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What is Mustard Oil
Mustard oil is made from mustard seeds. It is a fatty vegetable oil that is a dark yellow colour and has a nutty taste and strong smell. It is perhaps most well known in cooking, especially in India. Like any natural remedy, there are some potential side effects if consumed in doses that are too high, but generally mustard oil is praised as a great health and beauty product with many benefits.This article takes a look at a breakdown of mustard oil benefits for skin, hair and health, possible side effects and how to use it.
Mustard Oil Nutrition Facts & Calories
When using mustard oil in your cooking, aim for no more than one tablespoon and one or two if adding to a salad or a sauce. There are 124 calories per tablespoon (tbsp) of mustard oil. It is made up of monosaturated fat (8.3grams per tablespoon) but less than other oils such as olive oil and flaxseed oil. There are no carbs, fibre or protein in mustard oil. It has a high content of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and low saturated fats (the bad kind of fat). It is made up of 60% monosaturated fats (the good kind of fat).
Benefits of Mustard Oil For Skin
Mustard oil is great for your skin and can be applied topically. A little can go a long way and it is best to use occasionally rather than daily. Here are some of the benefits for your skin …
- Helps treat skin complaints:
Mustard oil is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal so it is often used to help clear up skin infections or rashes. It is also used in massage oils because it helps prevent the skin from being dry, dull or itchy and it can increase blood flow and circulation. Mustard oil is a good addition to the first aid kit for helping to speed up the healing process from wounds and to reduce inflamed skin.
- Sun protector:
Mustard oil is high in Vitamin E and thick in consistency. As such, it acts as a barrier to protect the skin against harmful UV rays from the sun, therefore reducing the risk of sunburn. It is a natural sun block and Vitamin E helps keep skin stay youthful and avoid premature ageing that the sun can cause such as thinning of the skin and wrinkles. As well as acting as a sunscreen, mustard oil can also help get rid of tan and reduce or remove dark spots. It can be mixed with besan, curd and a couple of drops of lemon juice and applied to the face as a mask to help leave it flowing.
- Skin lightening:
Mixed with coconut oil, mustard oil massaged in to the skin and wiped away with cotton wool can help increase blood circulation and help your skin appear brighter and fresh. It is also a great skin treatment for removing pimples and unwanted marks and blemishes. It can help skin look less tired and dull, and appear smoother.
- Lip moisturiser:
There’s nothing more annoying that dry, chapped lips and mustard oil can act as a lip balm, helping soften the lips and avoid them cracking. A tiny drop can really help moisturise the lips.
- Stimulates the sweat glands
When you consume mustard oil or apply it to the skin, it stimulates the sweat glands and opens up the pores in the skin, helping to shift unwanted toxins or body salts. Mustard oil is a key ingredient of a body detox.
- Preventing hair loss:
Mustard oil is often praised for helping against hair loss because it treats dry or damaged hair, prevents hair fall and is a great hair treatment as an ingredient in conditioning masks.
- Reduce scalp problems:
As we’ve mentioned in the skin section, mustard oil is antibacterial and anti-fungal. Add it to coconut, olive and almond oil for a hair mask to work its magic for around 20 minutes to help clear up any scalp irritations. It is also beneficial in preventing and reducing dandruff.
- Hair growth:
Mustard oil increases blood flow and circulation to the scalp, helping hair grow long and strong. Thanks to being packed full of nutrients, such as calcium which promotes growth, it is great to add to your hair as a mask treatment or when consumed.
- Banishes greys:
Most people try to cover up the grey hairs and the good news about mustard oil is that it prevents premature greying of the hair and helps naturally darken your hair. Massaging mustard oil into your hair daily can act as a natural darker dye.
- Reduces cancer risk:
Straight in with a big health claim for mustard oil and that is that it has anti-carcinogenic properties (in the substance Glucosinolate) that can prevent tumours from forming.
- Respiratory care:
Asthma sufferers or those with sinus problems can use brown mustard oil instead of their usual vapour rubs to help open up the airways and help you breathe easier. Mixed with honey, it can be consumed for similar effects. It helps control the condition of asthma and the severity of asthma attacks thanks to stimulating blood flow and lung function.
- Alleviates coughs and colds:
In the same way that mustard oil helps asthma sufferers, it also helps clear cold and cough congestion. It can be ingested, used as a soothing vapour rub or added to boiling water for a steam treatment. It helps the respiratory system and has a strong aroma to clear those airways up!
- Helps the cardiovascular system:
Mustard oil has good fats which are good for the heart as well as omega-3 fatty acids. They help decrease bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol levels, meaning cardiovascular issues are less likely, such as heart disease.
Conditions such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) can be reduced by taking mustard oil because it helps reduce internal inflammation. It is also effective when used as a muscle rub to help conditions such as arthritis and rheumatism. Some people with sport injuries or who have just had knee replacement operations rub mustard oil to the area to reduce any inflammation.
- Body boost:
Mustard oil is a stimulant that helps body processes including digestion and circulation. It can really wake the body up and improve the way it works. The oil can stimulate bile and help food movement, for example. It also increases appetite.
- Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal:
Mustard oil stops the growth of unwanted bacteria that can cause infections. It also has anti-fungal properties and can help treat rashes and skin complaints.
- Teeth whitener:
No need to spend a fortune on dental cosmetic treatments such as teeth whitening, when mustard oil can do the same thing! When consumed, swill it in the mouth and see your teeth appear brighter.
- Insect repellent:
Particularly effective in repelling mosquitos with the aroma, this in turn helps stop the spread of malaria (carried by mosquitos).
Benefits Of Mustard Oil For Hair
Mustard oil is rich in essential nutrients and your hair will love it! Here’s why …
Mustard Oil Benefits For Health
Mustard oil has no trans-fats (or the bad fats) but is full of good fats. For this reason, it is often discussed because of its many health benefits. Here are just a few reasons why…
Side Effects of Mustard Oil?
Everybody is different and reacts to things differently. When trying something new, such as mustard oil, it is important to be vigilant of any unique side effects to you as an individual and if in doubt, seek medical advice. If you intend to apply mustard oil topically, perform a patch test. In other words, spread a tiny bit on your skin and leave it on for a few hours. If there is a reaction – redness, sore or rash – do not continue using it.
Mustard oil is high in erucic acid and alpha-linolenic acid and because of this there are arguments for and against how safe it is to consume and in what dose. If used incorrectly it can be toxic and affect the heart.
Here are some possible side effects to be aware of …
- Erucic Acid reactions:
Mustard oil contains a large amount of erucic acid (up to 45%) which is highly toxic. Side effects caused by the higher doses of eurcic acid include anaemia, cancer, respiratory problems, diarrhoea and digestive issues. In high doses, it can even be fatal so it is important to use with caution.
- Heart issues:
While mustard oil can be good for healthy hearts, high levels of eructic acid can damage the heart. One condition it could cause is ‘myocardial lipidosis’ where lesions develop due to a build up of fat. This can damage the cardiovascular system and even cause heart failure. If you are unsure, it is important to seek medical advice and if you feel any adverse effects such as heart palpitations or pain, seek medical attention urgently.
- Increases Lung Cancer Risk:
Mustard oil can be too strong for some lung function, causing breathing difficulties and even making some people more prone to lung cancer. While mustard oil can help respiratory problems, if the dose is too high, it can do the complete opposite.
Mustard oil is strong. When ingested it can cause inflammation inside your body which can lead to various problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Skin damage:
Using mustard oil regularly for a long time can start to have an adverse effect on our skin. We know how great it can be for skin, but it should be used sparingly. It is a powerful oil that can mess with the skin’s protective layer. Take extra care when using mustard oil on young children.
As with any remedy, natural or not, there can be allergy issues. People react differently to mustard oil, and while there are many benefits we’ve outlined in this article, some people can experience an allergic reaction. Symptoms include redness, itchiness, dry skin, inflammation, blotchy skin or cracked skin. Allergies can be quite common as mustard oil is powerful, but they are not usually serious or severe. If they persist, seek medical attention and stop using mustard oil.
- Pregnant Women Should Not Use Mustard Oil:
It is not advisable to use mustard oil if you are pregnant as it has been linked to miscarriage. It’s also considered too strong for babies and toddlers and possibly older people.
Limiting the consumption and dose of mustard oil means it is relatively safe for adults to use but care should always be taken and you should be aware of the potential side effects in case they appear.
How to use Mustard Oil
Mustard oil is often used in cooking and has been for some time. It is an oil and can be added to stir fry’s and other dishes. It is sometimes also used as a salad dressing or drizzled over pasta dishes. A little goes a long way as the taste and aroma is strong. It can be ingested by taking a drop or two by mouth. Otherwise, it is often used as a massage oil applied topically or mixed with other ingredients in face or hair masks and muscle rubs. It is worth keeping some mustard oil in your emergency first aid kit, beauty bag and kitchen store cupboard thanks to how versatile a natural remedy it is.
Where to Buy Mustard Oil
Most leading health stores will sell mustard oil products. Be sure to check the label carefully before buying. It can also be purchased online. Take a look at the strength and purity of the product before purchasing and make sure you understand what dose is best and how often. The good thing about buying online is that you can check reviews from others who have bought the product. Mustard oil is great to be used with other oils, such as coconut oil, for various treatments and is a worthwhile addition to your remedy purchases.
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