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.1 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.
Apart from being a favorite in grandma’s kitchen, this oil forms a part and parcel of Indian tradition and culture. It is used for lighting ‘diyas’ in Diwali as well as in rituals performed in North Indian weddings. Being a rich source of omegAlpha3 and omegAlpha6 fatty acids, vitamin E and antioxidants,1 it is considered as one of the healthiest oils. It has been used in Ayurveda since times immemorial due to its healing and medicinal properties and is considered beneficial for hair, skin and body.
Mustard Oil Benefits:
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.
1. 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)1, 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.
[ Read: Remedies for Dark Spots on Face ]
2. 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.
3. Natural Sunscreen:
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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Lip Care:
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.
[ Read: Remedies To Treat Swollen Lips ]
Benefits of Mustard Oil For Hair:
If you wish for long, 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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 al2mond 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.
[ Read: Black Cardamon Benefits ]
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.
10. Increases Appetite:
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.
13. Cardiovascular Benefits:
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.
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. 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.
17. Anti-inflammatory Properties:
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.
20. Prevents Malaria:
Mustard oil is an effective mosquito repellent as it can deter insects with its sharp aroma. Thus, it helps in preventing malaria and other insect-borne diseases.
21. Other Benefits:
Mustard oil is an all-round tonic for health as it benefits all the systems operating in the body, provides strength and boosts immunity. It can be used along with other oils to massage infants as it improves weight, length and circumference of mid-arm and mid-leg besides providing strength.
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Nutritional Value of Mustard Oil1:
Mustard oil has an edge over other oils due to the optimum ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and low content of saturated fats. Its nutritional profile is given below.
1. Nutrition Facts:
Mustard oil Mustard oil
|Amount Per 1 tsp (4 g) 1 tbsp (14 g) 100 grams 1 cup (218 g) 100 grams|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total fat 100 g||153%|
|Saturated fat 12 g||60%|
|Polyunsaturated fat 21 g|
|Monounsaturated fat 59 g|
|Sodium 0 mg||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 0 g||0%|
|Dietary fiber 0 g||0%|
|Protein 0 g||0%|
- Key Nutrients: It comprises of about 60% monounsaturated fats (MUFA), 21% polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) and 12% saturated fats. These fatty acids are considered ‘good fats’ as they do not get deposited on the arterial walls. Its pungent and sharp flavor can be attributed to a compound called Allyl Isothiocyanate. It also contains Glucosinolate which has anti-microbial properties. Mustard oil does not contain carbohydrates, fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. Being a vegetable source, mustard oil contains alpha-linolenic acid or ALA, an essential omega-3 fatty acid. One teaspoon of mustard oil contains around 0.8 gram of omega-3 fatty acid.
- Calories and Fat: One tablespoon of mustard oil contains about 124 calories. It contains about 14 grams fat out of which 8.3 grams is monounsaturated fat, 2.9 grams polyunsaturated fat and 1.6 grams unsaturated fat. It has a lower content of monounsaturated fat in comparison with olive, flaxseed, grape seed and peanut oil.
Few Ways of Mustard Oil Usage:
- Apply the oil on the skin for 10 mins to remove tan, reduce the signs of aging as well as the heat that causes itching and redness.
- Mustard oil massage all over the body will help offer strengthening and deep nourishing properties to the skin along with relaxing and rejuvenating the body.
- Mustard oil boiled with henna leaves is said to increase hair growth, while strengthening the hair from the follicle.
A few tips before embarking on the journey of using mustard oil
- Always do a patch test before using mustard oil on the skin.Opt for lower strength or cooking mustard oil to avoid rashes etc
- Watch for any adverse reaction/ allergies after introducing mustard oil into your diet
- Choose high quality branded mustard oils and be careful of adulterated oil products
- When using mustard oil as a base for tempering , it must be heated to smoking point for the full flavor.
Hence, mustard oil comes in the category of healthiest oils with an array of health benefits whether used as cooking oil or applied topically. However, before using it for cooking or external application, ensure that you are not allergic to it. Discontinue using it if you experience any swelling, extreme irritation or rashes. Moreover, it should not be directly applied on the skin as it can be harsh to sensitive skin. It should be mixed with other oils or ingredients to get maximum benefits.