteric symptoms followed by cutaneous erythema and pigmentation. Respiratory symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath and orthopnoea, progressing to frank right-sided congestive cardiac failure, are seen.
Mild to moderate anaemia, hypoproteinaemia, mild to moderate renal azotemia, retinal haemorrhages, and glaucoma are common manifestations. There is no specific therapy. Removal of the adulterated oil and symptomatic treatment of congestive cardiac failure and respiratory symptoms, along with administration of antioxidants and multivitamins, remain the mainstay of treatment.
Besides India, widespread epidemics have been reported from Mauritius, Fiji Islands, Northwest Cape districts of South Africa, Madagascar and also from Nepal. Apart from a South African study, where the epidemic occurred through contamination in wheat flour, all the epidemics occurred through the consumption of mustard oil contaminated with argemone oil.
In these populations mustard oil is the prime edible oil by culture.
The earliest reference to argemone oil poisoning was made by Lyon, who reported four cases of poisoning in Calcutta in 1877 from the use of this oil in food.
Since then, epidemic dropsy has been reported from Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Assam, J&K, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Delhi and Maharashtra, mainly due to consumption of food cooked in argemone oil mixed with mustard oil or occasionally by body massage with contaminated oil.
Even after that the epidemics occurred at alarming frequency in Gwalior (2000), Kannauj (2002) and Lucknow (2005) cities of India.
Argemone mexicana (family Papaveraceae), a native of West Indies and naturalized in India, is known as “Shailkanta” in Bengal and “Bharbhanda” in Uttar Pradesh. It is also popularly known as “Pivladhatura” or “Satyanashi”, meaning devastating. The plant grows wildly in mustard and other fields. Its seeds are black in colour and are similar to the dark coloured mustards seeds (Brassica juncea) in shape and size. Adulteration of argemone seeds in light yellow colored mustard seeds (Brassica compestris) can easily be detected, but these seeds are rather difficult to visualize when mixed with dark coloured mustard seeds.
Argemone seeds yield approximately 35% oil. Alkaloid content in argemone oil varies from 0.44% to 0.50%. Argemone seeds find use as a substitute because of the easy availability, low cost and their complete miscibility of their oil with mustard oil.
Mechanism of toxicity
Mortality is usually due to heart failure, pneumonia, respiratory distress syndrome or renal failure and is around 5%.Long-term follow-up studies are scanty so the long-term effects of argemone oil toxicity have not been documented. Its been reported that 25% of cases will have oedema beyond 2 months and 10% beyond 5 months.Pigmentation of skin and excessive loss of hair, which lasted 4–5 months following the disease. The majority of patients completely recover in about 3 months.
ROS and Oxidative stress : Studies in the blood of dropsy patients has revealed that there is extensive ROS production (singlet oxygen and hydrogen peroxide) in the argemone oil intoxication leading to depletion of total antioxidants in the body and especially lipid soluble antioxidants such as vitamin E and A (tocopherol and retinol). There is an extensive damage to the anti-oxidant defense system (anti-oxidant enzymes and anti-oxidants) of blood. Prior, in vitro studies have shown that reactive oxygen species (ROS) are involved in AO induced toxicity causing peroxidative damage of lipids in various hepatic sub-cellular fractions including microsomes and mitochondria of rats. The damage in hepatic microsomal membrane causes loss of activity of cytochrome P-450 and other membrane bound enzymes responsible for xenobiotic metabolism which leads to delayed bioelimination of sanguinarine and enhances its cumulative toxicity. Several lines of evidence have been shown to explain the mechanism of toxicity of argemone oil/alkaloid. The toxicity of sanguinarine has been shown to be dependent on the reactivity of its iminium bond with nucleophilic sites like thiol groups, present at the active sites of the enzymes and other vital proteins and thus suggesting the electrophilic nature of the alkaloid.
Pulmonary Toxicity: The decrease in glycogen levels following argemone oil intoxication could be due to enhanced glycogenolysis leading to the formation of glucose-1-phosphate, which enters the glycoltic pathway resulting in accumulation of pyruvate in the blood of experimental animals and dropsy patients. The enhancement of glycogenolysis can further be supported by the interference of sanguinarine in the uptake of glucose through blocking of sodium pump via Na+-K+-ATPase and thereby inhibiting the active transport of glucose across intestinal barrier. It is well established that increased pyruvate concentration in blood uncouples oxidative phosphorylation, and this may be responsible for thickening of interalveolar septa and disorganized alveolar spaces in lungs of argemone oil-fed rats and the breathlessness as has been observed in human victims.
Cardiac Failure:The inhibition of Na+-K+-ATPase activity of heart by sanguinarine is due to interaction with the cardiac glycoside receptor site of the enzyme,which may be responsible for producing degenerative changes in cardiac muscle fibers in the auricular wall of rats fed argemone oil and could be related to tachycardia and cardiac failure in Epidemic Dropsy patients.
Delayed clearance:Destruction of hepatic cytochrome P450 significantly affects the metabolic clearance by liver,. The retention of sanguinarine in the GI tract, liver, lung, kidney, heart, and serum even after 96 hrs of exposure indicates these as the likely target sites of argemone oil toxicity.
Withdrawal of the contaminated cooking oil is the most important initial step. Bed rest with leg elevation and a protein-rich diet are useful. Supplements of calcium, antioxidants (vitamin C and E),and thiamine and other B vitamins are commonly used. Corticosteroids and antihistaminics such as promethazine have been advocated by some investigators,but demonstrated efficacy is lacking. Diuretics are used universally but caution must be exercised not to deplete the intravascular volume unless features of frank congestive cardiac failure are present, as oedema is mainly due to increased capillary permeability. Cardiac failure is managed by bed rest, salt restriction, digitalis and diuretics. Pneumonia is treated with appropriate antibiotics. Renal failure may need dialysis therapy and complete clinical recovery is seen. Glaucoma may need operative intervention, but generally responds to medical management.
- Selective cultivation of yellow-seeded mustard with which neither black-coloured Argemone seeds nor dark-brown Argemone oil mixes well so that adulteration can easily be detected even with the naked eye.
- A strict ban on the sale of unbranded and unpacked mustard oil, and a statutory certificate from manufacturers of labelled mustard oils about the freedom of the contents from Argemone alkaloids.
- Education and motivation of farmers to cultivate yellow-seeded mustard and to make them aware of the identity of Argemone plants which grow as weeds in mustard fields.
- Government agencies involved in enforcing the provisions of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act must be made accountable in the event of occurrence of such epidemics. This means exemplary punishments for unscrupulous traders.
- Sharma, B. D.; Malhotra, S.; Bhatia, V.; Rathee, M. (November 1999). "Epidemic dropsy in India". Postgraduate Medical Journal 75 (889): 657–661. doi:10.1136/pgmj.75.889.657. PMC 1741391. PMID 10621875.
- Das, M.; Khanna, S. K. (1997). "Clinicoepidemiological, Toxicological, and Safety Evaluation Studies on Argemone Oil". Critical Reviews in Toxicology 27 (3): 273–297. doi:10.3109/10408449709089896. PMID 9189656.
- Lyon, I. B. (1889). Textbook of Medical Jurisprudence for India (1st ed.). p. 214.
- Das, M.; Babu, K.; Reddy, N. P.; Srivastava, L. M. (2005). "Oxidative Damage of Plasma Proteins and Lipids in Epidemic Dropsy Patients: Alterations in Antioxidant Status". Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1722 (2): 209–217. doi:10.1016/j.bbagen.2004.12.014. PMID 15715957.
- Reddy, N. P.; Das, M. (2008). "Interaction of Sanguinarine Alkaloid, Isolated from Argemone Oil, with Hepatic Cytochrome p450 in Rats". Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods 18 (8): 635–643. doi:10.1080/15376510701738439. PMID 20020849.
- Das, M.; Ansari, K. M.; Dhawan, A.; Shukla, Y.; Khanna, S. K. (2005). "Correlation of DNA Damage in Epidemic Dropsy Patients to Carcinogenic Potential of Argemone Oil and Isolated Sanguinarine Alkaloid in Mice" (pdf). International Journal of Cancer 117 (5): 709–717. doi:10.1002/ijc.21234. PMID 15981203.
- Seifen, E.; Adams, R. J.; Riemer, R. K. (1979). "Sanguinarine: A Positive Inotropic Alkaloid which Inhibits Cardiac Na+, K+ -ATPase". European Journal of Pharmacology 60 (4): 373–377. doi:10.1016/0014-2999(79)90245-0. PMID 230984.
- Eruvaram, N. R.; Das, M. (2009). "Phenotype of Hepatic Xenobiotic Metabolizing Enzymes and CYP450 Isoforms of Sanguinarine Treated Rats: Effect of P450 Inducers on its Toxicity". Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods 19 (8): 510–517. doi:10.1080/15376510903313825. PMID 19788401.
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