There are three main varieties of mustard that are grown worldwide. White mustard seeds (Brassica alba), are light straw yellow colored and are slightly larger than the other two varieties. White seeds have a mild pungency. Brown mustards (Brassica juncea), seeds are native to sub-Himalayan plains of Northern India. Black mustard (Brassica nigra) seeds are commonly grown in South Asia. The seeds are sharp and more pungent than the other two varieties. Mustard seeds are very rich in phyto-nutrients, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants. Mustard seeds are an excellent source of essential B-complex vitamins. B-complex groups of vitamins help in enzyme synthesis, nervous system function and regulating body metabolism.
Mustard seeds has good amounts of phytonutrients called glucosinolates. Myrosinase enzymes in mustard seeds break apart the glucosinolates into other phytonutrients called isothiocyanates. The isothiocyanates, have been studied for their anti-cancer effects, and in animal studies, which involved gastrointestinal tract and colorectal cancer, intake of isothiocyanates helped to inhibit growth of existing cancer cells and protect against the formation of such cancer cells.
Mustard seeds is a very good source of selenium, which helps reduce the symptoms of asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and helps prevent cancer. Magnesium in mustard seeds helps reduce the severity of asthma, lowers high blood pressure, restores normal sleep patterns in women who are dealing with the symptoms of menopause, reduces the frequency of migraine attacks, and helps prevent heart attacks. Mustard seeds boost the body’s metabolic rate. This enables the body to burn calories more efficiently, promoting weight loss.
Mustard Oil Health Benefits
Mustard oil, contain vitamins and minerals along with alpha omega-3 and alpha omega-6 fatty acids. They also contain antioxidants, which is an effective home remedy for hair growth. The vitamins ensure strong hair and prevent hair from falling out. The fatty acids in mustard oil conditions the hair. Massaging hair with mustard oil improves blood circulation in the scalp and prevents infection.
In India, women massage themselves with mustard oil to get rid of sunburns, and keep the skin moisturized in winters. It also increases blood circulation in the body. A quick massage with mustard oil before taking a bath is helpful in getting rid of the dryness and itch caused during winters. Mustard oil is known to have antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Mustard oil may fight bacterial infections inside the colon, intestines, urinary tract and other parts of the digestive system.
Mustard oil is used for cooking. It is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and reduces cholesterol levels in heart patients. Mustard oil reduces bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol in the body. It also contains erucic acid, which is why it has been banned in some countries. But it has been used for thousands of years in countries like India as a cooking medium. Since mustard oil is rich in vitamin E, it enhances the body’s immune system and brain functioning. Article on health benefits of mustard oil
Mustard oil has antifungal properties, and hence can be applied to the skin directly to fight fungal infection. It boosts appetite and helps digestion by stimulating the secretion of gastric juices. It helps patients suffering from sinusitis, coughs, colds and other respiratory problems.
Mustard oil can be applied topically to relieve pain in rheumatism and arthritis. It is an effective home remedy to help soothe sprained ankles, joint aches and pains.
Mustard Home Remedies
- Mustard plasters (powdered mustard mixed in water to make a paste and spread on a clean cloth) can be applied on the chest for chest congestion, and on the related part of the body for rheumatism, sore muscles and arthritis. As it generates heat, it can form blisters. Hence it should be applied for 10 minutes, and then the treated area should be sponged with cool water.
- Poultice or hot compress of mustard greens can reduce muscle sprain swellings and pain.
- A mustard foot bath is a traditional home remedy for colds and headaches. Soak your feet for about 10 to 15 minutes in bowl of hot water to which about 1 tsp of mustard powder has been added.
- Mustard is good for the skin. A handful of seeds roasted in a litre of coconut or sesame oil, strained and cooled, can be applied on the face at night before going to bed. It is said to cure pimples.
- Massage mustard oil onto the hair and scalp at least three times a week. Leave the oil in the hair for at least three hours before washing. It helps to make the hair healthier, stronger, and induces faster hair growth. Home remedies for hair growth
- Boil about 25 grams of mustard oil. Gradually add about 60 gms of henna leaves, till they are completely burnt in the oil. Filter and store. Regular use of this oil produces abundant hair.
- A tsp of powdered mustard seeds mixed in a gallon of warm water can be used as therapeutic bath for children, in cases where convulsion is caused by high fever.
- Mustard seed paste applied externally is a home remedy for treating ringworms.