Mustard oil and health

10/28/2013 6:02:55 PM
written By :   Chitralekha Print
Last modified on Friday, January 24, 20142:54 PM

As a stimulant
A strong stimulant, the oil has a variety of uses. It helps improve circulation when used as a massage oil, and the effects are there for all to see. During external application, the high levels of vitamin E aid in improving the health of the skin by promoting circulation. It also protects against free radicals from ultraviolet rays and pollution, and even reduces wrinkles. In the process of digestion, its role is to stimulate the production of bile and gastric juices in the liver and spleen. Even the excretory system is stimulated by mustard oil as the peristaltic movement of intestines is stimulated.

As an irritant
Defining irritation as the reaction of an organ to an external agent, and with the response from the organ to the external stimuli, mustard oil helps bring back the sensation to organs lacking in sensation or suffering from numbness. This property is used for pumping up muscles as well.

As an appetizer
Mustard oil acts as an appetizer and increases hunger, in what could be considered a side effect of its stimulant and irritant nature. By irritating the intestinal lining, it stimulates the digestive juices.

Antibacterial role
Taken internally, it fights bacterial infections in the urinary tract, colon and the digestive and excretory systems. The oil also has anti-fungal properties, the allyl isothiocyanate in it serving as an inhibitor of fungal growth.

Bye, bye insects
Did you know that insects and other small animals stay away from mustard oil? So, use it as an insect repellent. Either apply it on exposed skin areas or use it in vaporizers and fumigants to keep insects at bay. The pungent smell of the oil is tolerable, especially for those sensitive to the smell of the insect repellants available in the market! Good news, indeed!

Hair vitaliser
The ancient practice of massaging the scalp with mustard oil goes back to 4,000 years ago and could be the secret behind the long, lustrous hair of Indian women. It helps tone up the skin and strengthens the muscles in the head. The 1970s saw this practice becoming accepted in the United Kingdom and from there to other parts of the globe. Loaded as it is with vitamins and minerals such as zinc, selenium and beta carotene (which converts to vitamin A), the oil stimulates hair growth. Rich in fatty acids that help nourish the roots of the hair, iron, calcium and some amount of magnesium, the oil conditions the hair. Long-term use leads to prevention of hair fall and strengthening of the hair.
Want your crowning glory to be silky, shiny and healthy? Here's what you need to do. Massage the scalp with hot mustard oil once a week, and leave it on for 3 to 4 hours. A steaming hot towel wrapped around the head gives maximum benefit. Wash off with a mild shampoo. Mixing the oil with henna and a dash of lemon juice adds an attractive reddish tint to the hair. So, what are you waiting for?

Diaphoretic
When taken internally or applied externally, the oil stimulates the sweat glands besidesing the openings of skin pores. This helps reduce body temperature and remove toxins, water and excess salts from the body.

Back pain treatment
A natural means of increasing the blood flow on the skin surface, mustard oil can be used to treat back pain. Concentrate on the areas where the pain is excruciating, apply a smaller amount along the spine, and work down from the nape of the neck to the tailbone. Leave the oil on till it is totally absorbed by the skin. There could be a warm sensation or some amount of itching - but do not let this worry you. It is only the anti-inflammatory property of the oil getting into action.
If you'd like a more effective remedy for back pain, here's what you can do: roast 10 garlic cloves with 3 to 4 tablespoons of oil until browned. Cool and apply to the affected area. Do not wash off for a minimum of three hours and remember not to use soaps and lotions; allow the oil to work. Try this for at least two weeks to get good results.

Booster dose
Mustard oil tones up the systems, boosts immunity and gives strength. It also has anti-arthritic and anti-rheumatic properties. It has trace amounts of selenium, which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Warm two tablespoons of the oil, add three to four garlic cloves and heat until they darken in color. Cool and rub on sore joints to reduce inflammation.

Treatment for asthma
Instead of the usual vapor rubs, massage brown mustard oil on your chest during an attack of asthma. Breathing in the vapor will increase airflow to the lungs. Alternatively, mix one teaspoon of sugar with one teaspoon of brown mustard oil. Have a spoonful several times a day. Or, you could combine one teaspoon each of the oil and honey and swallow a spoonful of the mixture at least three times a day.
When taken on an empty stomach, it gives more effect. One teaspoon of the oil mixed with one teaspoon of camphor massaged on the chest clears phlegm. Lie on your back and permit the vapors to get to the lungs. And, last but not the least, there is the mustard oil steam treatment. To a pot of boiling water, add a few spoonfuls of mustard oil and caraway seeds. Inhaling this steam helps dilate the bronchial tubes. By warming up the respiratory system, it protects against the formation and buildup of phlegm. The magnesium in mustard helps clear the congestion in the chest and nose. To some extent, the oil also helps keep the body warm in winter.

Cardiac care
Protecting against heart disease is not all that tough. Including mustard oil in your diet may be the answer, rich as it is in monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, both of which lower bad cholesterol. Improving the cholesterol balance also lowers triglycerides, which can prevent obesity, kidney disease, and hyperthyroidism, in addition to improving heart health.
"Coronary heart diseases (CHDs) are a leading cause of death. The use of mustard oil can reduce the risk of CHD," said S. C. Manchanda, former professor, Department of Cardiothoracic Diseases, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.

Other uses
Mustard oil can be rubbed on the gums to strengthen and protect them from germs. Gargling with warm water in which mustard oil has been mixed relieves toothache. Two grams of mustard oil with sugar, taken with 750 mg to 1 gm of lime in half cup water helps control acidity. Organic mustard oil is said to help prevent cancer besides slowing down the ageing process. In case of ear pain, mix a quarter teaspoon thyme seeds with two peeled and chopped garlic cloves. Add one tablespoon of mustard oil and heat over a low flame until the seeds and garlic turn brown. Strain and let it turn lukewarm; then, use a few drops in the infected ear.

Last modified on Friday, January 24, 20142:54 PM

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