Medicinal plants have an enormous contribution in the primary healthcare systems of local communities, particularly in developing countries like India. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that up to 80% of the world’s population in developing countries depends on locally available plant resources. The conventional pharmaceuticals are often expensive or inaccessible, and toxic too. Among the diversity of medicinal plants, Khardal (Brassica nigra) is one of the medicinal plants used extensively in various non-communicable/ chronic and degenerative diseases. It is an annual weedy plant which has immense edible as well as medicinal value. The use of Khardal has been in practice right from pre-historic period in the form of mustard plaster which was first described by Dioscorides (Circa 1st CE). Khardal also finds its mention in the holy Quran. The Unani physicians recommend Khardal in a number of ailments. In the light of current scientific literature, the pharmacological actions of Khardal in various non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, neurological disorders, respiratory diseases, joint diseases, cancer, vitiligo and alopecia have been revalidated. A review on Khardal has been undertaken, especially in order to establish its role in NCDs.
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