Indian kitchens are unique as they feature some of the most aromatic and healthy ingredients to make meals all the more better. One such staple of an Indian kitchen is mustard oil. We have all come home to the sound of our favorite dishes sizzling over a pan of mustard oil and the experience was quite otherworldly. In addition to enhancing the taste, mustard oil possesses a host of other benefits which makes it one of the best essential oils on the planet.
What are mustard seeds?
The ingredient from which mustard oil is made, mustard seeds are typically of three types – black, brown and yellow. They are indigenous to South Asia and the majority of mustard seed cultivation occurs in India, Pakistan and Nepal. In addition to making oil, mustard seeds are used as condiments in curries and for pickling.
How to make Mustard Oil?
Although mustard oil is commercially available, it is not as prominent as the other varieties. Therefore, most people tend to make mustard oil at home. There are two ways by which this can be achieved. In the first method, mustard seeds are left to dry in the sun to get rid of all moisture. This method essentially involves crushing the seeds to extract the oil. Once the seeds have been adequately dried, they should be checked for purity to ensure that other particles do not make their way into the bunch. Following that, the seeds are gently heated to optimize the amount of oil that can be extracted. Once heated, the seeds are pounded by crushing machines for over an hour. Following that, pressure is applied to extract the oil into a vessel. The oil should be filtered to remove any residual impurities. Et voila! Your mustard oil is ready to be enjoyed.
The above method is relatively straightforward albeit being a tad cumbersome. Since crushing equipment is required for the earlier process, it is not always feasible to employ this method at home. The second method is comparatively easier to carry out in this regard. In this process, a carrier oil such as coconut oil is required. Boil a cup of carrier oil in a pan. Add the mustard seed to the oil and continue boiling until the color turns into a brownish hue. Stop the heat at this point and transfer the oil to a glass container. Let it cool for an hour and refrigerate the mustard oil.
Benefits of Mustard Oil
Mustard oil has been used for centuries as it possesses a plethora of beneficial properties. Let’s take a look at what makes this essential really special.
Stimulates Better Skin & Hair
Mustard oil is widely used in South Asia as a topical agent and is usually massaged on the skin and hair. It is rich in Vitamin E which doubles as an antioxidant as well. Therefore, mustard oil is the perfect face mask that helps your skin break free of wrinkles and fine lines. Regular application of mustard oil on the skin also helps to enhance the skin tone. Mustard oil promotes hair growth as well and aids in strengthening hair owing to the beta-carotene found in it. Thus, making mustard oil a constant in your beauty regimen can deliver terrific dividends.
Safeguards against Infection
Studies have shown that mustard oil has antimicrobial properties and can help fend off infections caused by bacteria, fungi and viruses. Much of the antimicrobial properties of mustard oil is attributed to the presence of glucosinolate in the essential oil. Consuming mustard oil is particularly effective in relieving the body of digestive tract infections. The antibacterial and antifungal properties of mustard oil also makes it a solid alternative cure for treating dandruff.
Supports Cardiovascular Health
Diseases related to the heart are becoming increasingly common in the modern age and is one of the most common types of lifestyle disease. Mustard oil has the potential to improve heart health as it is a rich source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids as well as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. These fatty acids are capable of reducing the risk of heart diseases by around 50%. They do so by tackling the risk factors that lead to serious cardiovascular complications such as high blood sugar levels, triglyceride and blood sugar levels. Moreover, mustard oils have shown to reduce LDL cholesterol levels making it the perfect choice for better heart health.
Inflammation is usually painful or, at the very least, highly uncomfortable. Prolonged inflammation can even lead to more serious complications. Studies have shown that mustard oil has very strong anti-inflammatory properties due to the presence of selenium and omega-3 fatty acids in it. The oil can be applied topically to the inflamed regions. They are particularly effective to relieve pain caused due to arthritis and can reduce the severity of pneumonia or bronchitis symptoms.
Cough & Cold Relief
The pungent and hot nature of mustard oil makes it the ideal home remedy for coughs and cold. They help to relieve congestion in the respiratory tract while enhancing blood circulation in the body. Couple mustard oil with steam treatment for faster relief.
Mustard oil is truly a wonderful essential oil that has a host of benefits which makes it a must-have for every kitchen. From Ayurveda to Ancient Chinese Medicine, the health benefits of mustard oil have been established for centuries making it a reliable option to use at home.