The medicinal parts are the fresh, flowering herb and the fresh aerial parts of the flowering plant.
Flower and Fruit
The inflorescences at the end of the stems and branches have no bracts and are initially umbelliferous-racemous, later stretching into spikes. The pedicles are thin and approximately 1.5 cm long, bearing the small flowers. The 4 sepals are 1.5 to 2.5 mm long, erect, pubescent, and narrowly elliptical. The petals are pale yellow and 3 to 4 mm long. The stamens have 0.5- to 0.5-mm long anthers. The fruit is a pubescent pod appressed to the axis of the infructescence. The fruits are 1 to 1.5 cm long and 1 to 1.5 mm thick. The almost-smooth seeds are about 1 mm long, ovate, compressed, and unwinged with reddish, yellow-brown seed-skins.
Leaves, Stem, and Root
The plant is an annual or biennial, 30 to 60 cm high, and has a thin taproot. The stem is branched, round, leafy, and covered in scattered patent hairs. The basal leaves and lower cauline leaves are petiolate-pinnatifid with 3 to 9 segments. The upper leaves are oblong-lanceolate, simple or with 2 to 4 lateral segments, and often hastate and pubescent.
The herb is found mainly in temperate Europe, but it also grows as far as northern Africa and eastern Siberia.
Hedge Mustard is the fresh flowering herb of Sisymbrium officinale.
Bank Cress, Bank Mustard, Irio, Singer's Plant, St. Barbara's Hedge Mustard, English Watercress, Erysimum, Thalictroc
Actions & Pharmacology
Cardioactive steroid glycosides (cardenolides, 0.05% in the tips of the foliage): including among others corchorosid A and helveticosid
Glucosinolates: chiefly sinigrin (allylglucosinolates) and gluconapin (3-butenylglucosinolates), releasing through cell destruction the volatile mustard oil allylisothiocyanate and 3-butenylisothiocyanate
Vitamins: ascorbic acid (vitamin C, up to 0.2 % in the fresh foliage)
Hedge mustard contains cardio-active steroids (cardenolides) and is said to be spasmolytic and analgesic. Its use for pharyngitis and laryngitis as well as severe hoarseness may be due to the mustard oils.
Indications & Usage
In folk medicine, the drug is used for laryngitis and pharyngitis, severe hoarseness including loss of voice, chronic bronchitis, and inflammation of the gallbladder.
Precautions & Adverse Reactions
No health hazards or side effects are known in conjunction with the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages.
It is conceivable that overdosage would have digitalis-like effects. These include queasiness, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, and cardiac rhythm disorders. Cases of poisonings have not, however, been recorded.
The average daily internal dose of the drug is 0.5 to 1.0 g, which would be equal to 3 to 4 cups daily of an infusion. It takes between 6 and 8 g of drug to make 1 g extract. Externally, the infusion is used as a gargle or mouthwash, several times daily.