Mustard Oil

A vegetable oil, mustard oil is hauled out from the mustard plant seeds (botanical name Brassica juncea). Actually, Brassica juncea commonly refers to brown mustard, Indian mustard, Chinese mustard and Oriental mustard plants.

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Mustard seeds are loaded with monounsaturated fatty acids, which are known to lower the chances of developing many ailments, especially cardiovascular disease. Nevertheless, foods cooked in this vegetable oil may also create serious hazards for some people, especially children.

Broadly speaking, mustard oil is available in three varieties - a fatty vegetable oil, an essential oil and one that is infused with some base oil such as soybean oil. The fatty mustard oil is extracted from the mustard seeds and has a pungent flavour. On the other hand, the essential mustard oil is prepared through the distillation process. In fact, the aroma of unadulterated mustard oil is so strong that it has the ability to disquiet the sinus. While many Western nations have banned the use of pure mustard oil, south Asian countries such as India use this variety of mustard oil extensively in cooking.

Mustard oil, which is hauled out of or distilled from mustard seeds, is a multipurpose edible oil that is used for culinary as well as therapeutic purposes. Mustard seeds are among the most common variety of seeds you can find in the Mediterranean region and they produce an oil which is aromatic and also has a calming effect on our skin. In addition, since this oil goes well with various types of herbs and spices, it has the ability to produce several different oils that are perfect for cooking and cold dressing purposes.

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Many oils possess soothing properties and can be applied topically to ease discomfort or pain. As far as these properties are concerned, mustard oil is known to be effective in alleviating discomfort and pain associated with arthritis. While mustard oil leaves behind little or no residue, it also has an enjoyable aroma that is likely to appeal to users. In fact, this oil serves as an ointment for curing stiff joints. Since long mustard oil has been therapeutically used for this purpose and even today it is recommended to people who have a preference for natural agents for treating a variety of health conditions.

When mustard oil is used in cooking, it works in a different way compared to most other cooking oils. While using mustard oil for culinary purpose, you need to allow it to reach its smoking point before you use it for stir-frying as well as other dishes that are cooked on a stovetop. When you allow the oil to attain the heat needed for smoking it will actually attain an appealing smoother mustard flavour.

Storing mustard oil containers is easy because it keeps well in room temperature. Till the time you do not open a mustard oil container, you can store the oil inside a cabinet in your kitchen. However, once the container has been opened, it ought to be stored in a refrigerator. When you use this method to store mustard oil, the oil will remain fresh and you can use it for many months.

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Generally, you will not find mustard oil in the supermarkets. However, these days some chains that have started adding organic vegetables and a wide variety of ethnic foods are also selling mustard oil as an option for organic food lovers. Even if mustard oil is not available at your neighbourhood supermarkets, you can obtain it somewhat easily from any grocery store selling Indian or Mid-Eastern food products.

Since ages, people have been using mustard oil for both culinary as well as therapeutic purposes. This oil is widely used in Asian nations, especially north India, for preparing various cuisines. This vegetable oil has a potent state that is attributed to the various compounds contained in mustard seeds. These compounds are also present in wasabi and horseradish.

All said and done, a controversy rages over the use of mustard oil because the latent risks of using this oil is high. In fact, this is the reason why the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the use of mustard oil for culinary purpose.

Health benefits

As discussed above, mustard oil contains loads of monounsaturated fatty acids. Findings of some studies have consistently shown that incorporating monounsaturated fatty acids in your diet helps to lower the chances of developing cardiovascular diseases like strokes and heart attacks.

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According to one systematic review, people who have diets that are rich in monounsaturated fatty acid content not only have lower blood pressure, but they also have less body fat compared to those who did not intake sufficient amount of monounsaturated fatty acids. As we are aware, high blood pressure and elevated amounts of body fats augments the risks of developing cardiovascular disease.

It is worth mentioning here that compared to mustard oil, the levels of monounsaturated fatty acids present in olive oil and avocados are much higher.

On the other hand, mustard oil contains a compound known as allyl isothiocyanate, which may be very effective in reducing inflammation.

According to the findings of one study, allyl isothiocyanate has the potential to work as an anti-inflammatory agent. The authors of the study noticed this effect of allyl isothiocyanate during cell cultures - cells that researchers grow in laboratory settings under controlled situations. Nevertheless, they also found that the anti-inflammatory effect of the compound was relatively less in mice.

Meanwhile, findings of studies undertaken more recently hinted that allyl isothiocyanate was useful in reducing inflammation, besides offering a wide range of additional health benefits in mice suffering from colitis - a condition wherein there is inflammation in the colon.

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In fact, inflammation is associated with a variety of ailments and it can result in numerous symptoms. If it is established that mustard oil possesses the ability to reduce inflammation, then this vegetable oil can be used to treat all these health conditions.

However, it is believed that topical application of warm mustard oil may help to alleviate pain caused by muscle ache or injury. It can also help to provide relief to people enduring excruciating symptoms of arthritis and rheumatism.

Apparently, this is effective because mustard oil contains the essential trace mineral selenium, which works to reduce inflammation associated with arthritis and rheumatism. Using mustard oil to massage the areas affected by these conditions may help to provide ease to such patients.

Mustard oil is said to possess warming properties and, hence, when you massage your body with this oil it may help to improve blood circulation throughout the body and also to your skin. Often, people in India blend mustard oil with specific essential oils to improve blood circulation throughout the body. In addition, massaging your body with mustard oil may be effectual in providing relief from stress. In other words, this oil can also work as a natural stress buster.

Applying mustard topically has many health benefits. When you massage mustard oil into your muscles it causes a soothing effect, as this oil works to provide relief from aches and pain. In addition, it also promotes blood circulation to different parts of the body, especially where increased blood flow is necessary. As the blood circulation improves, it ensures that all the vital organs as well as the extremities receive additional oxygen.

Mustard oil contains numerous nutrients such as omega fatty acids and they have the ability to keep your hair nourished. They also promote hair growth and make them stronger as well as healthier. Moreover, they make your hair appear shinier.

If you want to use mustard oil on your hair, you need to massage some of this oil blended with coconut oil into your hair as well as the scalp. Subsequently, wrap your head with a warm towel for about 20 minutes allowing the oils to penetrate into the hair follicles as well as the skin. Since mustard oil helps to promote blood circulation to your skin and scalp, it may also aid in stimulating hair growth.

Generally, mustard oil has topical applications, particularly in massage therapy. This is primarily owing to the oil's pain-relieving and warming properties. According to some sources, mustard oil also contains elevated concentration of vitamin E.

Vitamin E has the ability to make significant contributions to make our skin healthy and soft. At the same time, this nutrient also works to reduce the signs of premature aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles. In fact, you can also use mustard oil to heal brittle/ breaking nails or cracked heels.

Nevertheless, one needs to take some care while applying this vegetable oil to the skin. According to a study reported in 2007, mustard oil can even prove to be toxic to some people's skin. In India, this vegetable oil is often used as massage oil, especially on newborn babies. Despite this, one should apply mustard oil topically cautiously and stop using it if they notice any adverse effects or reactions.

On the other hand, people using mustard oil for culinary purposes may be unknowingly receiving the portent health benefits it offers. It has been found that consuming foods cooked in mustard oil helps to alleviate constipation, which can be caused by the use of specific medications.

The health benefits of mustard oil are many. This oil has the ability to heal cuts and scrapes. Applying a paste of mustard oil and turmeric is a well-known traditional remedy for minor cuts. Simply add one teaspoon of turmeric to some mustard oil and make a paste by blending the two properly. Subsequently, apply the paste topically to the minor injury and allow the paste to remain. Initially, applying the paste will cause a slight stinging sensation, but soon this will fade. This paste is antiseptic and, therefore, effective in healing minor cuts.

It may seem incredible, but mustard oil is also a potent massage for your gums. Mix half teaspoon of rock salt with some mustard oil and apply it topically to your gums using your fingers. In certain Asian nations, this massage has been used traditionally to prevent gum diseases such as pyorrhea. Recently, a clinical trial has also validated the effectiveness of massaging the gums with rock salt and mustard oil to cure periodontitis.

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