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.
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, 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:
The uses of mustard oil are many. To make this an easier read we have split this article into the heads of health, skin and hair 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), 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 a good solution 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 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.
[ 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.
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