Benefits of mustard oil Here is a list of the benefits which mustard oil offers. Go through and find out how it can benefit you.
BY: SUN STAFF Sep 14, 2010 — CANADA (SUN) — A journey through India: border to border, bhoga to prasadam.
The word "mustard" was originally used to describe the condiment, rather than the seed itself. The ancient Greeks and Chinese were using prepared mustard thousands of years ago. The ground seeds were often mixed with the unfermented juice of grapes, called a 'must'. Today, nearly 400 million pounds of the yellow stuff is eaten worldwide each year. India is a major producer, which large tracts of mustard being cultivated in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and the Punjab.
Mustard seeds are mentioned in many religious texts around the world, including Vedic sastra and Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scriptures. One of the earliest references to mustard is found in a 5th century B.C. story about Gautama Buddha, who instructed a grieving mother named (Kisagotami), who had just lost her son, to visit every house in the village and collect a handful of mustard seeds from any family that had never lost a husband, parent, child or friend. When the woman could not find such a family, she understood that grief over death is shared by all, and she was relieved of her burden.
In the Srimad Bhagavatam (4.9.58-59), we find an interesting passage, in which the Sanskrit term for mustard seed is siddhartha:
"Thus as Dhruva Maharaja passed on the road, from every place in the neighborhood all the gentle household ladies assembled to see him, and out of maternal affection they offered their blessings, showering him with white mustard seed [siddhartha -- white mustard seed], barley, curd, water, newly grown grass, fruits and flowers. In this way Dhruva Maharaja, while hearing the pleasing songs sung by the ladies, entered the palace of his father."
Many of the references to mustard in Vaisnava sastra refer to the oil, which is favored not only for cooking, but also for massaging into the skin. In Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya lila 25.206, we read about Subuddhi Raya, who used his money to help Vaisnavas in need, particularly Bengalis visiting Mathura who became distressed by the unfamiliar diet. He would graciously provide them with rice and yoghurt to eat, and mustard oil to rub on their bodies.
In Srimad Bhagavatam 3.23.32 we also read about Devahuti being adorned with various cosmetic substances. Before her bath, she was smeared with turmeric mixed with mustard seed oil. Not only does mustard help eliminate toxins from the body, it is also excellent for keeping the body warm and moist, especially in the cold of winter. But as Srila Prabhupada explains in his purport to Antya lila 12.108, oils such as mustard, ghee and flora oils are only meant to be used by grihastas. Sannyasis should not use such oils, especially perfumed oil.
The benefits of mustard oil are enumerated in the Vedas, Upanishads, Charak-samhita, and other texts. Modern science is now beginning to understand and acknowledge the value of mustard oil, and consequently the commodity is more highly valued in the marketplace. Mustard oil provides good fatty acids, and helps to reduce cholesterol and heart problems, being more healthful in this regard than sunflower and other oils. Research has shown that those frying foods in mustard oil have a reduced rate of heart attack, by almost 71%.
In Ayurveda, mustard seeds are recommended for digestive problems, because of the heat generated by the active ingredients. Mustard plasters are also indicated for respiratory and circulatory problems, helping to stimulate blood flow and soothe inflammation. Mustard is known to help relieve muscle and joint pain, and is a great appetite stimulator. It's also said to be a powerful anti-microbial.
When buying mustard oil for cooking, it's common to find bottles on western grocery store shelves that say 'for external use only'. Although the oil has been valued for cooking since ancient days in India, there now appears to be a move by west agro-interests to defame mustard oil, which is the third most-used cooking oil on the globe, competing with canola oil (favored by big agro) and palm oil.
When cooking with mustard oil, it's a common practice to heat it until it just begins to smoke. This helps to burn off some of the substance that gives it a sharp taste and smell, making the foods fried in it more palatable.
One way to enjoy the nice flavor of mustard oil is in dishes featuring potatoes. They fry up crispy and golden, and the potato takes on the full flavor of the oil. While many potato preps are seasoned with mustard seeds, here a few of our favorites that feature both seeds and oil.