Essential Oils of the Bible: The Mustard SeedApr 16, 2021
"[Jesus] said to them, "Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there.' It will move, nothing will be impossible for you" (Matthew 17:20). Luke echoes this response in Chapter 17: 5-6 when the apostles ask the Lord to "increase our faith. The Lord replies, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you."
This tiny bit of symbolic faith is all it takes to "spring up and become the largest of plants, [ ] so that birds of the sky can dwell in its shade" (Mark 4: 32). The Synoptic Gospels utilize this expanding image to expand our understanding of the kingdom of Heaven. And this tiny seed does pack a punch - a little goes an incredibly long way!
Mustard is found in both barren wastelands and nourishing gardens. It is cultivated as a pasture herb to cleanse the earth and as a soil-enriching garden cover crop. People used mustard seed in the form of a poultice in folk medicine as a topical stimulant for arthritic joints, rheumatism, and stiff muscles. It has been called upon to stimulate worn-out constitutions that have taken in too much alcohol, stimulants, or simply time. Of course, it serves us today mainly in the form of a condiment traditionally prepared from the seeds of black mustard. A little in a dressing transforms a bowl of salad greens, and just a few seeds cooked in oil and added to roasted vegetables warms the body.
Some other ways to incorporate a bit of this faith-filled plant into your life are:
· Add a few young leaves to your salad.
· Spice up a dish utilizing a tiny bit of the hot, biting mature leaves and flowers as an herb.
· A small handful of the leaves brewed into a pitcher of tea can serve as a cleansing spring tonic.
· Cooking with only a few of the spicy whole seeds described above to dress some roasted vegetables or drizzle over a finished dish stimulates a poor appetite and aids with flatulence.
· Lastly, a mustard seed bath can help clear congestion in the body and stimulate blood flow.
· A mustard seed foot bath can aid in healing fungal infections of the foot.
However, as said above, a little goes a long way, so care is needed. Essential oils containing mustard should be used with extreme care and are not be ingested. If applying topically or using in your massage oil to stimulate tissues, dilute in adequate amounts of carrier oil. Inhaling the oil can irritate mucus membranes; therefore, it is not recommended for aromatherapy or diffusion. If indulging in a healing bath, take extreme care with eyes and skin, and do not use on rashes or if your skin is sensitive to skin allergens. As we look fondly and with sweetness and respect for the faith we contain, so too, let us be nourished by the symbolic faith contained within the mustard plant.
The Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants, Matthew Wood, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA 2008.
Essential Oils: Natural Remedies, Althea Press, Berkeley CA 2015
Common Herbs for Natural Health, Juliette de Bairacli Levy, Ash Tree Publishing, Woodstock, NY 1997.
Essential Oils of the Bible: Connecting God's Word to Natural Healing, Randi Minetor, Althea Press, Berkeley, CA 2016