Mustard oil is the oil extracted from the seeds of Brassica juncea plant.
Mustard oil is used for cooking, pain relief, massages and various cultural rituals throughout India, especially in the Northeastern states.
During winter, many Indians use warm mustard oil to massage their feet after showering or bathing. Mustard oil is equally popular in Indian cuisines and is used in a wide variety of traditional preparations
Because of its warming qualities, it is mostly used during the winters rather than summers. One can choose to use mustard oil during the colder months of the year depending on where you live.
Mustard Oil and Massage:
Mustard oil penetrates deep into the skin. Due to its hot potency, it is a powerful Ayurvedic remedy for treating excess Vata and Kapha problems. Since not everyone can bear mustard oil for massage, it can be diluted with coconut oil. It is an excellent massage oil, especially in the winter, for keeping the body warm, muscles relaxed, and for treating numbness or other Vata problems.
It can also be used to treat rheumatism, lumbago, back pain and muscle ache.
Mustard Oil for Cooking:
Mustard oil has in general pungent taste and hot potency. It improves digestion, has a scraping effect (Lekhan) and is useful in managing diseases caused by Kapha, build-up of fat and derangement of Vata.
Cold-press and unrefined mustard oil is a good option for cooking purposes. One must remember its hot potency while cooking, so a person dominated by the Pitta energy, should not use it more frequently or should be cautious. A combination of Mustard and turmeric makes the potency hotter, and that combination should therefore be avoided unless recommended by your Ayurveda expert.
The use of mustard oil for cooking is recommended for those who have elevated lipid levels, cardiac disorders, diabetes, skin diseases, skin infections, swellings and growths. In filariasis, mustard oil is recommended for internal application with a juice made of the leaves of Pongamia glabra. Mustard oil is specifically contraindicated for enema.
Mustard Oil and Skin:
Mustard oil is an effective antifungal, anti-parasitic, antibacterial, disinfecting and antimicrobial oil that protects the skin against infections, prevents wounds from getting septic and heals minor skin problems like cuts, athlete’s foot, ringworm, insect bites, small lacerations, abrasions etc.
Mustard Oil and Hair:
Mustard oil is extremely good for hair. Applying mustard oil on your scalp can vitalize your hair follicles and can correct pigmentation problems, this way it can help maintaining natural dark hairs for long.
The essential fatty acids like linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid), and certain other components present in this oil, make it an effective natural remedy for treating hair loss due to fungal infections, premature greying, dull and lifeless hair.
How to use Mustard Oil on scalp?
Use one tablespoon of mustard oil and dilute it with coconut oil or sesame oil as per your constitution, gently massage with this blended oil on your scalp. Leave this blend for about an hour before washing it with herbal shampoo or shikakai. It is nourishing, natural conditioning for hair, reduces hair fall, improves blood circulation and strengthens the roots. Caution should be taken to avoid mustard oil getting in contact with the eyes or the mucous membrane in the nose.
Mustard Oil and respiratory system:
Mustard oil is generally used as a mucolytic in many parts of the world. It is effective in breaking up mucous deposits and helps sinus drainage in cases of chronic sinusitis. Due to its antimicrobial property, mustard oil helps in combating other respiratory problems like bronchitis, asthma and tuberculosis.
According to Ayurveda, respiratory problems like cold, cough, sinusitis, bronchitis and asthma are caused by an imbalanced or an increased Kapha dosha, which accounts for fluid retention, congestion, phlegm and mucous deposits. For this purpose, mustard oil is used for an Ayurvedic procedure called Nasya therapy. Here, the face is massaged with sesame oil and gentle fomentation is given to face and neck region with a towel dipped in hot water. After that, 2 – 4 drops of mustard oil is instilled into both nostrils. This therapy cleanses the sinuses and clears the nasal blockage.
Mustard oil due to its pungent taste and hot potency is known to pacify and reduce Kapha and is used as an excellent Ayurvedic remedy for treating such respiratory problems. Chest massage with mustard oil followed by steam can loosen mucous deposits by removing phlegm from lungs and respiratory tract and help achieve trouble-free breathing.
Mustard Oil and Vata (Neurological) Problems:
Mustard oil is useful in chronic arthritis, tingling and numbness of limbs, musculoskeletal pains like backache and tremor.
Mustard Oil for cholesterol:
An animal experimental study conducted on 24 female mice showed significant reduction in body weight and serum TC, TG, LDL and VLDL levels.
Home remedies with Mustard Oil:
Mustard oil is mixed with lemon juice and instilled to the lesions ofkiolonychia (nail bed infections). 5-8 days application helps to relieve the pain effectively.
In case of severe headache, mustard oil is added with a pinch of salt and mixed well. 2 drops of this mixture is instilled to both the nostrils. This relieves the headache immediately.
Mustard Oil as base for preparing herbal oils:
Due to its immense skin benefitting effects and also due to its rubefacient effect (improves local blood circulation), mustard oil is used as base oil to prepare many Ayurvedic herbal oils and liminents such as:
BrihatMarichaditailam and MarichadiTailam: Used for the treatment of dermatitis, eczema and tinea infection.
Somaraji oil: Used for the treatment of eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis etc.
Hingvadi taila: An herbal oil, made with asafoetida, ginger, herbs, etc. and used as ear drops to treat earache and infection.
Shambukadi taila: used as ear drops to relieve ear infection.
Contraindication of Mustard Oil for external use:
Because mustard oil is hot, pungent and penetrating oil, it may worsen bleeding and burning sensation. For this reason, it is not used in disorders associated with hemorrhage. Since it can increase Pitta Dosha, it is not used orally or externally in people with Pitta Dosha body type.
Its oil is not recommended for oral or external use in infants, during pregnancy and lactation period.