The Mustard Seed Tree is a significant plant in the Christian faith. Christ refers to the faith of believers as being similar to this plant. He said that if they had even the smallest degree of faith, like the tiny size of the seeds, it would grow like this tree, into a greater fullness that would help them to accomplish great things and miraculous wonders through their ever-growing faith. The Mustard Seed Tree starts as a tiny seed, but when properly cared for, it grows large. It’s hard to believe that something that starts so small could become a massive living thing. Here is everything you need to know about the Mustard Seed Tree including its place in religious faiths, how to grow them properly, and why they are so highly prized.
The Mustard Seed Tree Origins
Hektoin International traces the Mustard Seed tree back to the stone age. This ancient plant is documented in archeological records from Stone Age settlements discovered near Mesopotamia. It is believed that mustard seeds were ground by ancient Sumerians to create a paste of unripe grapes and ground seeds. Evidence of the seeds has also been found in ancient Egypt in Tutankhamun’s tomb. The Romans also used ground mustard seeds to make early condiments to flavor their foods. As trade strengthened, they took mustard seeds to Gaul, then Europe, and it spread throughout Asia and the rest of the world. Ancient humans viewed as treasures the tiny mustard seeds. They carefully cultivated them to create the flavor enhancer that has become a staple condiment in most countries and cultures. They have farmed the Mustard Seed Tree throughout the entire world for centuries, but it all started in the Mesopotamia region, near the cradle of civilization. The history dates back as far as archaeologists can document. Mustard Seed Trees have historical value as one food we now enjoy, previously enjoyed by man as soon as he could learn how to use plant parts to refine them into many of the modern condiments we now enjoy.
The Mustard Seed Tree in Literature
Mustard Seed trees appear through ancient literature through the modern age. Jesus Christ refers to the mustard seed in his parable about faith. It starts small and grows when nourished. The reference appears in the Book of Mark in the Holy Bible. Many authors have quoted this passage since that time.
We can learn lessons from the Mustard Seed Tree
Finding God Among Us shares six life lessons that we can learn from the Mustard Seed tree. We can take a small positive and turn it into something massive. It also teaches us that there is the effort required to get there. The mustard seed requires care and attention, or the plant dies while still in the seedling stage. It’s applicable for gardeners and non-gardeners. Exposure to sunlight and warmth help the mustard seed to sprout and grow into a mighty tree. The fruit features brilliant colored blossoms. It teaches us a lesson about nurturing to achieve and sustain meaningful growth. We must weed the Mustard Seed tree to protect it from dangerous, noxious plants removed for it to thrive and realize its true potential. The plant needs food and water, and we must take action to keep it alive and help it grow. In its early stages, gardeners must show commitment to nurturing the vulnerable seedling until it grows strong enough to survive on its own.
Medicinal value of the Mustard Seed tree
According to Hektoin International, the Mustard Seed tree existed for centuries, lauded for its medicinal purposes. The condiment made from the ground seeds is tasty, but the mustard seed also has healing properties. The earliest recorded use of mustard as a medicine goes back to the era of Pythagoras in the sixth century BC. He recommended putting mustard on scorpion stings to relieve the discomfort and draw out the poison. A century later, mustard appeared in poultices and other medicines by Hippocrates. The folk remedy mustard plaster for toothaches, sore throats, snakebites, hysteria, and other ailments by the Greeks, then the Romans. They believe that mustard seed also aids digestion and helps clear up bronchitis and pneumonia. Mustard seed helps dieters lose weight as it reduces calorie intake when used as a condiment in foods.
Nutritional value of mustard seeds
Mustard seeds are chock full of healthy nutrients essential for the proper function of the human body. They contain the minerals iron, manganese, magnesium, and selenium. These nutrients offer anti-inflammatory benefits and help relieve various medical conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, and asthma. The niacin and vitamin B3 found in mustard seeds boost the autoimmune system, help you digest your food better, reduce cholesterol and improve the health and appearance of your hair and skin. Mustard seeds also contain phytonutrients. These compounds inhibit the growth of cancer cells in the digestive system. The gas created from mustard seeds is a key ingredient in some chemotherapy pharmaceuticals. A mustard-based medicine also helps relieve the symptoms caused by bee stings. It also provides relief from chronic pain and aches as a topical application. Mustard plasters found popularity centuries ago. They’re still popular treatment options today.
We can use the Mustard Seed tree for an evil
There is a dark side to the Mustard Seed tree. Although most of its benefits are positive, it is the basis for the infamous mustard seed gas. Some created a weapon of war known as chemical mustard gas with the seeds. This product is not the kind used in chemotherapy, though. One byproduct of mustard is sulfur when made into an oil. Most nations have banned this oil because it is dangerous for human consumption. You can only use it externally. Bans from the United States, the European Union, and Canada require this label to apply to all mustard seed oil manufactured for topical use. Mustard gas is still in use as a deadly weapon of war. Unfortunately, there is still a lot in existence.
Symptoms of mustard gas poisoning
Mustard gas is deployed in the air and it has detrimental effects on people who breathe it in. It can cause damage to the eyes, the skin, the respiratory system, and it can also cause respiratory problems. Exposure can also cause depression of the bone marrow and damage to the organs years after inhaling it. It also causes blisters on the skin and can lead to poor health down the road. It is a biological weapon that is not difficult to manufacture. The Mustard Seed tree does have its dark side in history and the present world.
The commercial benefit of mustard seeds
Mustard seed is grown as a cash crop. Farmers grow the trees to produce the seeds that are ground into various types of condiments that help to flavor our foods and provide us with health benefits for natural remedies for a host of ailments. The tiny seeds have multiple uses with companies from various industries buying the seeds or preparations made with seeds for hundreds of different products and applications. It is a money-making crop that is also highly valued for its commercial value. Mustard seeds are ground to release their flavor. Hundreds of different kinds of mustard preparations are made to give us choices of healthy and tasty condiments on various foods. There is no need to worry about commercially prepared mustards as they are perfectly healthy. It is an exceptional cash crop that only requires 1,000 seeds to make an 8-ounce container of mustard. Companies have invested in research to develop mustard with a high content of oil for making a renewable liquid fuel called biodiesel. Mustard seed is also used to make a meal that is pressed into an oil for use as a pesticide. Certain varieties of Mustard Seed plants are grown as cattle feed. Who could have imagined that mustard seed has so many unique uses?
How many types of Mustard Seed plants are there?
Although there exist hundreds of different cultivars of Mustard Seed plants, there are three main species for producing seeds. The most common types are Sinapis alba, the White Mustard Seed tree, Brassica Nigra, the Black Mustard Seed tree, and Brassica Juncea, the Brown Mustard Seed tree.
Where you can grow Mustard Seed trees
You can grow a Mustard Seed tree in zones 7 to 10. You will need to have a space of at least 20 feet to grow a mature tree. They grow to 6 feet high for the small varieties and up to 20 feet tall and 20 feet in diameter for the drooping branches at full maturity. You can grow Mustard Seed plants as a bush or a tree, depending on the variety you choose and how you prune it. The choice is yours.
Growing Mustard Seed trees is a labor of love
Grow Mustard Seed bushes and plants from seeds. Soak the mustard seeds to encourage germination. It is a labor of love that takes time to nurture the tiny seeds into seedlings. Begin the process by soaking the seeds between moistened paper towels. Keep them wet for 4 to 7 days until the seeds sprout, then transfer germinated seeds into nursery pots. Plant the seeds in nutrient-rich soil. Water the plants when the soil dries. One plant per container is sufficient. You can plant multiple seeds in one container, but you will need to thin them to just one so their plant doesn’t have competition for the soil nutrients. Keep varieties that become large trees indoors for the first three years. Raising indoors helps them become well-established. The plants are viable seedlings when you see the main stem turn brown. Before transplanting the seedlings, prepare well-tilled beds with nutrient-rich soil. The soil should also be moist but not muddy. Space the seedlings 12 to 15 feet apart for bushes and up to 20 feet apart for trees. It’s essential to confirm the variety of mustard seed you’re growing, its intended purpose, and how large the plant will grow to get the spacing just right. They raise some types of Mustard Seed plants in large clumps to harvest the leaves for greens, while others are more similar to ground cover. Our focus here is the type that grows into large bushes or trees, but remember, many mustard plant varieties exist. In the summer months, mustard plants require weekly watering. It helps the roots grow and become established. Trees and shrubs form a tap root that will maintain the plant as it matures.
Growing mustard for the greens and seeds
Mustard can be grown for harvesting the greens as well as the seeds. The leaves grow best in cool weather and varieties for greens can even tolerate light frost. These plants can be sown directly into the soil placing the seeds one inch apart in rows that are 8 inches apart. These plants do best when grown indoors and transplanted as seedlings 6 to 18 inches apart, depending on the recommendations for the variety on the package. Harvesting leaves to serve on the table in cool weather gives them a sweeter flavor. Warm weather harvest makes the leaves taste spicy. If you’re growing the plants to harvest the seed, you may need to stake them because they will grow tall and droop over under the weight of the seeds. The average harvest time for mustard greens is six weeks after transplant into a garden. Harvest the larger leaves near the base and leave smaller leaves on the inside to grow for the next harvest. They’re nutritious additions to salads and sandwiches. They store in the refrigerator for a week. The seeds are mature when they become a light brown color. Seeds can remain viable for planting for up to 6 years.
Mustard Seed plants come in various species and subtypes. It’s important to check the details before purchasing the seed so you know if you have a variety that grows into bushes, trees, or as a type of ground cover. There are multiple uses for the leaves and the seeds from this ancient and useful plant. We hope you’ve enjoyed learning the history and the practicalities of this unique plant, and wish you the best of success in growing them.