Mustard is a wellknown seed which is produced from mustard plants which belong to the genera Brassica and Sinapis. Dry mustard seeds are small, round and brown or grayish in colour. The seeds are known to have plentiful benefits as they are low in calories and high in dietetic value. The major mustard producing states are Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan. It has a pungent smell. Mustard is one of the most important spices that is used commonly, especially in eastern part of India in many dishes such as in fish curries as it adds a different flavour to the food.
Mustard oil, as the name suggests, is extracted from the seeds of mustard which have a scientific name Brassica Nigra (Black Mustard). Apart from cooking, it is used in many traditional practices like lighting the holy diyas. It contains about 60 per cent of monounsaturated fatty acids and 20 per cent of polyunsaturated fatty acids. It also contains calcium and natural anti-oxidants. It is clear and free from any other residue. These fatty acids make certain that the risk of cardiovascular diseases is less by maintaining a balance of cholesterol level in the body. The common man uses mustard oil as kachhi ghani in our country.
■ Mustard oil contains Vitamin A, Vitamin E, proteins and antioxidants. All these components make it quite functional for hair. Mustard oil acts as a catalyst for hair growth. The vitamins pledge that the hair grow rapidly and in a healthy manner ensuring that the hair fall reduces at a faster rate. Massage with mustard oil acts as a safe and natural conditioner and it leaves hair silky and soft.
■ The presence of fatty acids makes the mustard oil a very good hair vitalizer by providing nourishment to the roots. Regular massage should be done to increase the volume of hair by preventing the hair fall efficiently.
■ It has valuable anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. When mustard oil is consumed through diet, it helps prevent infection in all the organs of the digestive system like stomach, intestines and urinary tract. It is also used as antibacterial oil and it can be directly applied to the skin help wrestle fungal infections.
■ If taken regularly, it is very significant in giving relief from migraine attacks.
■ It is also believed to facilitate digestive juices which support in proper digestion.
■ It is quite effectual in producing a soothing effect for those suffering from cold, asthma and sinusitis.
■ Mustard oil is used for massages as it is believed to increase the blood transmission, muscular maturity and skin consistency.
■ In winter it is used massively to keep the body warm and prevent skin drying. Mustard oil keeps the immune system strong. It also makes teeth and gums strong.
Despite so many indomitable advantages, Mustard oil has been replaced by the so-called heart healthy oils in the recent years. It would not be valuable for us if we stop using this treasure.
By Monalisa Biswal