RAJIKA (Brassica juncea)
There are two varieties of mustard seeds – one is black mustard and the other –white mustard, which are used for medicinal purpose as well as food, since centuries. Ayurvedic Samhita have vividly described the properties and medicinal uses of these two varieties separately. Though they are two separate herbs, more or less, their properties are similar. Charaka has categorized the white variety as asthapanopaga – adjunct to decoction enemas and the black variety as kandughna – antipruritic.
The plant is cultivated throughout India, especially in Bihar, Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. It is a large branching annual, growing up to 0.6-1 meter in height. The leaves broadly ovate, coarsely dentate, the lowest ones lyrate and slightly hispid whereas, the upper ones lanceolate, all stalked, dark green in colour. The flowers in corymbose racemes, stalked, bright yellow. The fruits, siliqua, 2.5-5 cm long, oblong-linear. The seeds are brownish-red, tiny.
The botanical name of rajita is Brassica juncea and it belongs to family Brassicaceae. The white variety – sarsapa is botanically known as Brassica alba. The seeds of rajika contain 20%-25% stable oil. Brassilexin isolated from leaves and its structure elucidated. Trans – Ocimene identified as a major component along with allylisothiocyanate.
Rajika is pungent and bitter in taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and has hot potency. It alleviates vata and kapha doshas. It possesses light and sharp attributes. It is emetic, digestant, anti-inflammatory and irritant in properties. It is used in the diseases like abdominal pain, anorexia, worms, and diseases of the spleen, tumours and wounds.
The seeds and seed oil of rajika is used for medicinal purpose. Externally, the massage of seed oil is useful in arthritis. In skin diseases, the local application of seed oil is beneficial as it is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. The seed oil, with salt is an effective gargle in dental infections and pyorrhea. The paste of its seeds is applied in backache, arthritis, paralysis,stye, oedema of the lungs and liver. The tub bath of its decoction is useful in amenorrhea. The massage with its seed oil should be done not more than 5-10 minutes and the skin should be slashed off, as the oil is irritant.
Internally, the seed powder is used in various diseases. It is commonly used as a household remedy. In hiccup, 0.5 gm of seed powder is given along with the ghee and honey. The seed powder 0.5 gm, with sugar and ghee augments the appetite. It relieves the phlegm in cough, when chewed with rock candy. Abdominal pain is relieved when it is given along with jaggery. Mustard seed is used in larger doses (5gm) as an emetic in cases of poisoning and causes hyperdipsia, burning sensation and other disorders due to vitiation of pitta dosa. Rajika is beneficial in anorexia, dyspepsia, tumors, worm infestations and splenic disorders.
Classical Ayurvedic Preparations
Rajika bija taila.