The mustard seed oil a common ingredient in Indian cooking, it has a real spicy kick, which might take a little getting used to. As the name suggests, mustard oil is a fatty vegetable oil extracted from the mustard seeds. It is dark yellow in color and slightly pungent. There are generally three types of mustard oils depending upon the manner of extraction. The first is a fatty vegetable oil obtained by pressing the mustard seeds. The second one is a essential oil that is made by grinding the seeds, mixing them with water and extracting the oil through distillation. The third process involves infusing mustard seed extract with other vegetable oils such as soy bean oil. All three categories of oil have a pungent nutty taste and a strong aroma.
Being an edible oil, it is widely used for cooking in northern, central, eastern and north eastern India. Unfortunately, it was considered unfit for consumption by countries like USA, Canada and European Union as it contained erucic acid which had adverse effect on rats. However, later it was proved that vegetable fat was less digested by rats and that consumption of this oil had no adverse effects on humans. Moreover, mustard oil is rich in non-saturated and unsaturated fats, and hence is beneficial for heart.
The health benefits of mustard seed oil abound; mustard seed oil is rich in Omega 3 & 6, rich in vitamins A, E and Beta-carotene, naturally cholesterol free, high in polyunsaturated fats (contains only 5.5% saturated fat) one of the lowest rates of any oil. Add to that a high burn temperature and a very long shelf-life and you have a healthy and versatile cooking oil.
Known for its spicy flavor, it is a favored ingredient in India and Australia. You can use it like any oil, although it is often used in frying.
The term mustard oil is used for two different oils that are made from mustard seeds:
- A fatty vegetable oil resulting from pressing the seeds.
- An essential oil resulting from grinding the seeds, mixing them with water, and extracting the resulting volatile oil by distillation.
Erucic Acid in Mustard Seed Oil
Most of the mustard seed oil in the U.S. is imported and labeled, "not for human consumption". The reason for this is the presence of a fatty acid called erucic acid. According to Wikipedia: "foods containing large amounts of erucic acid are considered unfit for human consumption".
Ox-powered mill grinding mustard seed for oil.
This oil has a distinctive pungent taste, characteristic of all plants in the mustard (Brassicaceae) family (for example, cabbage, cauliflower, turnip, radish, horseradish or wasabi). It is often used for cooking in North India, Eastern India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. In Bengal, Orissa, Assam and Nepal, it is the traditionally preferred oil for cooking. The oil makes up about 30% of the mustard seeds. It can be produced from black mustard (Brassica nigra), brown Indian mustard (Brassica juncea), and white mustard (Brassica hirta).
The characteristic pungent flavour of mustard oil is due to allyl isothiocyanate. Mustard oil has about 60% monounsaturated fatty acids (42% erucic acid and 12% oleic acid); it has about 21% polyunsaturated fats (6% the omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid and 15% the omega-6 linoleic acid), and it has about 12% saturated fats.
Benefits of Mustard Oil
Benefits of Mustard Oil For Skin:
Mustard oil is extremely beneficial for skin and is often used in aroma therapy treatments. However, before applying it topically, it is advisable to do patch a test to ensure that you are not allergic to it. Moreover, cold pressed mustard oil should be considered for topical application. Some of the benefits of this oil for skin are as follows.
Removes Tan and Dark Spots:
Mustard oil is effective in removing tan and dark spots to give you a naturally glowing skin. For this purpose, prepare a face mask by mixing mustard oil, besan (Bengal gram flour), curd and a few drops of lemon juice and apply it on your face. Rinse with cold water after 10 to 15 minutes. This should be done thrice a week for best results.
Lightens the Skin:
In order to make your facial skin smooth, apply a mixture of mustard oil and coconut oil on your face and massage the area in circles for 5-6 minutes. Gently wipe your face with a smooth and wet cotton cloth. This will stimulate blood circulation, thus lightening your skin as well as getting rid of pimples.
Due to its thick consistency and high levels of vitamin E, topical application of this oil protects your skin against the harsh ultraviolet rays and other pollutants, thus preventing skin cancer. Vitamin E prevents ageing and wrinkles besides acting as a sunshield.
Stimulates Sweat Glands:
Whether consumed or applied topically, mustard oil stimulates the sweat glands and opens the pores of the skin. Thus, it helps in reducing the body temperature and removes unwanted toxins, water and salts from the body.
Treats Rashes and Infections:
Due to its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, mustard oil is effective in treating rashes and other skin infections, thus preventing your skin from dryness, dullness and itching. A body massage with mustard oil rejuvenates and cleans your skin by increasing blood circulation. Besides, due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it is effective in reducing skin inflammation and facilitates quick healing of cuts and wounds.
Mustard oil is a great remedy for dry chapped lips when lip balms or chap sticks prove to be ineffective. Before going to bed, just apply one or two drops of mustard oil on your belly button and you will never have dry or chapped lips. This is an ancient remedy which has proven to be effective in moisturizing and softening your lips.
Benefits of Mustard Oil For Hair:
Mustard Oil is great for your hair, in order to have thick and lustrous hair, then mustard oil is, indeed, a great choice as it is loaded with essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are needed for a healthy mane. Be it consumption or application, mustard oil provides essential nutrients to the hair follicles for proper growth. Some of the benefits of mustard oil for hair are as follows.
Stimulates Hair Growth:
Massaging your scalp with mustard oil stimulates hair growth by increasing blood circulation in the scalp. It is packed with vitamins and minerals, particularly, a high amount of beta-carotene. This beta-carotene gets converted into vitamin A which is excellent for hair growth. Besides, it contains iron, fatty acids, calcium and magnesium, all of which promote hair growth.
Prevents Pre-mature Greying:
Mustard oil is effective in preventing premature greying and darkens your hair naturally. Thus, instead of dyeing hair, you can massage your hair with mustard oil every night to see the result.
Prevents Hair Loss and Other Scalp Problems:
Mustard oil acts as a hair vitalizer to combat hair loss and baldness as well as treat dry and damaged hair. It prevents scalp infections by inhibiting fungal growth and keeping it hydrated. The best way is to apply a mixture of warm mustard, coconut, olive and almond oils and massage your hair for 15 to 20 minutes. Cover your hair with a shower cap and wash your hair after 2 to 3 hours, using a mild shampoo. This will make your hair long, thick and lustrous.
Benefits of Mustard Oil For Health:
Mustard oil is considered healthy as it is devoid of trans-fats, is low in saturated fats and has a high content of mono-unsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fatty acids such as omega-3. Thus, it offers an array of health benefits given below.
Good health depends upon a healthy appetite to a great extent. Mustard oil acts as an appetizer by stimulating the gastric juices in the stomach. It increases hunger by irritating the intestinal lining. Thus, those having poor appetite can consider using it as cooking oil.
Mustard oil acts as a powerful stimulant by stimulating the digestive, circulatory and excretory system. It aids in digestion by stimulating the secretion of digestive juices and bile from spleen and liver, which increase the peristaltic movement of food. Massaging the oil externally stimulates blood circulation and sweat glands, thus lowering the body temperature.
Mustard oil stimulates sensation in senseless organs and muscles. Thus, it acts as an irritant.
Mustard oil is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (MUFA and PUFA respectively) as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These acids balance the cholesterol levels by increasing good cholesterol or HDL and decreasing bad cholesterol or LDL, thus minimizing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Hence, it can be a good substitute for saturated oils like butter, cheese etc.
Reduces the Risk of Cancer:
Mustard oil contains a substance called Glucosinolate which is known for its anti-carcinogenic properties and prevents the formation of cancerous tumors. The phytonutrients provide protection against colorectal and gastrointestinal cancers.
Beneficial during Asthma:
Mustard oil is considered a natural remedy for asthma and sinusitis. In case of an asthma attack, massaging the chest with brown mustard oil instead of the usual vapor rubs can give relief as breathing in the vapor improves airflow to the lungs. You can also mix one teaspoon of sugar and one teaspoon of mustard oil and have a spoonful several times a day. Alternatively, swallow a mixture of one teaspoon of honey and mustard oil thrice a day. These remedies are effective in controlling asthma.
Relief from Cold and Cough:
This oil is beneficial for those who are prone to cold and cough as it helps clear the congestion of chest and nose. Apply a mixture of one teaspoon of mustard oil and camphor on the chest and lie back to enable the vapors to enter the lungs. For mustard oil steam treatment, add a few spoonfuls of mustard oil and caraway seeds to a pot of boiling water and inhale this steam. The strong aroma of mustard oil will warm up the respiratory system, thus providing protection against the formation and build-up of phlegm.
The anti-inflammatory properties of mustard oil make it effective for relieving the condition of irritable bowel syndrome by reducing inflammation in the lining of the stomach. A massage with mustard oil helps relieve rheumatic and arthritic pain as well as soothes sprained ankles and other joint aches and pains. Its anti-inflammatory properties can be attributed to the presence of trace mineral called selenium that is good for relieving joint and skin inflammation. In case of arthritic pain, heat 3 to 4 garlic cloves in 2 tablespoons of mustard oil and rub it on sore joints for relief. However, in case of burning or tingling sensation or appearance of rashes, immediately stop using this oil.
Mustard oil has anti-bacterial properties as it is rich in glucosinolate which does not allow microbial presence. Thus, it prevents unwanted growth of bacteria, fungi and other deadly microbes. When consumed, it fights bacterial infections in the urinary tract, colon, intestines and other parts of the digestive system as well as coughs and colds. When applied topically, it fights bacterial infections on skin.
Mustard oil also has anti-fungal properties due to the presence of a substance called allyl isothiocyanate that inhibits fungal growth. Hence, this oil can treat rashes and other skin infections caused by fungi.